A Perspective on Suicide

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Before you read this post, I want to make it very clear that suicide is NOT the answer. Your life is precious.  If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, PLEASE SEEK HELP!   This post was in no way meant to glorify suicide or offer it as a viable solution to any problem.  Rather, it was written to aid those left behind to understand, to forgive and to heal.  


For Jay, suicide was not a choice to die, but rather an expression of the deepest human desire to survive.

This post has been in my heart for a long time.  I’ve thought about it again and again.  The subject seemed too heavy for our blog about delicious things.  But in the past weeks, I have shared my thoughts on suicide three times with friends left in its wake.  I think it is time for this post and I hope there are some out there for whom this brings clarity and comfort.

Twelve years ago this month, I lost my Uncle Jay to suicide.

At his funeral, Jay’s bishop addressed us. The words he spoke are burned into my mind.  He said, “I feel impressed to tell you that Jay spent his life struggling to survive.  Suicide was not a choice he made, but rather a choice he happened onto when his pain was greater than his ability to cope.”

This man, who took his own life, was a survivor in every sense of the word.

I imagine that such is true of many who leave the world in this way.

Jay loved horses. When he was a teenager, the horse he was riding spooked and darted across the street right in front of an econoline van.   He spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

Jay went on to graduate from high school and serve a two year religious mission.

In his early twenties, he was deer hunting in the mountains with a friend.  His horse lost its footing on a rocky cliff-like outcropping and fell.  Jay landed first and the horse landed on top of him.  He sustained serious internal injuries and spent six months in the hospital.

Jay never completely healed from this accident.  His spleen was badly damaged and his intestines had to be reconstructed.  Scar tissue would build up in his intestines over time and cause painful blockages.  He regularly had surgery to remove them.

Jay was always in pain.  And yet he roped calves in rodeos, qualifying for national events. People called him the “singing cowboy” and he accompanied himself with the banjo or guitar. He patented several inventions and he went to school to become an airplane mechanic.

Jay was a survivor.

In his early thirties, he met and married Wendy.  I loved Wendy.  She was a breath of fresh air.  She was fun and energetic.  She made everyone around her feel special. Wendy had beautiful brown hair and dark eyes.  Jay adored her.

Over the next few years, Jay and Wendy had three sweet sons.  When Wendy was pregnant with the third, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Wendy fought the cancer.  She had a mastectomy and a hysterectomy.  She underwent radiation, chemotherapy and painful experimental treatments.

Jay was very tender with her.

Wendy played competitive softball.   Soon after a cancerous rib was removed, she hit a home run.  “Should have had that rib removed years ago,” she laughed.

A few months later, the cancer took Wendy.

Jay was devastated.

He did his best to raise his sons.  He was imperfect and impatient and he needed a lot of help.  But he kept trying.

Over the next few years, Jay’s physical and emotional pain was intense.  He married a good woman named Susan. They struggled to blend their families.  They wanted to make it work. They wanted to be happy. Soon after their marriage, Susan was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

When I was living in Alexandria, Virginia, with my husband and children, Jay and his boys came to visit.  I knew something was wrong when we picked them up from the airport. Jay was not himself. We discovered later that his doctor had taken him off Lortab (a painkiller upon which he was dependent) and put him on methadone (a strong drug used to wean addicts from heroine).

When he went down into the underground Metro station, Jay snapped.  He paced frantically and tore off his shirt.  He was visibly covered in sweat.   After fleeing the station, Jay refused to get into a vehicle, but rather ran the few miles to the hospital.  He was not aware of what was happening or why.  That day he went into pulmonary failure due to drug withdrawal.  He was hospitalized for the better part of a week and released only to fly home.

At 4:00 in the morning, before Jay and his boys left, I gave him a hug.  I had never hugged Jay before.  I was too proud to show affection that way.  But for some reason, that day I hugged him.  After he left, I could not sleep.  The Spirit was so strong and its message was clear, “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY!”  I thought that somehow my hug had made things better and I wondered why I hadn’t hugged him years earlier.

But everything wasn’t okay in the way I thought it would be.  My dad called two days later,  “Things have gotten really bad with Jay,” he said, “He’s taken his own life.”  I learned that Jay had sought admission at his local hospital three desperate times only to be sent home where he shot himself with a hunting rifle.

Jay’s struggle to survive had come to an end.

It was excruciating for me.  I can’t image what it was like for his boys, his wife, his parents. For years, I clung to that witness I’d received on the last day I saw him, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. And twelve years later, I can honestly say this is true.  The boys have had difficult struggles, but they have grown into men of whom their parents would be proud.

The bishop’s words at Jay’s funeral gave me comfort at the time.  Jay had not been accountable, but I sensed there was deeper significance in his words, “Suicide was not a choice he made, but rather a choice he happened onto when his pain was greater than his ability to cope.”

Just last year, I had a clarifying experience—an experience that helped me to understand suicide a little better and led me to believe that it is really an expression of the deepest human desire to survive.

My family was watching a documentary on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and for the first time, I saw footage of someone jumping from the window of one of the twin towers.  All at once, I understood what Jay’s bishop had meant.  The person was not jumping from the building to die, but rather to escape the intense and consuming flames.  Nobody would accuse that person of being selfish or of giving up on life.

Jay was inside a figurative burning building and he happened upon an exit.  His deep need to survive caused him to take it.  Many who turn to suicide are in physical, emotional or spiritual pain.  I don’t think they seek death.  Instead, they seek escape, so that their identity and intelligence can survive.

Ever since my experience with Jay, I have felt compassion and a connection to those left in the wake of such a suicide.   It is intensely agonizing for surviving loved ones.  Not only do we mourn the loss of someone dear to us, but we also feel the pain of sorrow and of guilt.  We wish we could have made a difference.  We feel anger at their betrayal and our perception of their selfishness.  We fear that all is lost.  But, in my experience, if we are willing to soften our hearts, over time we realize that we are forgiven, that they were not selfish and that all is not lost.

Jay’s bishop said one other thing that has stuck with me all these years.  He said, “Christ did not call Jay home in this manner.  But I can testify that He did welcome him home.”

I share these thoughts not at all in support of suicide, but rather to encourage loving remembrance and complete forgiveness of those we have lost to it. And to inspire us to reach out and touch with love each person with whom we interact, for God’s love spread through many hands may quench a fire we cannot see.

perspective on suicide

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** Please read before commenting**

We love receiving comments from our readers. However, our site is a place where kind and uplifting thoughts are shared.  If you write a comment that does not fit into this category, we will read it, but it will not appear on our site for others to read. We reserve the right to edit any comments for length or content. Because this post is not meant to encourage or justify suicide, we will not post any comments that contain suicidal thoughts or plans. We sincerely hope that if you are in this situation, you will seek help from professionals.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  and IMAlive online network are available 24 hours a day.  

Thank you very much!

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  1. Melody Vandenberg says

    Dear Shawna,

    Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you don’t mind if I share this with my nieces who struggle from the suicide from two brothers. Their suicide was extremely violent too and traumatized all of us.

    Your frankness about suicide and drugs needs to be shared. Your thoughts and insight are exactly right! People need to become aware of the dangers of all these issues.

    In the end, we are all healed through Christ. He is the Alpha and Omega who owns our spirit through his pure love. As you heard through the spirit, “Things are going to be alright”.



    • Cheri says

      Thank you for this article. My late son’s birthday is June 4, 1987.
      My son suffered from adhd and bullies. He survived as well for his almost 16 years of life being different and having difficulty in school.
      He was buried on his Eagle Scout project day.
      It was confirmed to me when I prayed for him after a most embarrassing and humiliating experience via a school official that all was taken care of…little did I know at that time that he had jumped off a cliff.
      He didn’t even like rappelling, so he was in pain and had struggled for a long time.

      • Ann says

        My father of 84 year’s of age fought physical pain- back, prostrate cancer, neuropathy in feet. His heart was failing rapidly He was admitted to hospital when the day came he couldn’t get up and walk. Physical therapy was useless. A few days later, my dad was released on a Sat. morning. The following Monday afternoon, my mother left Dad to take care of some errands… he managed to get from his easy chair to wheel chair to gun closet. He took his life with a shotgun- in the house.

        My mother found Dad of course.. quite a gruesome sight!! The neighbor calle me for Mom. At first I was numb, like everyone else, with Dad’s suicide. Over time, I felt some anger towards him. BUT, he was in physical pain, and pain of not wanting to be a burden. He had had been a trusted banker for thirty years. HE took care of people….not the other way around.

        This article did help me gain perspective on suicide. GOOD READ.

    • Joyce says

      Very insightful. I have struggled with depression for 31 years and have been at the point that your uncle was – several times, I agree that it is wanting freedom from pain. Sadly my caring, funny, and compassionate cousin took her own life 11 years ago, and I’ve felt the guilt of a survivor. Awesome blog from you.

      • MARYDEE says

        I have unsuccessfully attempted suicide in the past, not wanting to hurt my loved ones but just wanting the inner pain to stop!!! I think that those who judge people who end their own lives have NO CONCEPT of the inner pain that they are trying to end!!!!!!!

    • says

      We lost our son to suicide almost 2 years ago. We watched as he struggled with the pain of depresson for many years. It’s hard as a parent to watch your child suffer and know that the illness he suffers from was inherited from you and there is nothing you can do to make it better. What is even harder is trying to explain to your friends and family members why you don’t hate your child for what they did to the family and why you can’t just jump back into to life like nothing happened. This article puts into words so much that I have felt but couldn’t express, it also anwsered the 1st I asked when hospital pastor when I was hospitalized after his death. Will he be allowed in Heaven ? I know what a special loving young man he was, but we had always been taught that you woudn’t be allowed in Heaven in you committed suicide, you answered that question beautifully. Thank you. Mary

      • Melissa Hasings says

        Just wanted to share what my pastor told me when I asked ” Did my brother automatically go to hell for committing suicide”
        and the answer is NO….
        My pastor shared with me that suicide is a sin, just like telling a lie is a sin. a sin is a sin is a sin….. and unless it is the deadly sin , it is forgivable. And about forgiveness, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, he died for all past, present, and future sins. So before someone even has the thought of taking their own life, the sin is already forgiven. I also personally feel that when someone has decided that this is the only way to escape the pain, God takes pity on them and grants them mercy. My mom told me after my Gpa took his life that God took mercy on him because he was so sick, and didn’t know what he was doing. So, hearing this from the very beginning helped me not worry about where my relatives ended up and not make myself sick thinking about it. Hope it helps…

        • says

          This article was referred to me this evening. She sent it to me via my IPAD. She knows that I have struggled with bouts of cancer three times. She knows that my physical disease (Polymyositis) has robbed me of my independence, yet I choose LIFE. It is odd how one can choose LIFE for 44 years…(I am 62 years old), and yet recognize the fragility EVERYDAY of that choice. I spend my days worrying about others’ well-being. I DO for others in every way that I can…recognizing that I mask my own pain by cheering others. My severe depression is a secret. I am terribly funny and comedic. So was Robin Williams. I met him 12 years ago and he autographed my breast prosthetic. It hangs in a shadow box on my entry wall. However, today, I am so bereft that I can’t believe my sadness. My heart and spirit are broken. My life will go on. I will forever love what Robin Williams did for me as I struggled through breast cancer….one of a KIND!

    • says

      There is also the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP.org), if you are looking for ways to help your nieces get involved or get help. I know being surrounded by people that have been through the same thing (loss to suicide) helped me, because I was no longer alone.

      • Joni says

        Thank you for sharing this story, and thank you, Jennifer, for mentioning the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. My husband, son and daughter-in-law just returned from volunteering for the third time for the Overnight walk (www.theovernight.org) in Seattle that raises funds for AFSP. It’s a worthy cause and being surrounded by so many ‘survivors of suicide’ helps you realize that you are not alone and that there is an organization dedicated to bringing the issue of mental health and suicide ‘out of the darkness’ and helping to remove the stigma of mental health issues.

        • lisa boaz says

          My son, 22, left us in April 2013. He was one of the strongest people I had ever known, but inside he must have been hurting so badly. I have never thought of him as a cowardin any sense. Your writing left me at peace. thank you so much.

        • Cindy says

          I, too, did the overnight walk in Seattle this year. It is so helpful and healing to be a part of it.

        • Rachel says

          Another great resource especially for young people is To Write Love on Her Arms. My beither died by suicide 2.5 years ago, and my fiancée struggles with severe anxiety and depression. TWLOHA has been incredible.

    • says

      I lost my father to suicide when I was 12! I didn’t understand it them but as an adult I understand it more. I empathize with the amount of pain he was in!! Depression, mental illness runs deep in my family and I struggle with the ideation of it all.

      • Barbara Standard says

        Amanda, I too lost my father to suicide when I was 12. It was so hard to. He had rheumatoid arthritis and had been in constant pain for about 8 years. This was in 1950 when the only meds to take was aspirin and he was in and out of the hospital. Thank you for the article, it was very moving.

    • Laurie says

      Thank you so much for this article. I lost a son in August of 06 to suicide. I am going to share this with my family members. I pray every day that my other son finds the help he needs in dealing with the death of his brother. I know this probably isn’t the best place to ask this but I got to find a way to help my other son before I lose him as well. If you know of any other young men who have lost a brother they were very close to and found them dead please let me know because I need to find someone to help my son but I think it needs to be someone who has felt his pain in so many ways. Thank you for all the help you provide.

      • Diane says

        Please try COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS, (for losing a child) a national orginazation for parents, siblings….
        they are very good. You can call them, they will ask you a few kind questions about your loss & send you information about the local meetings in your area….usually more meetings than you would think.
        I do not know how old your son is, but In our area, Delaware valley, PA, we have a local hospital that has a good group called Safe Harbor….it is for children., up to 18.
        They work w/the children & the parents separately….lots of times children are afraid to say what they are really thinking in front of their parents….parents don’t want to say anything to hurt their children or show they are hurting, etc…..
        please check afsp for info if there is a group in your area that could help like this.
        If you go on the afsp website they have a listing for SOS support groups. That will tell you where & when the groups meet in your area. Again, not knowing how old
        your son is….teens are hard to reach…..they feel so much & not good about getting
        it out (especially males)……and afsp has a lot of phamplets about grieving & young people. ask them for it. Everyone ‘s grief is different, but there are similar issues.
        It is so hard for you, losing your son, & trying to help another.
        If you need any other info or help getting it, email me.

        • Regina says

          I too attend The Compassionate Friends. My daughter took her life on September 4, 2009. She was 26 years old. I saw each day how the depression was getting worse and we tried so hard to get the help she needed. It seems as if the process of getting her the help she needed was slow and she couldn’t hold on anymore. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver on October 31, 2008 and she just didn’t want to go on without him. My prayer each night is that God holds all the parents that lost a child that day. it is a terrible, terrible thing.

        • Michelle says

          I had a son who was almost 14 when he took his life. We miss him and love him everyday though! It is hard, but time is the essence. Always remember and charish the moments you had with him!

      • sara says

        Thank you for sharing this story. I have struggled with the stigma of suicide since we list my son on June 15th of 2012. His sister found him and she was his best friend. I have struggled with this label and the uncertainty of the possibility that it may have been an accident. I have come to find out about a game some kids play called the choking game so we will never know if it was intentional or simply an accident, but what I know is that we lost him in a way that could be either. Is it possible that my sweet, strong and happy boy who had so much going for him struggled in silence, I guess it is very possible. I have tried to focus my energy on taking care of my daughter and walking with her through this very difficult tragedy. My son was 21 when he died and again had so much to live for. I know without a doubt that God did not call him up in that way but with tears welcomed him into his arms. Thank you again for sharing this story and such kind and compassionate words from the Bishop. God bless each of you as well that have dealt with these losses. I try daily to gild my grief tenderly as it has now become a part of who I am but I will not let this pain consume me and I try and live my life to honor my son and the beautiful person he was while he was with us.

      • galvez says

        I know someone who found their brother the same way. I too lost my brother and best friend in Nov 2013 to suicide. I still fight the pain. Please feel free to contact me snd I will even give you my phone number I will help any way I can! <3

    • Nelly says

      Your insite is very honest and open hearted. As a individual with a severe childhood trauma that no child should ever have to face and going through my life without proper treatment. Has caused some repercussions to my mental health that I am now having the chance to understand with professionals. However currently in doing this process and before this proces it can be cruel. You feel despair, confusion, stress,dread, anxiety, and emotional hurt to the point that you are in pain. And a natural reaction is wanting it to stop, I survived. It changed me however the feelings still remain….I just have to fight for me.

      • MARYDEE says

        Oh my, do I ever identify with you!!!! I also am a “survivor” of unbelievable childhood abuse that was NEVER addressed! Thanks be to God, He allowed me to dissociate so that I was not mentally/spiritually present while it was happening, which resulted in my burying it. When I finally started having full-body memories, the pain was excruciating!!!! I had never felt anything like it before!!! I was finally able to see a Christian psychiatrist who has helped me.

    • Linda Howard says

      My husband’s aunt, years ago, came to the door to listen to the Christmas Carolers – she seemed fine to us. But,she went back to her bedroom and shot herself in the head. We think that she must have had something going on inside of her, that we did not understand. I never believe that those that take own life are not welcomed into heaven – God understands when we do not.

    • Morgan says

      My name is Morgan. I’m twelve years old. when i was ten years old my parents divorced and my mom got a new boyfriend. his name was josh. We were very close. They were together for about a year. on February 8th they broke up. then on February 15, (exactly a week later) josh went into our garage, and hung himself. no one was home at the time, we were gone for the weekend. two days later i was with my mom when we found him. i stared at him for a few minutes. i could hear my mom screaming beside me. we were both looking at josh, the guy we were both close to for a long time. but what i saw was completely different from what my mom saw. she saw her ex boyfriend that she dated for a year, i saw a guy that was basically my step dad that i looked up to. my mom always says that if i need someone to talk to it should be her because she saw what i saw and she knows what i’m going through. but she doesn’t know what i’m going through or what i saw because she doesn’t know what it feels like to see your step dad dead on a rope. i haven’t slept much in the last five months. i haven’t ate the same either. i have witnessed suicide, i have faced suicide, but most important i have feared suicide. Shawna, i would tell you that i know how you feel, but then i would be lying. but what i can tell you is that i’m very sorry for your loss.

      • Suzanne says

        Morgan, my sweet child! I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have a daughter who is about your age. She is very close to her stepdad so I understand how difficult this must be for you. Just remember that suicide is not anybody’s fault. Neither you nor your mom caused Josh to take his own life. I pray that you will get the support and therapy you need to recover from this tragedy.

      • says

        Morgan, I just wanted to say to you how sorry I am that you had to witness your step-dad that way and how much it has hurt you. I won’t go on and on about what all is wrong with me, but I thought that it might help you some if I explained to you what a parent who takes their own life might have been feeling, because I have almost taken my own life several times. When you are suffering so badly, whether it be from physical pain, emotional pain, or both, you’re in deep deep depression, and you feel like you just can’t hang on any more. Your thinking becomes completely different from when you’re not in this devastated state or feeling. When you’re not this devastated, you can think rationally and you know that even though you’re in pain and sometimes you can barely move, you still have to keep going and do the best that you can for your children and for your family. When you’re so depressed and suicidal, your mind doesn’t think straight and you actually believe that your family and especially your children would be better off without you. You think that you don’t want to be a burden anymore and you do not want to hurt your children by having them learn this from you and possibly kill themselves later, because you made them watch you go through being suicidal for so long. Even if they won’t see you commit suicide, you’re thinking in your mind that they will eventually learn it from you through your actions of severe depression if you stick around and remain a burden. You just want to end the pain for everyone. When I’ve been on the very edge like this, I have no fear of pain or death. The last thing that I can remember in my mind is to pray for God and Jesus to help me. Even though I’ve wanted to die so badly, for some reason, God listens to me and keeps me from actually doing it. I’ve never tried anything in front of anyone, so it’s the most dangerous kind of being suicidal (nobody thinks that I’m as bad off as I really am). When I’m thinking clearly, I know that my kids would be devastated if I committed suicide and I know that they need me. I’m actually a very good mom and my kids mean everything to me. I don’t tell anyone how badly depressed I get, because it would be horrible for my children if I was sent to a mental hospital or if they were taken away from me. I just wanted you to know that your step-dad didn’t mean to hurt you by leaving you the way that he did and I know that if he could tell you how sorry he was and how much he really loved you, he would. He just couldn’t think clearly when he did what he did. If he was able to think clearly, he would never have purposely hurt you. He was probably just faster when he did it than I was and he didn’t have the chance to be pulled back. I know that his loss will always hurt you, but time will help you to not feel it as strongly. I think that most people don’t know that you’re not just sad or hurting when you commit suicide. Your mind is just so unclear and thinking irrationally that you don’t realize how much you’ll be hurting those left behind. You just feel like you’re hurting them by staying. You truly feel like everyone would be better off without you. It’s something that no one who hasn’t felt it can know. I’m sorry to tell this story to such a young girl, but you’ve had to see and go through what most young girls haven’t. I was just hoping that by explaining about the unclear thinking, it might help to ease your pain a little bit and help you to understand. If you ever want to talk to your step-dad, just talk to him or think it in your mind. If he can’t actually hear you, God will get the message to him. I also believe that your step-dad is in Heaven. I’ve read and heard that when people die suddenly or before their time or even when they have unfinished business on Earth, they can get stuck in a realm between Heaven and Earth. Some don’t know that they’ve died and they don’t understand that they need to go to the light. They just need you to pray to God and Jesus to send a Guardian Angel to get them and take them home to Heaven. I say prayers for people all of the time to make sure that they’re making it to Heaven. I’ll be praying for you to feel healing in your heart and in your mind and I hope that you’ll be able to sleep and eat better really soon and hopefully even be happy soon.

      • Mel says

        You sound so much more mature than 13! I hope you are continuing to heal, and are doing so in a healthy. While it is great to talk to your Mom because you 2 shared the experience, your right, you both saw 2 different things! It may be hard for her to understand what you saw, or felt, or feel. It may be hard for you to talk to her because it brings up her own grief and you don’t want to upset her. I don’t know if you will see this (a year latter) but I have been through 2 close family suicides, one of them in a way that most people don’t have to go through. I wanted to offer my email to you if you ever need someone to talk to. med109@q.com. If anyone else needs someone to talk to, please email.

    • Melinda says

      My 15 year old son was killed by a drunk driver In Oct of 2015, I unfortunately was the one who went out looking for him, alone, no support from my family once I learned I had to go to the police station in a county I’m still not sure y he was in, I approached the police station with all of my son’s girlfriends family, I do mean all id them, I stood all alone as we were told to step into a bright yellow room, I started looking for them at 10am, I called my mom n told her at 4:20 pm n informed her it was him, my baby n i couldn’t go identify him alone I just wasn’t strong enough to do it alone, my whole family refused to go with me to the morgue….. I remember walking into that horrible cold room, to 1st see Hunter, my son’s girlfriend, laying on the table, orange washcloth on her head to cover the scalping, n Andy’s foot of the bed was by her head, hunters dad walked past his daughter n stopped midway of my son, I looked to where his feet should have been to only see that he was 6 inces shorter then he was when he left me that night and he was in a black trash bag with yellow nylon rope keeping the bottom part of both legs and his right hand together the night he got in the car with a drunk driver he had pulled me aside begging me to make my 5 year olds dad to leave, he gave very good reasons y he wanted Dennis to leave, physical n mental abuse were his biggest reasons. I tried to explain y i couldn’t do that n my beautiful son said “mom, it’s him or me, if he don’t leave i will!” Dennis still walks the earth my son does not! Being a mother I failed him conpletly, his sister more so as he was her best friend, the taught her everything she knows, even taught her to walk at 7 months, Dennis cheated on me 2 weeks after i chose him over my baby cause he said I pushed him toTo do it. Everyday I wake up I hate myself for MY choice, I hate breathing, I hate eating, I just hate being….. I’ve attempted suicide a couple times to only realize I’m a failure at that to! I’m so lost without my son, every day it seems the struggle to keep going is worse, I’m so tired of being when he is not! I just hope if I do completly give up my family will understand that the pain was just to great to keep me going on…….

  2. Tanya Hansen says

    Beautifully written Shawna, these are the words I need to remember when I explain suicide to others and my children. I lost an amazing 29 year old cousin who also struggled with physical and emotional pain. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Your blog is great, I can only imagine your sister is as awesome as you are! :)

  3. Jane says

    Dear Shawna and Anita,
    How I love your blog! I learn so much from the both of you. Thank you. A long time ago, before kids, before Drew, but after my mission., a dear friend and I were discussing suicide, and he said that he was once told that suicide is just a change of scenery. We still have our spirits, our issues, but we do not have our bodies..He also said we have still the help of our Savior to help us continue on our journey. I have always felt that the Savior and our Heavenly Father sees the whole story. They see them, They see the families, and They see everything and will judge accordingly. This has given me peace and hope, because when They are done with it, we will be able to understand. When I was at USU, I was a student in Social Work. One of our professors committed suicide..one of the most prepared for suicides I had ever seen..house cleaned out with notes to all. She went home and said her goodbyes; and even had a professional come in and talk to the seniors (and her) about the least messy, but most effective ways to commit suicide a couple of weeks before she did it. As president of the student Social Work club, I was asked to speak at her memorial in behalf of the students. I sat in a meeting with the officials of the department and watched in almost horror as some of them admitted that she had told them that she had severe depression, and they did not want it to ruin her profession. I struggled with what to say at her memorial that would lessen the horror of what had happened. I could not come up with anything. I drew a blank every time. I finally ended up fasting and praying and let the Lord use me as His mouthpiece. I do not, to this day, remember a word of what I said, but I had many people thank me for the many wonderful and kind things that I said that brought them peace. My heart goes out to all who has had someone die, in whatever way. May they feel peace and love and know that Heavenly Father and our Savior have this covered. He/ They are in charge. Thank you for this wonderful blog, and please do not hesitate to follow what He needs you to say. You, both, are His mouthpieces to us, His children. I love you both dearly.

    • Johann says

      Thank you so much for your writings on suicide. Having two people close to me complete suicide this is very helpful to me.


  4. Denise says

    Shawna, I’m so glad that you did share your personal story with us. I think it is a subject that is kind of swept under the rug, and nobody wants to discuss it after it happens. I know of several friends that have have lost a loved one to suicide. Sadly, there are signs and everybody just shrugs them off, and then its too late. I want to copy your story and share it with a friend of mine that recently lost her only son. The thing that makes it hard to understand will always be why. Even harder is hearing others say that the one that commits suicide will not go to Heaven. Its just sad. Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that this helps people open their eyes and pay more attention to the ones around them. Take care and God bless.

  5. Melanie Randall says

    I can’t believe it’s been 12 years. Thanks for posting this. I’m sure it must have been hard to compose.

  6. Jane Randall says

    Shawna – Here are some comments from your dad (Jay’s brother): “This is a loving expression of wisdom and truth. It’s really well written and heart-felt. I believe Christ’s plan is perfect and the things we experience on Earth are not the end. All of us grow and become better based upon our experiences. Everybody has struggles beyond our ability, but we need to keep pressing forward with faith. What Shawna expressed is really about faith. It teaches us how important it is not to judge others. If we judge based on our own understanding, we aren’t being fair. We don’t really understand other peoples’ challenges. The example of the victims of the Twin Towers is profound. Tell Shawna thanks for writing this. It’s good insight and it’s appreciated. It’s important for us to reflect on hard experiences and learn all we can from them. Jay was a wonderful person and a great brother and friend. He was full of a lot of fun. I loved him a lot. I still do.”

  7. Brett Zundel says

    Pain is real- our emotions and the decisions we make are controlled by chronic pain. None of us know what a person is going through or has gone through prior to suicide. Judge them not and don’t call them cowards and that they were selfish to hurt so many people that were left on this earth to deal with the sadness and hurt. We all have our pain and most of us have found ways to cope, but the depression and problems that each of us might live with can be a devastating task.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I’d love it if you would send that story to my email.
    Brett Z.

  8. Barry Christiansen says

    Shawna, June 4, 2010 was the day of my daughters memorial service. She had committed suicide the previous weekend. I appreciated so much reading your blog with the wise bishops comments. His statements, and your willingness to write about suicide are good steps in helping people understand and be non judging of those who have taken that path. Your blog will help many people I’m sure.

    • Debbie Messick says

      Barry, I too lost a child on July 4, 2010 to suicide. I don’t have to explain the devastation to you……it’s a life changing event.
      I cannot or will not ever celebrate july 4th again. Life has changed to survival. …getting through a day……a journey without my son.
      if only the doctors had treated the pain and treated him with respect and not like a drug addict. He never used drugs or alcohol….but a failed back surgery left him in horrible pain. He was struggling with the back pain and started having headaches and tremors. 4 doctors later we were given the news of a brain tumor….
      we went to the ER due to the intense pain. The doctor there, a PA, gave him Benadryl, an allergy medicine and sent us home…refusing to treat the pain. 4 hours later I took my grandson to see the fireworks. My son wanted to rest.
      When I came home I found him in his room face down. He had shot himself in the head right where the pain/pressure was. He was still breathing but was brain dead.
      If the ER had treated his pain…he would still be here.
      Life hasn’t been the same…
      I feel for you and will now think of you every july 4th as we mourn the loss of our children.

      • Karen says

        Debbie, I am so sorry for your loss. Pain is a horrible thing to be in day after day. I wish you peace & comfort in knowing that your son is finally out of pain.
        I have rheumatoid arthritis which is not responding to medicine, so I’m in varying degrees of pain every single day. My rheumatologist refuses to give me a narcotic pain reliever, because he doesn’t want me to become addicted to it. I’d rather be addicted to it, than be in pain.

        • says

          Even though I suffer depression and deal with this on at times (not currently) gratefully, I felt I needed to comment here. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis was on Lortab for nearly 20 years and MS Contin (it’s like Oxycodone) for 12 years), I won’t go into the horrors of what I went though being on them and getting off them, other than I passed through the veil more than once and coming back was very painful indeed. Getting off was the worse hell you can imagine, 3 days in hell, to be precise.

          Years later, and without narcotic pain relief. a friend whose son is Celiac happen to suggest I should go off Gluten. I told her I was tested for Celiac 6 years and I am do NOT have Celiac disease. Doesn’t matter, she said. You could still be Gluten Intolerant.

          I thought it was worth a try and went off all things with yeast for 3 months. The first thing I noticed was that I lost 15 lbs and my pain level dropped from about a level 15 on a pain level of 1-10, down to about 6. Some say, I might be thinking then it can’t be a 15 on a pain scale of 1-10, but I bet Jane Randall can agree it sure can! RA hurts that bad, to heck with their pain scales, we CAN get into pain jags of what you call HYPER pain!

          Anyway, I’m telling you all this because every 2 months, I’d drop 15 more lbs and I learn more and more. I also cut out more and more Gluten items: more than breads, soy sauce, crackers, cereal, oatmeal that’s not gluten free, desserts, french fries not fried in dedicated fryers. Oh my gosh was I uneducated about gluten, I had to learn so much, so I Googled my heart out.

          Finally month I finally lost 1o more lbs in one month. I’d gone from a size 14 down to a size 4 in 6 months and have now kept it off for nearly 3 years.

          All my symptoms went away, migraines, partial paralysis, abnormal gait and speech difficulties.

          Now that is NOT to say you have any of these things, but you have RA, which is what I have too. OK RA is an immune disorder so is Gluten Intolerance, don’t let it get to the point that mine did to try to see if it help you!

          I am able now to take 50% less Enbrel and take zero narcotics. Whereas 3 years ago, I was on crutches full time, on Lortab full time and in a wheelchair part time. Six years before that I was on MS Contin full time until I stopped breathing in my sleep and was taken off it or die. See how far I’ve come changing my life by going gluten free, it’s worth a try if you RA too.

          Sharon Anne

  9. Heather says

    Thank you so much for this post. My dad died 8 months ago by suicide after trying for so very long to cope with many aspects of emotional and physical pain. I have not heard anything as powerful and touching as this post since his passing. It helped my aching heart to read this. God bless!

  10. Steph says

    I lost my mother a little over two years ago. A lot of this hits close to home and I hope to one day get to this place. Thank You

  11. Tonya says

    It is such a blessing for those suffering to have compassion and understanding like you have offered here. It is good for my soul to see that you are able to beyond judgment and find such a gentle approach in yor thoughts.

  12. Sharie says

    Wow! What an amazing, inspired post with a different perspective then I’ve ever heard. At the age of 4 I heard the gunshot that took my 16 yr old brothers life. 30 yrs later I am still affected by his decision. Although I’ve always seen it as a selfish choice I also know it was not meant to be. This perspective is so truth to my brothers situation. I appreciate you opening up and sharing such a personal story.

  13. Maschielle says

    Thank you for sharing about your uncle. Your article prompted me to share this about my mother on FB. I know many of her friends have wondered about her suicide for years, but I’d never been in a place where I felt like sharing the reasons until reading your piece.

    Wow! This is one of the best explanations of suicide I have seen in the last 4 years. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss my mother.

    Many of you don’t know this, several years before she took her own life my mom was in a car accident. She was sitting in her Prius at a stoplight and was hit from behind by a two-ton truck. Her neck and back were injured. She suffered severe, chronic neck and back pain afterwards.

    A few years later she fell backwards off a bridge on the golf course by our house. She crushed her pelvis and was bed-ridden for 3 months. If you know my mother you know that to be bed-ridden that long was even worse than the physical pain. My mother never sat longer than 30 minutes at a time. She was always busy doing something, mostly for someone else.

    Some say suicide is such a selfish act. I only agree to the point of having been robbed of the joy my mother brought to my life.

    When I remember how I watched the physical pain she went through because of both accidents, the emotional pain of relying on someone else constantly, the depression after retiring much earlier than she wanted to, when I remember the joy of living slowly fading from her eyes, I think about how selfish it would be of me to want to keep her here, when it was too painful for her to live.

    • Cindy says

      Imy husbands story is a lot like your mom’s. We were riding our motorcycle when a truck hit us head on. I had many broken bones but healed fairly soon. My husband had many severe injuries with the worst being a spinal cord injury. He was in the hospital for almost 5 months before he came home. He ended up being permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He had been an auto mechanic so his job (which he loved) was gone. Just about everything he had loved doing was taken away. He had constant nerve pain. Like your mom I saw his absolute joy from life fading from his eyes. Two months after he came home (the first time I had left him alone) he ended his agony. Your last line is something I have thought many times in the past 2 years. How selfish it would be for me to want to keep him here in his agony so I wouldn’t feel the pain of his loss. I miss him so very much but I rejoice for him that he is freed from his wheelchair and all of his pain.

  14. Jennifer Huffman says

    I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your Uncle Jay. I will be honest this is the first time I have visited your blog. I am the creator and admin of a page called SOLOS-Survivors Of Loved Ones to Suicide on Facebook, with close to 6,000 members. One of our members shared your blog with me today and I had to respond to you. I want to THANK YOU for writing what so many survivors not only have wanted to say, but needed to hear. My mom died by suicide 16 years ago. I wish I would have had an understanding and empathetic Bishop to say these beautiful words over my mom. I will be sharing your message within our closed groups and also on the main SOLOS page. Thank you again for your beautiful words of inspiration. Jenn

    • Jennifer Huffman says

      I wanted to update you on what a HUGE impact your compassionate words have made in the lives of other suicide survivors. I posted this 24 hours ago on the SOLOS-Survivors Of Loved Ones to Suicide FB Page and also within the SOLOS closed groups. In 24 hours your beautifully written blog has received 266 “likes” and 254 “shares.” It has reached 27, 168 people in just 24 hours. I hope you understand the positive impact your words have made on our hearts. Yes suicide loss is a touchy subject, sadly that is the stigma that still surrounds this topic. I feel that is why it so very important for survivors to share our stories in hope of touching others lives, so they understand they are not alone on this journey through suicide grief. I just want you to know that this is the best written blog I have ever read on suicide loss. Thank you so much for being the difference and God Bless. Jenn

  15. cathy says

    I have lost two sons to suicide so I did appreciate what you had to say. It has been a struggle for me to accept the fact that my sons were in such pain and could not ask for help. When my one son asked for help he asked the wrong person and she ignored him and thats when he killed himself. I know both my boys were fighting their own demons and tneir own pain a d tbey saw this was their only escape.

    • Adam says


      I can’t imagine the loss of two children to the same cause. Unimaginable. My father committed suicide when I was 11 years old. My brother was 8; my sister was 6. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 26. He took his life at age 40 with his body in constant physical turmoil.

      I read your words and I was struck by the hurt I can see and imagine, but can’t completely understand. (I have two daughters and would be utterly devastated.) When something like this happens we search for an answer and people to blame. I would only caution this, and maybe I read it wrong, but your comment about a girl ignoring your son immediately prior to him committing suicide does seem like a dangerous road to go down. We can never know completely how our actions affect someone, but we must be careful not to place responsibility of the act on anyone but the person who made the choice. Placing the responsibility of your son’s suicide on this girl, or anyone else, only prevents you from healing and accepting the truth of what happened as well as breed resentment in your spirit that prevents you from moving forward. It also cripples the one whom you blame and saddles them with enormous guilt that may seem deserved but is unfair. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to play the “what it’s.” For years, I blamed myself because I was the last person to see my dad alive. I passed him walking into my parents’ bedroom before he shot himself. I almost stayed to talk to him, but instead ran on to play with by brother and his friend in the living room. My question: what if I’d stayed in their room and talked to my dad? Because I “ignored” him did I cause it? Was it my fault?

      I pray you can come to a place of forgiveness for this girl. If you are ever able to do so, you will be at a place of true healing. Until then, you are trapped.

      Again, maybe I have completely misinterpreted. If I have I apologize. It just struck me and reminded me of those feelings of guilt and how unfair and unwarranted they were. They could have only been worse if my family or others also placed that fault on me as well.

      May God bring peace.

  16. Debra says

    This is something that I know that God has put here for me to read,because it will be 8 years the 28 of this month that my son took his life.This was so hard to read at first but,I cried and kept reading.He was in so much pain from a spiritual battle in his life and I see it now .I miss him so much but I know his battle is over.The morning after I went to my kitchen window and he was sitting on a stump outside and said every thing is ok Mom. He was my best friend and we talked everyday,and I still can’t forgive myself for not seeing how much pain he was in.I pray every day I wish I would have done more.Thanks so much for this ,one of my friends shared this and I am so thankful she did.

    • Brooke says

      To Brittany,
      Even though you feel that you’re not needed doesn’t make it so. You very much have a purpose and a place.. This world would be at a loss without someone like you. Sending love your way and best wishes for a bright future.

    • Celia says

      God loves you SO much He was even prepared to go to hell and back … FOR YOU!! His love is like no other. It is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t want you to hurt. He doesn’t want you to have pain. He wants you to LIVE, to live for Him. He put you here on earth and He makes no mistakes. You are right where He wants you. He wants to work through you to help others. To help others that are going through exactly what you are right now. The final choice is yours, but I know there IS ONE WHO LOVES YOU and loves you as His Child!!! Tenderly, Lovingly, Completely.

  17. Ida Lou Melot says

    You have given me a different perspective about people taking their own life. I lost a 20 year old son in a car accident caused by A teen age driver running a stop sign. What does this have to do with what you have written.?? Well, I always have gotten angry with the ones who take their own life. because I have always said they had a choice to live and my son had no choice. He left a little baby girl 18 months old and she has grown up without a father and a young widowed Mother. This was 42 years ago and all this time I have let myself be angry with the ones who I thought had a choice to live but you have brought so many things to mind that I did not think about. However I have always thought we as friends, family and loved ones could do more to help them thru their difficult times, if we would just take heed to some of the warnings. Thanks again for the new insight I now have.– I am 88 years old and know that this will help me with my feelings in the time I left on this old Earth.—–

    • Diane says

      I am so very sorry for your loss, but want to thank you for being open enough to gain another perspective.

      I feel so very sorry for suicide victims….how bad was it inside their heads, if this is the best
      idea they could come up with at the time.

      My brother-in-law was a good man. He made a rash decision in a split second.
      I will never let this bad decision reshape the good man he really was.

  18. Heather M says

    Thank you for this post. I have lost my brother and several friends to suicide and this illustrates exactly the feelings I have always had regarding that act. I thank you for putting this in words.

  19. Megan Rambo says

    I found this posting on your blog through a friend on Facebook. I very much appreciate your story. My brother committed suicide almost seven years ago. Everyone around me ignored it, didn’t say a word because they just didn’t know what to say. I also find comfort in the words of Jay’s bishop. Thank you for sharing and thank you your wonderful thoughts.

  20. says

    Shawna I wanted to let you know what a Godsend you have been to me. My uncle committed suicide in April last year and my family and I have been struggling to understand why. We knew he was in pain, but never dreamed he would take his own life. He went blind in his late 40s and developed stomach problems in his late 50s. For some reason, the doctors kept trying to treat him for heart problems instead of his stomach problems. After years of this, he couldn’t take the pain and longer, and somehow made his way into the back of the house and found where another family member had hid his shotgun under his mattress. He loaded the gun and went outside and ended his pain, leaving all of us feeling like it was our fault because we hadn’t been able to get the doctors to help him with his stomach problems. At his memorial service, the minister said that my uncle would not be allowed into Heaven because he had taken his own life. As much as I wanted to believe that God would not be that cruel as to deny him a place in Heaven, I have still been tortured with the idea that the minister might have been right. When I read your story, I broke down and cried with relief, because for the first time since it happened, I felt it in my heart that my uncle was allowed entrance into Heaven. I want to thank you and your family, especially your Uncle Jay’s boys, for sharing your families loss with us. I want you to know that you are reaching the people who need to see this and you are helping to heal broken hearts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God Bless!

  21. MariaS. says

    My sister shared this on Facebook and I wanted to let you know how it touched my heart. We lost our father to suicide 3 years ago 6/15. He was in an intense amount of emotional pain and just could not go on. I think from time to time about how I wish things were different and what I could have done that might have made things better, but I understand now that it was just too much for him. I really commend you on sharing your uncle’s story and also thank you so much for this enlightening post.

  22. connie says

    Thank you doesn’t even begin to say enough. My brother was a survivor who lost his battle a year ago this month. Your blog helps me tremendously to gather my own thoughts I’ve been struggling with.
    God Bless.

  23. Jacob Gonzales says

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. I hadn’t thought about it this way when i lost my father to suicide about a month ago but your right he was in lots of mental and emotional pain and needed to escape.

  24. Cheri says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. 13 years ago on the 6th of June I lost my 19 year old son to suicide. I always felt he didn’t want to die, he wanted the pain to die. He suffered from depression for many years. He needed to end the pain. I truly believe Christ know his pain and welcomed him home. He lifted the burden of pain from my son. I miss him so very much but I wouldn’t want him to struggle with the pain anymore. Love to you my sweet child!

  25. Kellie says

    Thank you so much for writing this. People are so quick to judge someone after they commit suicide. My sister committed suicide this past December and I have found some comfort in your words.

  26. Tina says

    Thank you for putting sucicide into a new perspecrive I lost my 16 hear old neice a year ago and has been so hard understanding why. I miss her more than anyone will know I want to be a voice for other sucicide families. She was troubled her whole life and was in and out of mental hospitals only to be released she was released 10 days before this they said they did find anything wrong with her

  27. Jodie Fraser says

    Metaphorically speaking, my teenage daughter jumped from the burning building 2 years ago, I caught her right before she hit the ground. It’s been two years of intensive therapy to try to heal the “burns”. But the scars will always be there. Thank you for this article. It helped put things into perspective.

  28. Jane Ronneberg says

    Thank you for sharing your reflection on suicide. It is very important that we start a discussion about this early in life and every day. 1 out of 4 people struggle with mental health issues. Every 45 minutes someone dies by suicide. As your article states the person dying did not choose this, he ran out of choices. He needed the pain to stop and he had run out of ways to live with his pain and hopelessness. Please monitor your families mental health as you do their physical heath. Know the signs of suicide, Talk to them about it. Have an action plan ready. Please do not think this will not happen to you. I lost my daughter, Elizabeth, 31/2 years ago to suicide. The pain is unimaginable. Please take care of your loved ones.

  29. says

    All I have left of my loving vibrant, intelligent, handsome son is held safe in my broken heart. It will be 4 yrs on July 2nd since Brandon left. I believe the weight of the world was too much on him that day and that was the only solution he could see at the time. I have always said sucide is a permanent solution to temporary problems but reading your words made me think of it as his solution. He is now free from this world and all it’s madness, his pain, addiction, depression and most of all he has found peace. And for that reason, in all of my heartache and pain for his loss I am happy and at peace for his relief. I know I will see my child again one day…,so I just try to patiently wait until the day comes when I can hug his neck and never let go.

  30. Anonymous says

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this. I happened to stumble across it on Facebook and I believe it was God sent. In 2013 I lost a dear friend and roommate to suicide and I found him. It was the most awful thing I have ever experienced and I would not wish that on anyone. I spent a year in therapy and counseling and it helped a little. This is something I think about every single day. I have tried to put in words so many times exactly what it is I am feeling, but I have never been successful. I have asked the question “why?” a million times. Your post showed me a different perspective and gave me a different outlook on this horrible event. I wish I had the courage to write about my experience and share with others what I witnessed first hand. It’s something loved ones will never be healed from completely. It leaves you feeling helpless and confused. Thank you so much for sharing and giving me a different light on things. Suicide is a word that people take lightly until they are affected by it. By you sharing your thoughts, I am sure you have helped others. Thank you.

  31. Crystal says

    This made me cry! I want to thank you for your perspective on suicide. I whole heatedly agree. I’ve lost two husbands, and a aunt to suicide, and it changes your life forever. This article comforts me in so many ways.

  32. says

    Shawna, what can I say? I lost my only child to suicide about four weeks ago. Devastating does not begin to explain the pain and mental anquish I and his Dad are experienceing at this time. My sister sent your blog to me in hopes it would be of some help. First I want to thank her for sending you to me and I do feel as if you did come into my life at a very heavy time. Your writing has lifted my heart more than you could ever know. My son has been in emotional and physical pain for years, and as his mother it is hard to see. We tried everything that parents could do but in the long run it just wasn’t enough. I have never read anything written about suicide but I can not imagine anything giving as much insight into a life changing occurance as your writing. I will forever be grateful and thankful to you for your kind and thoughtful words.

  33. Kayla Pinkerton says

    My Dad left us by way of suicide a month ago and I am not bitter, ashamed or angry. He had alzhimers and had watched his own father die slowly for 15 years, not at all the gentle and caring man he really was. My Dad did not want to go down that road. I get it I understand. I would have taken care of him as his disease progressed but he did not want that. My Dad left us knowing our names and more importantly knowing himself. I will miss him forever. I don’t know of any bad decision that my Dad ever made and I am standing behind him on this one. God does not plan your death, but celebrates your arrival. Suicide is not always about pain and despair, my Dad has left me sad and empty, but I will never have the day my Dad does not know me. My Dad’s death was his last act of love for those he loved.

    • Dena Thompson says

      Kayla-I am so sorry about your dad. I too watched in horror for 11 years that my dad whom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 58 go down a horrible path..at the end was a very violent man that did not know me and had not spoken in 3 years..I have already told my family if I get it that I too would not let them watch me like that so I can certainly understand that your dad did commit the last act of love for you and your family….Thank you for sharing.

      • Jo Clark says

        I too lost my father to Alzheimer’s and I totally, totally understand his last act of love. I would probably do the same under the same circumstances.

        As for the article, SO eloquently written, just really beautiful. I lost a grown son to suicide and the aftermath is just so heartwrenching and difficult. I finally got to the same point as the author expressed and I don’t hold any anger toward him now. I never looked upon it as an act of cowardice or selfishness, accusations we see way too often. I saw it as a breaking point, where, as you said, “Suicide was not a choice he made, but rather a choice he happened onto when his pain was greater than his ability to cope.”

        I get it. I really get it. I hope this article will help others come to an understanding also.

  34. PN says

    Incredible words to read. From my home town, suicide was almost rampant as I grew up. Several classmates, adult friends/figures, and many others had all found suicide as an escape from their various pains. Growing up with that made it very difficult to process… “why suicide?” I would constantly ask myself. But thinking about it in terms like this really eased a lot of my thoughts. Thank you, so much, for writing this.

  35. says

    11 years ago this week my family suffered the tremendous loss of my youngest brother. He chose to leave this existence and return to our Father in Heaven in a horrible way. My heart has yet to recover from his departure so sudden and violent. I was at the time pregnant with my 3rd child and this stress caused me to become physically ill. I went to my father for a priesthood blessing as I felt myself becoming weaker. I wanted to be strong as he was their child not mine. I asked for a blessing and prayed for reassurance that my brother was okay. I knew that taking a life even your own was a sin. My father placed his hands on my head and related the most beautiful blessing from our Heavenly Father that anyone could imagine. He assured me that James (my brother) was now able to feel the love that we had for him. He stated that he was unable to feel this love while he was mortal. He told me that James was wrapped in our Savior’s arms, I know now that without this insight I would not have survived these years without James. Although I did not give birth to James he was my baby. I still cry. I am not ashamed to admit it. I miss so many things about him and I long to see him again and hug him as our Savior did. I am greatful for the knowledge of this as it brings me much peace.

  36. says

    Thank you. This is a post everyone who judges those who die from suicide ought to read. And it is one everyone who has been touched by suicide ought to read. And it is one everyone who has seriously considered suicide ought to read. Thank you.

  37. Claire North says

    beautifully written, I have never known anyone who took their own life as such but I see it with such clarity the way you have described the suffering and suicide being like an escape route from the pain they are going thru..not necessarily seen in their eyes as killing themselves but rather a way of preserving their personhood..I see that!
    thank you and prayers and sadness for all of those suffering from this anguish and the families and friends left behind. Know you are loved by someone out there…

  38. Eva says

    My father attempted suicide which ended up becoming one of the reasons my parents separated. Months later he was released from the hospital and living in a small, dingy apartment. I remember sitting in his apartment and crying while telling him I didn’t understand how he could do this to his family? He replied, that is had nothing to do with how he felt about us. He had been trying to get rid of his appalling pain. He felt as though he was in a black hole of pain and all he could desire at that moment was to put an end to it. It took me years to understand his actions, but as I learned more of his upbringing I began to realize that his pain had followed him for a lifetime. It just finally overcame him at the time he tried to take his life His siblings, too struggled like he did. His younger brother committed suicide and another of his sisters attempted it. A lot of pain in his family. I’m very thankful that he tried very hard not to pass it onto us.

  39. Pat Hunt says

    Thank you for sharing these perspectives. I have also lost a dear loved one to suicide: my first born son whom I adore! I could not agree more with the perspective you have shared. Thank you for raising awareness of the goodness of suicide victims.

  40. Seen on a cousin's wall says

    Thank you for this site. One of my dearest uncles took his life nearly 13 years ago. The statement in red at the top of the story affirms what I’ve believed well before his death. My siblings believe that it was a selfish act; I disagree.

  41. BP says

    I love and applaud your wonderful article.
    I, too, have lost loved ones to suicide.
    More to my point, I suffer extreme chronic pain. I can honestly say that I could count on one hand the number of days in my life without pain. It has only gotten worse as I have gotten older. I am now in my 50’s. It has taught me many things:
    – No one can ever fully understand the struggles and burdens of another. (except Christ)
    – We have developed methods to keep people alive well beyond the time when they might have died naturally in a former age, but we can’t keep them from suffering pain.
    – We have no way of measuring how much pain another person is experiencing.
    – This body is NOT who I am!

    The last point is my main one. Our bodies are NOT who we are. They are vehicles we use for a time, just like we use a car. They allow us to experience things we could never experience without them. And, just like a car, they can break-down and cease working well. Perhaps, even, they break down while moving down life’s highway at full speed. The resulting crash may demolish the car simply because we had no way to anticipate or correct for that critical component that has broken.
    Remember, it is our BODY that feels pain! Unless you have personally experienced it, you have NO idea how you will react to absolute, incredibly intense pain! Now add the idea that there is no end in sight to that pain- no drugs, no injections, no treatments, NO HOPE. I have been there! It is as though your body shoves you aside in its desperate search for something, ANYTHING that will make the pain go away. Fortunately, I have had an angel for a wife, who has been able to help in those situations. But that works for me, and might not work for others.
    I have come to understand that every person has their own learning curriculum in life. What we learn is unique to us, and we can never fully appreciate the things another person was sent here to learn…

    • MARYDEE says

      I suffer from many autoimmune disorders including RA, OA, PsA, hypothyroidism, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disorder, spinal scoliosis of both my upper and lower spine, Sjogren’s Syndrome…….and am allergic to all pain meds. Let me share with you that even though I have been in almost unrelenting physical pain, it is NOTHING compared with the emotional pain that I experienced most of my life!!!

  42. Pamela Rodriguez says

    I really appreciate the perspective you have here. I almost committed suicide as a young adult, from inside a deep, dark depression. I crossed a busy road without realizing there were cars there. I could not see or hear them because my mind was blank. I did not get hit but one driver honked long and loud enough that I heard and realized where I was. That led me to run straight to a therapist. This was back in the early 70’s when mental illness was a huge stigma. If I admitted I needed help it meant I admitted I was crazy. There were no drugs back then that work like those today. Fast forward 20 years and I found myself again in a very bad relationship, to the point of hiding in a closet to escape. But this time I had an infant who needed me alive, and for that I am grateful. But when that child grew and had similar problems, I was distraught. Mental hospitalizations starting at age 8, again at 10, 11, and 12 to keep this precious soul alive. My early experience gave me the understanding to help prevent that pain from turning into suicide. I could see the suicide attempts as a call for help. Even now, years later, I still watch and monitor. Our family has so many health and emotional issues that suicide would be a relief to the suffering ones. But there are alternatives, and if we watch and pray we can help.

  43. says

    SO true, Shawna! I’m glad to know that it is not our job to judge these people. Only our Heavenly Father and our Savior truly know what each person is going through, the state of their mind, their emotional/spiritual trials, their physical pain, etc. Christ perfectly knows and loves them. A boy in my neighborhood and grade was picked on all growing up–in Jr High, he took his life. I never was mean to him, but I didn’t really do much to stand up for him or reach out. I will always regret that. Because of this boy, I learned that even though it can be scary or uncool to stand up for someone being bullied, the pain later of knowing you didn’t stand up is horrible. I think we need to have so much more compassion for others…we don’t need to waste time judging their motives, cause that is in the perfect, loving, capable hands of our Savior.

  44. says

    I am incredibly impressed with your story, but most, by the comments from a religious leader. So often, they are the ones to condemn the actions of a suicide victim, yet his words were insightful and compassionate.
    Having lost both of my parents to suicide, I have spent the last few years writing about it, sharing my thoughts, the insights which come to me and most of all, compassion for those who leave us by this route.
    Your post is so well-written that I would be honored if you would allow me to include it as a guest post on my blog.

  45. Debi says

    My sister just committed suicide on the 5th of this month. I am missing her terribly and trying to get passed all of the guilt I feel for still being alive. I do know that she has been in a depression for years and feel this was her only way for relief. But still having a hard time believing she is actually gone.

    • LeAnnH says

      I have had loved ones leave our earth this way. But after years and years of trying to cope, I can finally say, I am okay! My mother worried that I would, because I had so many did this in such a short time frame.
      I did not even think I would, but others saw the signs. I have children to raise!
      She called me Easter morning, and told me to get on knees and not to get up until I had answers to the why.
      I know he is okay now! I know the world hurt him so bad, and that no one took his cries for help seriously enough! He was so sweet and so very young! My boys grew up not remembering him. This breaks my heart, But we all know he is finally at peace! Not OUR peace, but HIS peace and the Lord was there to hold him tight!

      Please talk to someone! Don’t hold it in!! If you need someone, I am here for you!!
      I will give you my number! You can call me anytime! To scream and yell! Don’t walk the healing path alone!
      I am so sorry for everyone’s loss here!
      Our little community has had 5 or 6 kids choose this way of release since January!
      So sad, this is the only way to stop their pain!

      May Lord give you peace!!! And everyone else here too!!

      HE is our light and our way home!!

    • Sally Orchard says

      Please understand that you will be able to go forward with a full life and with a greater understanding and peace.. A few thoughts told to me at my brother’s passing at 21:
      When I could not understand why I did not recognize the signs and his need to help him a wise man spoke this to me. “The spiritual mind often keeps us from facing the things that we cannot handle.”
      In speaking with a man about my fears for my brother, I was told “The hardest thing a person who takes their own life deals with is the pain they have left for others. They often feel they are doing everyone a favor.” (Please allow yourself to cry and don’t hold in your pain for that releases your sorrow and heals)

      My brother has been gone now 34 years and I will still have moments of great tears because I know he loved life and had great desires. Mental illness in so many forms does not the loved one make.

      I know God has his arms around my brother as they stand side by side with the Savior who loves us and is with us.


  46. Mandy says

    Thank you for sharing this. My best friend, and I guy who I had hoped to one day marry, committed suicide three years ago. I struggled with his death for a long time. Still do sometimes. The past 9 months or so, I have been fighting depression and for a couple of months, contemplated suicide numerous times. Then I read a couple of books by women who had committed suicide and were allowed to come back to earth life. Completely changed my perspective on my own life and what I should or shouldn’t do to cope, but it also made me wonder if my friend is still miserable – trapped in that emotional torment he struggled with day in and day out. This post gives me hope that maybe things will all get sorted out in the end, and those who suffered like this will find peace.

  47. Steve Flower says

    As a survivor of multiple suicides, I appreciate the change of perspective this author allows. I especially like the image of the person stuck in burning building – they know jumping out the window is death, but burning to death is not preferable to the possibility of an instant death out the window. It’s not a good choice, it’s not a preferable choice, it’s not a cowardly choice – it just appears to be the last choice available.

    I’m sure I haven’t seen the last suicide in my life – so I’m saving this article. Thanks again.

  48. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have never suffered loss through suicide, but people I care about have and I think this is a very eloquent and beautiful way for them to have an understanding of what their loved one was experiencing and is a way for them to have some peace.
    Please accept my condolences for your Uncle’s loss. It’s apparent how much you still grieve his loss and how much you love/loved him. God Bless.

  49. Erin says

    Thank you for sharing. I lost my Grandfather 12 years ago to suicide, also. This was a very comforting way to explain their struggles.

  50. Cheryl says

    Thank you.
    It’s funny how you find things when you need them. Next month it will be 4 years since my best friend took her own life and she’s been on my mind so much lately. I’ve been missing her, her thoughts, her advice, just…her….a lot lately.

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you for posting it. I needed to read it.

  51. says

    Thanks for sharing this story with us. Our family lost a loved one in 2010 to suicide and there are many times when we have many of the questions and thoughts you addressed in your post. I sincerely appreciate the different perspective you have given.

  52. Amy says

    Thanks for sharing this story. I lost my ex fiance who I was with for 5 years, 2 months ago today. I am doing much better, but I am still struggling to understand. We still don’t know all the details surrounding his death, but I will never forget the last conversation we had that day. A lot of what you said makes complete sense and hits very close to home for me. Even though we were no longer together, we were still very close and I still loved him. My biggest regret is I didn’t tell him. I miss him everyday and not a day goes by I don’t think about him. I hope he knew I still loved him.

  53. RayRay says

    Just last month my niece took her own life leaving behind her husband & there 4 children who are between 4 & 10. Her family was her world but she had suffered from depression for a long time. She was only 30 would have turned 31 this month. We will always ask ourselves why. Thank you for sharing your story with everyone. I also had a cousin who took his life back in 1991 or 92 he was about 30 as well.

  54. moparrev says

    I think many Christian denominations have changed their stance on suicide. No longer do we see the person in such pain that they are not themselves, but the faithful person they were before such pain entered their lives.
    Satan is powerful and has many props in this world to use to change a man. We all need to be watchful and ready for when the lion tries to devour us.
    We will not all make it, but our God is a loving God and with His help we can find glory out of this world!

  55. Brenda Rainwater says

    What a beautiful heartfelt writing. My son commited suicide in 1996 at the age of 20.
    I think the pastor was right in his words.
    You have comforted me .
    Bless you

  56. Patti says

    My daughter committed suicide last June. I want to thank you for this. It puts to words the way I have felt about her choice for a long time, and the bishop’s words are perfect.

    • Kelly says

      I pray that if you are on the depression side of things, Remember, you are not a lone. You may feel that way I did when I was going thru my time. I still have some times however, after a patience Dr who helped me find the meds that seem to work for me. Please seek help!

  57. Kerry Bosworth says

    I wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for writing this. I am a survivor of my stepson’s suicide and have been working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for the last year. A friend of mine shared it with me yesterday. I’ve also shared this and have gotten two comments from friends who have also been touched by suicide, who have said that you’ve helped them by writing it. Thank you.

  58. Debra Dahmann says

    6 months ago I lost a very dear friend of who I had dated for 12 years. David and I did not see each other in the 2013. I had met someone new. David was clinically depressed all the while I was with him….but we always seemed to work through it.Through last year we would email and text He was a good man….he was a great RN, an artist, he even was aaselling his items on zazzle.com. David turned 60years old on December 18. That was the last I heard from him. On December 30,2013..Davids daughter called me and said David had passed away. David drove his truck to a small town . He got out of his truck and physically ran in between 2 cars. I was horrified in disbelief that he would tke his own life so tragically!! I think about him everyday and the pain he had to of been feeling. The loneliness, helpless, sadness. My dad tried comforting me b telling me God had Davids hand and he was not alone. I regret now not replying to emails as much a i should of or go meet him for a drink and just talk……He left 2 grown children and a 2 year old grandaughter. Not a day goes by I do not think about David…..

  59. Virginia says

    thank you for sharing. My husband took his life 4 years ago. I appreciate all you said. You helped me. My son posted your site so I know it helped him too.

  60. Alysa Hill says

    Thank you so much for your words. My brother left us 3 years ago in October and it has still been hard to cope. I still struggle with the “why” and “what if’s” and wish I could have done something to prevent it.
    My brother had been sick for many years with a terrible illness that made him lose motivation to do anything in life. He was constantly hurtng and spent many days just laying in bed or on the couch because it hurt too bad to move.
    He was amazing though. He had the best personality. He could’ve done whatever he wanted had he not gotten sick, or rather let the illness take over.
    These words are definitely comforting and gave me a whole new perspective on the matter. Thank you again.

    • Cathy says

      I doubt he “let the illness take over”. I expect he fought being taken over as well as he was able. I believe we all try as hard as we can. If it looks to you like someone isn’t trying “hard enough” then maybe you can’t see the whole picture – you may be missing some vital information about their mental state or about the full extent of the hardships they are enduring. Nobody has the choice to be happy and productive sitting freely available in front of them and chooses to be unhappy and unproductive instead.

  61. Vanessa says

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful message. I lost my brother to suicide 20 years ago and this is such an uplifting beautiful message.

  62. Sam Kirkpatrick says

    I have shared this with my family and friends with this comment:

    “Sometimes you happen upon someone else’s words which state what is in your heart but haven’t been able to express. This is one of those times.”

    Thank you for this article!

  63. Jordan says

    I think in all this is true, that suicide is not what we choose, but just the quickest escape. I struggled with suicide for several years, but have overcome that part of my life. I still think back on that time in my life, and think how everything could have been different (maybe even better) if I hadn’t tried to use the easy way out, I had several attempts at suicide, but something new would happen every time that would stop me from doing this. I know God was miraculous in his ways through my long struggles.

  64. A.L. says

    This was EXCELLENT. I feel the EXACT same way this author does. I can never put it into words so eloquently like she did. So comforting and liberating to read. I wish everyone will read and understand this and wipe away the awful, severely misunderstood and unfair stigma that is associated with suicide. Thanks so much and I am deeply impressed with your amazing insight, compassion and wisdom. Im saving this!!!

  65. Jenn says

    I don’t know you and I’ve never visited your blog before, but I would give just about anything to hug you so tightly right now. I lost my husband six months ago. We were so happy and sickeningly in love with each other, which made it all the more difficult when people would ask what happened. “I thought you guys were so happy and in love. What happened?” We were and we are. He was struggling with PTSD. It has been so hard to not blame myself for failing him or taking as a personal rejection and questioning everything we shared. As crazy ad this sounds, you sharing your perspective has saves me and more importantly my marriage. I don’t question anymore that he’s in heaven just waiting for me. Thank you

    • Jenn says

      Typos galore! Goodnight!! Could you tell I was a little emotional and couldn’t get it out fast enough? :)

      Your words especially helped my daughters to heal. The 9/11 comparison let them understand and forgive their dad.

      I know my husband would want me to thank you for him. So, thank you. From both of us.

  66. says

    I am so sorry for your loss; May God be with you in your time of grieving. Thank you for the story , I really needed to hear that right now. Thank You Again and May the LORD BE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!

  67. Jean says

    I praise the Bishop for his words. There is so much stigma with suicide and the church, he obviously gets it that Christ only loves those that come home and understands their journey, and does not condemn them.

  68. says

    Shawna – Thank you SO much for this post! Your words are spot on! I lost my last husband to suicide, and the words in this post provide a comfort that few others have. Blessings to you! ~Leah

  69. Lacey C. says

    I can barely put into words the feeling this post has given me. 8 years ago my father committed suicide. I was 19 years old and am an only child. This was an extremely difficult thing to understand and cope with. After going to counseling for about a year after it happened, this is what my counselor helped my heart to understand. To see it put into actual words and to feel like someone else understands how I feel about the manner of my fathers death is priceless. I have always believed he is in Heaven and that it was his way to survive all the pain he was going through. He had been surviving for year much like your Uncle. My counselor explained it to be a loss upon a loss upon loss. It stacked up around him over time. Every heartache, setback and horrible thing had finally taken it’s toll. I have never felt anger towards him or God. I feel the loss of the future, what wonderful things we could have had. But I am thankful for what we did have. Thank you again for this post that has touched my heart so much. It came at the right time, my dad’s birthday was two days ago so he has been on my mind.

  70. Ashley says

    Shawna, I want to thank you for sharing this story. It was very touching and heartfelt and something everyone who has experienced suicide in their lives should read.

    One thing that really touched me was what the bishop said. I wish all people who are devout would feel the same way. I had a classmate commit suicide in grade 12 several months before graduation. It really shook us all up. The chaplain in our school agreed to hold a memorial for him in the little church in our school for all of his classmates and closest friends. However when he was preaching about Mike, he basically said that he is going to hell because suicide is unforgivable and the greatest sin he could ever commit. Me and all of my classmates were appalled. This was supposed to be a memorial for a friend and instead it was some man who didn’t know him being judgmental and cruel because someone did something he didn’t believe in. It is my feeling that if he didn’t believe that Mike could be forgiven and is going to hell for what he did that he shouldn’t have agreed to hold the memorial. Instead he insulted his memory.

    If you ever talk to this bishop again, please say thank you.

  71. says

    My daughter and I are getting ready to publish our book: Healing Power of the Atonement for Those Affected by Suicide. We have been posting a few stories from the book on our blog and other social media to introduce the world to the book. My cousin shared your blog with us, and we are hoping you will either let us re-post your story on our web page or you can share another version. We are hoping that the web page will be filled with people sharing their stories to help others deal constructively with the pain and save lives. Thank you for sharing your uncle’s story and the way you were able to find peace through the power of the Holy Ghost and the knowledge of the Love of God.

  72. Stephanie says

    This is incredibly profound.. 2 years ago my mom shot herself in front of my stepdad- who had always given her the world. To this day I still feel lost without her. Today I’m a labor and delivery nurse and I see incredible mother daughter bonding experiences everyday at work. Sometimes not always easy.
    The toughest thing for me so far is not knowing anyone who has been through anything similar to talk things out and process this horrific experience with, it’s great to see someone write such a different perspective on this.
    The most devastating part of this is that I will always ask why this happened? Until reading this article I always asked God why she decided to leave me… I secretly begged him to give me a sign or an answer and so far it hasn’t come.. After reading this maybe my perspective will change.
    Thank you for writing this

    • Kim says

      Its been 29 years since my mother killed herself. Although I have been angry and dysfunctional throughout, this article has given me a mustard seeds worth of perspective to help me understand. ..there is no understanding… you cant understand when your angry and abandoned…but it would feel less like abandon if you could understand there is no understanding. ..live and hopefully learn. ..and eventually heal and feel less unworthy. Life is all about redefining your belief system I think? Sorry for your loss…I totally understand.

  73. Melissa says

    I agree that only God knows the persons heart and situation when’s they take their own lives, but I also wonder if you really know that he is in Heaven? As we all know, we have to accept Christ into our lives, and too many people just assume that everyone goes to Heaven.

    • Shelisa Loertscher says

      Melissa, both my son, and my nephew 4 1/2 years before him, wholeheartedly accepted Christ into their hearts and souls, exuded Christ-like qualities, and tried very hard to live in a way that would please their Father and their Savior. But sometimes mental illness wins. Just as sometimes cancer wins.

  74. Randi says

    Thank you for posting this story. My son took his life two years ago and you have helped me to understand the why question.

  75. Mallory says

    Shawna, this is the perfect example of God leading one to comfort when they need it. My father committed suicide the same month and year as your uncle, and it being the anniversary of his passing this month, and Father’s Day today, he’s been on my mind a lot. I can’t write a lot now because I am typing one handed while feeding my daughter a bottle with the other, and tending to her triplet brother and sister. They were born 6 months ago and my heart aches for my dad today as I realize they will never get to celebrate Father’s Day or any other holiday with their Grandpa Doug, who would have loved them fiercely and was always so good with children. You have opened my eyes to the reasoning behind a person’s choice to commit suicide that has given me more peace about it than anything else has in these 12 years since I lost him. Thank you so much and God bless -Mallory

  76. Jenney Lou says

    I read this with a skeptical eye, tight lips, and a set jaw. I did expect to read excuse-making, sugar coating, whitewashing – not perspective changing truth. I had hardened myself – my heart to protect it from the pain and fear that suicide produces. By the time I finished reading, my hardened heart had been tenderized. Thank you. Thank you for a slice of peace.

  77. says

    Your post happened to come across my Facebook feed when I awoke at 5:15 this morning. I read it because I thought it was interesting. Little did I know how much of an impact it would have on me. It is now 10:45 am and I just found out that an old friend of mine committed suicide on Tuesday morning. I imediatly went searching for your article on Facebook to re-gain perspective. I wil be sharing it with Martin’s friends.

  78. Shelisa Loertscher says

    I am beyond grateful for this post. I was particularly struck by your feeling that everything would be okay. My youngest son took his leap from the burning tower on April 12. He’d suffered from terrible depression for many years, and I fought every step of the way to keep him going. The overwhelming stress in his life even led his brain to shut itself down and reboot in an attempt to protect him, but he lost the last three years of memories in the process (more common that one would think, according to his neuropsychologist).

    I spent so much time on my knees, begging Heavenly Father to show me the path forward, to help me help my son. The only answer I received was that everything would be okay. That my son would be okay. And I know he is.

    Thank you and Jay’s sons for this post. So many are being comforted with these words.

  79. Rhonda Hanlon says

    What a beautiful interpretation of suicide in relation to a burning building…..so sad but it is an escape. I will always remember your words whenever I hear of a suicide…they were ultimate survivors until their struggles trumpede life itself. Thanks for your words!

  80. janice says

    Thank you for this insightful and thoughtful post. I have a cousin who is often suicidal. I know, someday, she’ll succeed. None of us know what to do to make it better, but this helps me to see a little bit into her thoughts. Thank you.

  81. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience. There are so many people who are coping and sometimes failing to cope. If only more people cared and showed it. If only.

  82. Stephanie Hill says

    Thank you for sharing your experience & thoughts on this subject. I lost my sister to suicide a little over 4 years ago and I completely agree with the things you’ve said. You know there is so much about this journey we call “life”, that we just don’t have the whole story on. But one thing I know, with out a doubt, that God loves everyone of us and that my sister has been encircled in His arms, and that’s a good place to be!

  83. Cindy Beardsley says

    My dad committed suicide one week after my 8 th birthday. That was 44 years ago. My mother refuses to explain to me anything about my dad. After reading this, I no longer feel that he didn’t love me, but that he loved me so much, he didn’t want me to see his pain. Thank you for writing this.

  84. says

    Wow. This is so beautiful, and I can tell you were inspired in writing this. I loved reading all the comments and seeing all the people who have been touched by your post. It touched me, as last December someone I knew commited suicide. He was an acquaintance, but some very good friends of mine were really close to him and were deeply affected by the event. I didn’t know him very well, but was privileged to attend his services where people who knew him well shared the many ways in which he helped them and touched their lives. Thank you for sharing your story.

  85. LBenyo says

    Thank you for your post. I’ve lost two brothers to suicide. Last October my youngest brother called me to say goodbye. We talked for 45 minutes and I thought I had talked him out if it. After our conversation I knelt down and prayed fervently and received a strong impression from the Spirit that “everything would be okay”. Very similar to what you described. My brother had suffered and struggled most of his life with mental illness and I know he is being helped where he is right now.

  86. Jessica says

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Too often those who struggle with depression are judged – typically we judge ourselves more harshly than others who know us, but at least in my mind I feel others see me the same way. I struggle everyday with this disease and a family who believes that it’s not real, just exercise more and there’s no real proof that depression is a real disease. I plan to print this story and keep it in my journal as a reminder that it is a real fight with other real people determined to stay strong as long as possible. Thank you for the much needed peace that I have been searching.

    • Janet Bailleul says

      But Jessica, you and those of us who also struggle with depression know it IS a very real and debilitating disease. We need to speak up and educate others and somehow in doing that we lift and strengthen ourselves. Take comfort from the knowledge that you are not alone in this struggle. Take strength and get the help you need to keep on going, and don’t stop looking for help. When you are having an unbearable moment reach out to anyone even your Heavenly Father and your elder brother Jesus. It doesn’t matter that there are some people who don’t believe you, there are more that do and lots of places as listed in all these posts that can help us ok? Maybe you will end up mentoring someone else in the process and bring them the peace they are searching for. We never know whose life we may touch even with just a hug. Be strong and maybe just a little stronger ok? And consider this my HUG to you, though I know not whom you are I have felt connected even for just a moment. Hugs, prayers and love flowing your way! /Janny

  87. Tena Ross says

    Beautiful. I lost my brother to suicide over 5 years ago. He was almost 36 yrs old. He was a long time alcoholic and had been suffering from further depression when his wife of only 2 yrs started having an affair 2 yrs prior of him taking his life. He took sleeping pills with a bottle of whiskey, and called it a night. Unfortunately, my oldest son found him for which his alcoholism became worse, and he had tried suicide as well

    I have always said that my brother may not have chosen “our” right way to go, but it was “his” right way. He had a lot of side pain, that we later found out was probably due to his liver, and he could no longer cope with knowing that as long as he was alcoholic, he would probably never marry again, or ever have any children.

    I was sad at first, thinking if I had of just lived closer and didn’t move out of town, I would have seen the signs I also went through anger at was so angry at him for doing it when he knew that it would be my son that would find him, since my son was staying with him at the time and he would be going there after work. He knew that he was battling his own demons with alcohol and depression. I also wish that more thought was given when leaving a note saying simply “Sorry mom. Sorry dad. I love you”. My mother especially deserved so much more in a letter than that.

    As far as I’m concerned now, there is nothing to forgive. Bryan did what he thought was best for him and I suppose everyone else. My son Chris, is now almost 32 and though he has not attempted suicide in almost 4 yrs now, he is still drinking and I do not see him stopping. He has been in many many rehabs over the course of 10 yrs, and I enable him by letting him live with me now. As long as he lives with me, he doesn’t drink “as much”, he keeps a job and I am able to sleep at night, because I know where he is….but it has taken a small toll on me as well. I am on anxiety and depression medication myself, but it’s a small price to pay to keep my son from following my brothers footsteps.

    Again, what you wrote is beautiful and I thank you for your and Jays bishop for the insight of the troubled soul.

    God Bless,

    Tena (Thompson) Ross
    Ada, OK

  88. Megan Pratt says

    This was wonderful. I lost my son a year and a half ago to suicide. I’ve been calling it “Wyatt’s choice,” and trying to understand why he would make that choice when it was so painful to everyone who loved him. You’ve given me a new perspective.

    Thank you.
    Megan ~ Wyatt’s Mom

  89. lisa says

    I really want to write some profound comment about this article and the peace it has brought me but I can’t seem to find the words. I myself have attempted to take my life more than once and have such guilt about it. What you wrote has really touched me so from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

  90. James Bartko says

    I appreciate the wonderful way that you stated your story. I also have struggled with depression and have had thoughts of suicide. That said not everyone can get help. In my case I can not get the help do to the fact that I can lose my livelihood. I do not know if this will cost me my job or not, hopefully not.

  91. Beth says

    Thank you for sharing this post. Although I myself have not been affected by suicide, I still see it happen around me. I am a pediatric nurse and I see many children and teens who have attempted to take their own lives (and some who succeed). I had never thought of suicide the way you put it. Thank you for the enlightenment!

  92. says

    Thank you for sharing, Shawna. Since losing my older brother David to suicide 8 months ago, I too have been striving to create this conversation and raise awareness through a blog: http://lovingdavidj.com/. Much like a heart attack is the result of significant heart disease, I view suicide as the result an overwhelming emotional attack from mental challenge or struggle. I hope others will continue this conversation, to diminish the stigma and promote mental health. Thank you for sharing, wishing you many blessings & peace. -Anna

  93. Angela says

    First off let me say I would investigate the hospital that turned him away three times. Something needs to change on their part! Someone who is brave enough to ask for help with their pain needs to be able to get that help!
    I used to be of the mindset that suicide is selfish and to some degree I still do. But in my lifetime I’ve experienced bouts of severe depression and have been at the point where I didn’t want to wake up. Not that I would have actively taken my life but I was giving up and not taking care of myself. It was work just to drag myself out of bed in the morning and sometimes I didn’t. Eating was a nightmare; I’d look at my food and barely touch it. The smell would make me sick and trying to eat was horrible.
    Now I do understand the reasons why people commit suicide. I understand the horrible mental TORTURE of depression and anxiety and fear. It’s unbearable pain and I’m not sure I can think of anyone I hate enough to wish this torture upon.
    But I wish I could tell those contemplating suicide – DON’T GIVE UP! The pain is terrible but it CAN and DOES get better. I can tell you from my own experience that with the right help and support you CAN get through it. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Life WILL feel good again. And when you have a good deep in your stomach laugh at a silly scene on a TV show – it will feel like the best laugh you’ve ever had in your life!
    It’s really sad to me that he was turned away for help. It’s hard enough for lots of people to even ask for help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed with the stigma of mental health issues. Anyone reading this – DO NOT be afraid or ashamed – it’s not a personal fault and not a personal failure and not a character flaw and you can’t just suck it up and you can’t just get over it. Get the help you need. Call a doctor, nurse, therapist, minister, sister, brother, teacher, police officer, nun, coworker, boss – someone out there can help you! You would seek treatment for any physical illness – never be afraid to get help for a mental illness. NEVER.
    Love and hugs to all xoxoxo

  94. Stephanie says

    I wanted to say thank you for this blog post. I lost my Dad three years ago to suicide. I was blindsided and deal with several layers of emotion. It was healing to read your perspective. Thank you.

  95. says

    Thank you! I lost my husband to suicide three weeks ago. He struggled with depression for many years but we had only been together less than a year. Yesterday I prayed asking him for a message as to why. This is the second thing I have read since I prayed that talked about not wanting to die but to end pain. Thank you for the message

  96. suzanne says

    “Christ did not call Jay home in this manner. But I can testify that He did welcome him home.”

    Breathtaking, inspired words. And so happy you had a bishop who could speak by the Spirit.

  97. paden s says

    I must say your thoughts on this subject have touched me deeply, I attempted suicide at 17 by shooting myself in the face to escape deep emotional pain and after the past 11 years I have come to a point where I thought this subject could no longer bother me, and today for the first time the memory’s have brought tears to my eyes from reading this, I have never before heard someone be able to articulate the feelings correctly, not even myself. There is a very powerful message here and I feel more at peace now then I have for the past 11 years.
    Thank you for this.

  98. Katie says

    Really strange you mentioned the people jumping from the tower on 9/11, that moment that I seen those people jumping I realized how my brother felt and all I could do was cry. I understood in that moment of someone else’s pain! He died 8 years later and I happened to be watching YouTube and seen that. It all made sense after seeing that. Thanks so much for your story! Makes me feel good.

  99. Hailey says

    This artical defiantly was uplifting. I lost my oldest brother in 2010 to suicide. We had used to be very close and losing him was devestating. I have finally come to the point of acceptance of his choice, that it had nothing to do with me, but he wanted to be released of his pain.

  100. says

    Powerful and thoughtful, thanks for taking the time to weave thru that labyrinth. I’d argue there’s overt and covert suicide. My uncle an MD of some renown refused treatment for his skin cancer and I argue his suicide was by default, again to free himself from his internal agony. I myself struggle with depression, but you are spot on, suicide is not the answer as our will to survive is paramount, up to a point as you say. As a former first-aider I know how resilient the body is, and as a volunteer counsellor I know suicide leaves everyone in the lurch. Again I thank you for exploring the dark avenues this topic takes us through, as there is light, always! Victor Jara said “no amount of darkness can snuff out the light of a single candle”.

  101. Mandy says

    Thank you so much for this post. It is so heartbreaking to me that so many people have lost loved ones so tragically. This last Feb. was the 10 year anniversary of my brother’s suicide. He was 17. We all still miss him terribly, but we believe that we will see him again someday, and that he is watching over us. I never for a moment worried about his eternal salvation because of how he left this world (because I don’t believe those who take their own lives are in a sound enough mind to be accountable for their actions) … but my heart still aches for my brother that he was at a point in his life where he felt suicide was his only escape from whatever his demons were.

    The advice that has been the most beneficial for me (not that I always followed it – but it always came to my mind when I was struggling) was “Don’t dwell on the ‘what ifs.’ What has happened has happened. Wondering if you could have done anything differently to help prevent it, will not change anything – but it will tear you up inside.

    Love and prayers to all of those who have been affected by suicide. It is such a hard thing to be a person left behind …

  102. Greg Franzman says

    Beautiful article. Always felt people have been misjudged about suicide. I’m sorry for your loss but God has worked through you. This has helped others and myself to deal and heal with this subject..

  103. says

    I am glad you have a better understanding for the loss that you went through. Depression is an illness not a person. It seems unless you have had to deal with a mental illness yourself many people think you can just get past it. They are quick to say just get over it. Quick to judge. Not supporting and telling someone to get over it, you are not understanding the consequences that may cause. You never know the pain that someone is in to get to the point where they feel their only answer is suicide. I myself have been effected by suicide, losing my cousin. I have felt depression to the point where I thought people around me would be better off without me. I realize after losing him and knowing how it effected the family and his friends, I was wrong. I have instead turned to my family and friends and opened up to them. Let them know how I was feeling and they helped me get through the tough times. Not all understood, but I had plenty that was there to help me. I am not ashamed to say I still deal with depression. I am proud to say I make it through each day, Strong! I hope everyone can find the strength make it to see the next day.

  104. Stewart says

    Shawna, thank you for this eloquent post. We lost our son Cameron (17) in September and your analogy to the burning towers is helpful. Cam fought his depression, hid it well, and saved many of his friends lives but could not save his own. Unfortunately, treatment for this disease is available but had we known where he was. The fact that Jay sought help several times from medical specialists/hospitals and was sent home is a huge problem and we are working to change that in our communities, the state and beyond so that lives can be saved.. Some good work has already happened in Washington State through Forefront and other areas of the Pacific NW. Unfortunately, Idaho leads the way in teen suicide rates nationally. We have formed (or I should say the kids did) #LiveWilder Foundation and moving toward suicide prevention in our youth populations. Best to you, always.

  105. says

    beautifully and tactfully written. Your Bishop was a very wise (and rare) one. cherish him! Our perception of those who have taken their own lives is a very limited and incorrect one. Ester Hicks/Abrahams video on this takes us even further into a higher perception of suicide. While not glorifying suicide, speaks the truth about going home to Source, regardless of how.

  106. Cindy says

    Thanks for your words, my husband shot hisself out in front yard as me and child were going out the back door. He was an alcoholic but was struggling to become clean. And as you said he come upon the escape. Yes I blame myself that faithful day but through prayers I know it was not my fault.

  107. Michael Scadden says

    Thank you for the honest account. Even though we didn’t stay in touch, he was one of my most favorite cousins growing up.
    He was just as human as the rest of us.

  108. Nancy says

    Thank you for this beautifully written and insightful blog post. I have lost a cousin and best friend to suicide. Most everyone has their lives touched by suicide at some point in their mortal journeys. The burning building example you talked about really struck home….have we not all been in that building ourselves from time to time? One thing suicide cannot alter is our Savior’s love for us and our Heavenly Father’s perfect compassion and understanding of the challenges and struggles we face. Love, compassion, and forgiveness are generous gifts given to us by our Savior and gifts we, too, can give our fellow sojourners.

  109. Christa Ziman says

    Very lovely. Compasion, for other’s pains is so hard. Your uncle is lovely and I am so so sorry he suffered they way he did.

  110. SHERRYL Bailey says

    Thank you for your thoughts on suicide. I lodt a very dear friend almost 40 years ago to suicide and have been thinking about him alot lately. This helped me so much. Thanks again.

  111. Celia says

    The bishop’s profound message together with your well written article has really touched my life today, and I know it will make an impact on all who read it. All who have lost loved ones through suicide will particularly find the part about 9/11 meaningful. Thank you for that!!

  112. says

    Thank you for such a beautiful and touching story! I always thought of suicide as the most selfish act anyone could ever do, and looked at it like a person would murder. That is until I had suicidal thoughts myself, and wound up in a mental ward of the hospital. My work for the Center for Suicide Awareness has been a great blessing in my life! It’s something that becomes a part of you. Besides providing support groups, we also do a lot of work on awareness and stigma elimination. We hold the largest walk in Wisconsin.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to provide a link to the Tele Award winning documentary that we produced, called “If You Only Knew What You Left Behind'”. It could save a life! The “Mark” in the video is me. lol



  113. Sherry says

    My brother left us at the age of 29. He was popular at school, athletic, handsome and got a 4-year scholarship playing football. Later he married and had 2 children but his married life was miserable. He did not believe in divorce and felt that this was the only way out. We lost a beautiful person that day and I miss him each and every day but I know that he is in heaven and I will see him one day.

  114. Mary says

    Dear Shawna,

    I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts on suicide. I have struggled with depression my entire life. I have one suicide attempt and several close calls behind me. As someone that has come out on the other side, I wanted to let you know that your thoughts are strikingly accurate. Suicide is not an act of selfishness or something someone does with no thought to those around them. The pain they are feeling really does become unbearable. Often times they experience intense emotional pain and if that pain were manifested as physical pain, many of us would never ask them to suffer through it. I by no means am condoning suicide. I am living proof that getting help can make a difference. While I still battle with depression, it is under control and no where near the level it was in the past. I usually don’t comment on things like this. I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t wrong and that your post hits close to home. I am sure it will help many of those left behind in the wake of suicide. Thank you for bringing a little bit of peace to the survivors.

  115. Angela says

    Thank you for such a beautifully written piece. I am a psychiatric nurse who just yesterday received a call from a patient who had overdosed and although declared a desire to die, proved otherwise by calling to tell me of his actions. I have never thought of a suicide victim as selfish, only marveled at the unfathomable amount of pain that must be present for them to completely override the most basic sense of self preservation. My heart breaks for those individuals, and their loved ones, who are so overwhelmed by pain that the only alternative is death.

  116. Brooke says

    This is beautifully written. In less than a year, our church family was rocked by suicide twice. One of these instances in particular was a well known and loved vet who served almost all the animals in our community, large and small. It shook us all to the core. Many people questioned where he would go, isn’t suicide a sin? Our pastor reminded us all that as a believer in Him, Greg’s sins were under the blood of Jesus. Past. Present. And Future. Suicide included! What an awesome God we serve! I know He welcomed our friend Greg with open arms, just as He did your friend Jay.

  117. Becky Ermann says

    On Feb 11, 2008 our world stopped turning.. Our youngest son, took his life. Daily we ask what, how, why, but of course never an answer. He died of a broken heart. Left behind two see children and I pray they can find peace like you and know that their Dad loved them so much. Keep up your good post. I have felt all the things you mention and still feel so very lost. God Bless

  118. Kara says

    Thank you for this post.

    I have a dear friend who has tried to commit suicide many times, since the age of 7. I struggled to understand WHY! I know that he has had a hard time of things the past few years, which just makes it worse on him. This helps me understand a little about why he would contemplate that. Thank you.

  119. Karl Mellor says

    this is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the topic of suicide. The analogy comparing suicide victims to the people who leaped to their death on 9/11 was incredibly profound. I can honestly say that I had never looked at suicide from that perspective before, but it makes perfect sense now that it’s been pointed out to me.

  120. Esther says

    I have always seen suicide as a cry for help and not a selfish thing. I have a brother that has attempted suicide 7 times and by the grace of God he is still alive. He has had a lot of mental anguish and suffered severely from bipolar and schizophrenia. On the other side of him is a beautiful artist that writes music and much more but in his recent song the lyrics went like this ” if I didn’t know that God is good, if I didn’t have that understood, I would just lie down in my box of wood” lyrics by Ezra Vancil. Ezra is now an advocate for artist suffering from the same despair, and wants to start a non profit organization to help those who suffer from temptation of suicide to get help.
    Thank you for your post, I pray that many have healing from it.

  121. Brooke says

    Thank you so very much for sharing this. I have never been to your blog and just happened to see this on Facebook. It was so beautifully written and you had me in tears.

  122. Kerri Manning says

    I recently found my biological father, (the monday before memorial day 2014). After 22 years of searching it ended with him already being gone. My birth mother had passes away with the children she had after me (I was adopted at birth) in 1986. When I found his family, I was told he had commited suicide. Over the past few weeks, I have struggled with my feelings of his death. As a Christian, I struggled with what I had been told over my life time and what I felt in my heart. This story gave me exactly what I needed and the time I needed it. God works in so many wonderful ways. Thank you so much for writing this for those of us who need closure on something we dont understand.

  123. Kristen says

    Thank u for this. Lost a good friend to suicide August of last year. This is the first time I’ve read something that makes any kind of sense of it all to me. I am so glad I stumbled upon this- I f

  124. Marty Farr says

    Thank you. I lost my dear husband of 56 years old to suicide 9 months ago. It is the hardest way you can deal with a death. We have all been so devastated and miss him so much. I know he is in good standing with the Lord. He lost his battle to anxiety, but not his eternal reward.

  125. says

    Five years ago, my cousin shot himself. As a teenager, he had been in a serious car accident and it was unlikely that he would live through it, but he did. He lived with a crushed larynx, a feeding tube for many months, and rehab to try to live a semi-normal life. As time went on, more and more physical and emotional problems developed. In his 20’s he was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, as well as various mental illnesses. He fell through the cracks in our medical system and was unable to collect disability due to a glich, he was too old to be on his Mom’s insurance even though she was his caregiver, and because of his health and mental issues he had a hard time keeping a job even though he was a skilled musician, techno-whiz, and farm laborer. He even went to Mexico to get medical treatment that he was denied in the US, but you can only do that for so long before you run out of time and money and have to go home. When he was in Mexico his quality of life changed drastically and it was the most “normal” he had been in at least 10 years. When he had to come back home, his life spiraled downward again, and his mental illness became worse. He started to hallucinate and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He lived in his mother’s basement, and soon stayed there because his arthritis wouldn’t allow him to walk up the stairs very often. He had a rare weekend of clarity. He took his Mom out to eat. He called some family members to visit. He went to his favorite fishing spot to spend some time…but he never came home. My Aunt found him that night in his van with a blood stained note in his hand that only said, “The Lord Jesus Christ is my shield, my savior, my heart and my soul…”. I have never had to endure anything like I have in his suffering and in his death. He was my best friend, and more like my brother than my cousin. However, in one of my most intense moments of grieving the Holy Spirit spoke to me. The Holy Spirit brought to my rememberence a conversation I had previously had with my husband about what we wanted our decision to be if one of us were to ever be put on life support. The Holy Spirit showed me that my cousin had been on life support for years…and he finally made the decision to pull the plug, just had I had told my husband I wanted to happen to me if I ever found myself in that place. He had suffered for years. His quality of life wasn’t just “bad”. It was worse than that. His physical body and his mental health deteriorated so rapidly and he was tired of the hallucinations and the incoherent conversations. He was tired of not being able to afford medicine that could improve his quality of life. He was tired. He was worn out and he pulled the plug. This revelation didn’t make my personal pain any better, but it did help me to quickly forgive him for giving up and leaving me. His death has opened many doors for me…I now have a radio show where I deal with real-life stuff, and that came about after the opportunity to go on air and talk about grief. I have made bonds with people in my small community who have found themselves in the pain of a loved one making this choice and it has helped me to function again, despite my grief. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for shedding a light on the dark presumptions and stigma that surround suicide and those of us left behind. Too many of us have a story, but all of our stories need to be told because they make a difference.

  126. Echo Kay says

    Thankyou for sharing your story. I had a cousin commit suicide 6 years ago this past January. The heartache to this day is unimaginable. Thoguh I never blamed him nor was I mad at him for doing it. Just sad that we were unable to help him through his struggles. We do special things to remember him and include him in family events. During family get togethers he would bring certain foods that only he would think of making so now we make those dishes for him.

  127. Gloria Corder says

    I want to that you for your post and let you know how much it touched me.

    This past December a young lady who was my 13 year old grandson’s best friend committed suicide. Her suicide devastated my grandson and I was surprised that I also was devastated by it. It almost haunts me. This young lady was only 13 years old with so much life left to live. The very thought that she felt that her life was so painful that suicide was her only option at the time cripples me with a sadness like I have never known before. This beautiful young lady was at the top of her class with grades, had many friends and a family who loved her immensely. But when Heather (not her real name) committed suicide, she left behind a note explaining why she chose to do it. Her reason? She was being bullied by two girls and one boy at her school. And as we all know, the days of bullying has taken a drastic turn with social media making the bullying unrelentless when those that are doing the bullying get it in their minds to do so.

    I have had a very hard time trying to cope with young Heather’s suicide. Especially at the age of 13 years old. I often find myself in tears when I think of Heather and I scream out loudly that there was so much for her to experience and enjoy if she could have just gotten past the bullying. She could have graduated high school and experience the joys of attending college. She could have met her sweetheart/soulmate and married. She could have had children of her own who would have filled her heart with a love that she may have never known before. There was so much left for Heather to live for. But either Heather didn’t see it or couldn’t see it at the time that she made that fateful decision to take her own life. And the amount of pain that my sweet Heather must have been in at that time where that decision was made makes my heart ache with a pain and sadness that may never go away. I keep thinking that maybe, like you, I could have hugged all that pain away for Heather. In reality I know that this wasn’t possible but I still can’t help from thinking it.

    So I want to thank you for sharing your story about Jay.

  128. Adrian Bonenberger says

    What a terrific post, glad I found it on Facebook through a friend. I hope you don’t get too much flak from people who want to lecture you about how suicide is an irredeemable evil – your uncle’s story is a great example of how a person can struggle, and survive, up to the point where the pain has completely exhausted one’s capacity to enjoy life – short-term, long-term. And our society, which is dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, doesn’t have a good non-medical answer for pain, beyond “endure.” I wrote a post on my blog about suicide among veterans – you may find it interesting: https://wrathbearingtree.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/suicide-and-the-military/

  129. says

    Sad story beautifully written. Thanks for sharing the perspective you gleaned on suicide death, a death most awful. I am a mom who lost her son to suicide. I blog about life after suicide so those of you who read this comment are welcome to explore the archives of my blog, sharing the grief journey of life after loss. You may find me at: hopeispossible.wordpress.com. Thanks again for being a beacon, sending rays of light into the unknown darkness that surrounds suicide and being a comfort for those left behind to grieve.

  130. Sandy says

    I just lost my son to suicide May 12,2014. It has been overwhelming to say the least. I loved this post helped me to understand the why a little better, but does not take my hurt away! He was troubled, but I never imagined it would come to suicide!! You have a fairly good day and then you are at the bottom of the barrel.
    I know he is at peace, no more troubles, no more tears………………..but we are the ones with the tears and heartbreak. I love this post and have shared it with many people!!

    Thank you

  131. Michelle's says

    I pray this message reaches at least one broken heart. Allowing room for understanding and forgiveness of the departed as well as themselves. I’ve lost a few wonderful people to suicide and floundered about with a mixed bag of emotions. It was when my closest aunt committed suicide that god helped me to not only understand but to have compassion. Though there was much confusion, anger and pain many of us felt upon her departure it was she that suffered for so long. Just as you, I clearly don’t support or endorse suicide, however I am grateful she is at peace. Just as I am grateful that my father, whom suffered with leukemia, is now at peace. I’ve had this conversation a few times and have never been met with any agreement. However I have never made such a clear analogy as you have regarding the 9/11 incident. In reading this post I was nodding and “uh-huhing” the whole way. When you used that description it stopped me in my tracks. It yanked tears from my eyes. You summed up what I have been wanting to say for so long. I have a friend who lost her husband several years ago to suicide and it the pain seems as fresh and ever present as it did the morning after. I thank you for this post as I plan to share it and pray that it offers some glimmer of solance. Thank you for having the strength and courage to broach this sensitive subject. It needs to be talked about. It’s the greatest way to honor those that we love and lost.

  132. Katherine Klein-Wilber says

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I lost my best friend to suicide and some of our mutual friends have never let go of the anger, I hope yr story helps them.

  133. Audrey Wirtz says

    Your story meant so much to me and I thank you for sharing it. We lost our daughter, Tracy, to suicide in November of 2012. Your story reaffirms my belief that she did not want to die, but found suicide as her only means of escaping the mental pain she was in. People need to know that suicide is not a selfish act – it is a way out of pain that a person can no longer endure and the person taking their own life probably feels they are doing their loved ones a favor because they don’t want to be a burden any longer.

  134. Bruce Heyborne says

    Your article regarding suicide was very good. I just finished and 8 week class for the survivors of loved ones who have taken their lives. The University of Utah College of Nursing sponsors it under the name Caring Connections. They do it in a group setting with a therapist in the room. It was a great way to help people deal with their loss and I would recommend it to anyone.

  135. says

    I love your perspective on this very sensitive topic. Thank You!
    I am a long time sufferer of mental illness and can completely relate with everything you have written.

    I was lucky enough to have a dear friend, a sister in law actually, that was my partner in the evil darkness that would take us over. We were there for each other always and were each other’s ‘last phone call.’ We had that pact.

    Six weeks ago, for the first time in more than a decade…I did not get that phone call…my phone call…we promised!
    My dear friend lost her battle with this ‘thing’ that eats our souls and she took her life.
    She fought long and hard, but she needed to leave. She did not choose to leave, she was stolen. Just the same as someone is stolen from cancer. She was taken by her illness and that is the truth.

    I’m obviously struggling more than words can describe at the moment, while trying to keep it together for my husband. This was his sister and they were the best of friends. The guilt for all of us has been horrendous! But I can’t get over feeling extra guilty because she didn’t call this time. She didn’t even give me the chance to help her!
    But… that part WAS her choice and I am learning to accept it.
    The confusion for me is the hardest…She was THE strong one! I can’t wrap my head around it in that matter. I honestly always believed, if and when one of us just needed to go, out of pure desperation for peace,…it would be me.

    The day she left us, I realized that the mental health act needs to change.
    And I know how we can do it!
    Youth suicide rates have gone up exponentially in my 31 years on this planet.
    There is no need for us to lose anymore kids!

    Now my friend, was a grown woman – a mother actually – but both our mental illness began in our youth. We were both misdiagnosed and improperly medicated for years. And I TRULY believe this is because stigma has created a “hush-hush” mentality of mental health care and once you’re 18 you’re essentially on your own with your doctor. A doctor who only knows what you tell them. And many of us with mental illness want our doctors to believe that they are doing a great job in treating us, even if we are still dying inside. There IS a way to remedy this!

    So I have started a cause (a charity in the works):

    Project amy:

    Association for the
    Mental health of

    Conquering ‘The Darkness’ from the Start!

    For more information on our cause and soon to be proposed act, please see the following links.

    Thank you again for your inspirational and de-stigmatizing thoughts. You are truly a beautiful soul and it shows in your words.

    A.P. – ON, Canada

    on FB https://www.facebook.com/Project.amy79

  136. Amber Guerrero says

    Thank you for your kind, thoughtful, sincere post. I am sorry for the loss of your Uncle. He was a survivor. He tried very hard to survive. I, too, am a survivor of suicide loss. It’s been almost 12 years for me. My Mom took her life October 26, 2002. She was the ultimate survivor. She lived through a 15 year marriage that consisted of daily abuse. She had so many health problems in which she lived in pain constantly. She also had Bipolar Disorder that was debilitating at times.

    What I learned is that when the pain of living outweighs the fear of dying and people hurt as much as my Mom and your Uncle (physically and emotionally), they often take their lives.

    I have long known that Jesus was with my Mom when she died. I like the idea that she was “welcomed” into Heaven.

    Thank you and God Bless.

  137. Sandy says

    Thanks so much for sharing. Having lost two love one’s to suicide. It is something that only someone else that has been thru it can even begin to understand. My first love one was a nephew, which I continuely have been struggling with since he past away almost 18 years ago. My second was a cousin just 6 months ago, who was my age and classmate in school. Your words have helped to put in perspective their struggle with life. Thanks again.

  138. Kay Bryant says

    This has helped me greatly. I shared it on Facebook for my family. My nephew killed himself a month ago, and even though we knew he was in a lot of physical pain for years, we did not expect he would kill himself. He even posted on Facebook that he might take too much morphine and was sorry if he died. No one expected he would actually do it. Our pain is still too real, but I know he is not in pain anymore.

  139. jason says

    thank you for sharing this. thank you for being open, candid and listening to the revelation form the Father. many people who have not gone through this understand the vacancy left and the inability for near anything to fill it.

    I lost my brother last october to a methadone overdose. we are not certain if it was intentional or not. but what i do know is he would call me weekly telling me he was going to die, that the pain was too much, that should just end it, that he couldnt take the murder of his first wife, the eventual loss of his first child due to being overwhelmed, the death of his second wife and then the eventual loss of his second child, the death of his father and then our mother, the death of his friend in his arms of an overdose and i could go on and on. through all this he wanted to so bad to know Jesus forgave him for his mistakes and would find the strength to walk dignified for periods, overcoming what he called his demons.

    he laughed, sang, played guitar, jokes, made his own sayings and slogan, loved deeply and gave his last dollar to help many, gave his time to fix broken things and move people for free. everyone loved him, but at times no one knew how to fix him. how to get him better.

    and then it was over and he was gone. and i find myself wondering, did i not call or visit enough, did i not answer too many of his calls when i was at work or busy or tired? i resolved to let God be God and me be a forgiven son. I choose to forgive, myself, him, and believe God is greater at this feat than i am.

  140. Jarod says

    I’m glad that you wrote this. I’ve been in EMS for 12 years and have seen many suicides. None of which I understood. I realized that had medical issues or “demons” they were dealing with but never thought about it the way you have explained it. The 9/11 analogy was a great example. Thank you for writing this. I hope that I never work another suicide but if I have to hopefully I can use what I’ve learned from this to help the family cope.

  141. Debbie says

    Thank you so much for this incredible post. My grandfather was 97 years old when he passed away. He had been so active and full of life. His body broke down, and he was put in a retirement home, They treated him well, but he was not “home” and had nothing to do. He was miserable there. No farm to tend to. No kids to bounce on his knee and tell stories to. After a while he deliberately stopped eating and died 8 days later. My mother refers to this as committing suicide. I believe he was tired, worn out, and just wanted to go to sleep in the arms of Jesus. I have long thought of the label of ‘selfishness’ as being so wrong. We have no idea about the true struggles of other people and what it’s like to no longer be able to hold up under their burdens. Many times it’s a horrible loss, especially in the case of a young person, but it’s not always a selfish act. Only our Father in Heaven knows the real heart of each of us.

  142. Sean says

    WOW Shawna! Thanks for sharing your insights. My half brother lost his struggle last year and took his own life. Nobody even knew of his struggle. Thanks again!

  143. Steph H. says

    I lost my mom who struggled with depression on June 2, 2014. Less than 3 weeks ago. She had attempted suicide numerous times and was always so happy that she lived to see another day when she awoke in the hospital. She hid behind her beautiful, perfect smile. The 9/11 analogy really made sense to me. I absolutely know that she is finally at peace after 62 years. I also know she is in the best possible place she can be and I will see her again in Heaven. Thank you for writing this at this crucial time in my grief. Thanks to my best friend for sharing this with me. God bless.

  144. Tiffanyt says

    Thank you for sharing! I lost my younger brother 9 years ago this year. He was 21. He shot himself in my parent’s house while me and my parent were there. My mom unlocked the bedroom door right before he pulled the trigger, but it was too late. I can’t imagine what that was like for her because I know what it was like for me. It was the worst experience of my life. We were only 14 months apart, and we grew up very close. My parents worked all the time, so it was pretty much just me and him. In the last year of his life, he was in downward spiral. We had not been speaking when he died, and I can’t forgive myself for that. I was so hurt and mad for the longest time. Over the years, I have started to make some sort of peace with it. I can’t say that there are not times I don’t feel mad at him for not being here to see my kids (especially my son who reminds me so much of him) or for not going through this crazy life with me, but I know that he is at peace. Your bishop’s word are comforting. It’s such a hard subject for most people to grasp unless they have been affected by it, and you said if beautifully. Thank you!

  145. Ron says


    6 days, 22 hours and a few minutes, ago I lost a friend to suicide.
    I struggled with him, for him it find himself. For him to find peace here. To try to show him how much he was loved. Much like your uncle though, he was fighting an internal battle, one which very few of his friends ever knew. One with emotional scars, physical scars, and addiction scars. I knew Matthew since we were 13 (11 years). It left me numb to say the least, this in the wake of losing another friend just hours before to HIV/AIDS complications.

    I’ve dealt with a lot of death from a very early age, and it is actually the loss of my parents that drove me to ministry. The death from natural causes, accident, murder or even military seems so easy to rationalize in comparison to suicide (please don’t misunderstand, they are just as significant, though they are easier to justify because we can put the blame on an outside source from the loved one, something we don’t get with a suicide). As a future member of the clergy I can easily say from my own experience that dealing with the loss of a loved one by suicide is one of the hardest aspects to approach. They don’t really train you on how to deal with loved ones coping with loss from suicide (or at-least I haven’t formally learned it yet.) Thanks to you Shawna I have a whole new insight on how to approach it.

    From the bottom of my heart I want to extend my gratitude to you for showing courage and discussing a taboo topic in our culture. I am so very sorry that you have had to come to this knowledge, but I am also truly grateful that you have, and you can share it. You, and the Bishop have illuminated a tunnel that was once dark, offering a ray of hope to those of us left behind.

    • Debbie says

      I have a feeling God may have just shown you an area of ministering where you could do great work for Him. God bless you.

  146. Dianne says

    Thank you so much for this post. In April my son’s father shot himself and I believe that the pain got too much for him to handle and he just wanted it to stop. My son however is so full of anger that he will not even discuss his father’s death. I weep for him and pray the day will come when he can forgive both his father and himself. I will hold onto your words and when the day comes where I find an open window with my son, I will pass your words on to him.

  147. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I have a daughter that fears nothing and is having a battle with drugs as well as some issues with home situations. Her pain is overwhelming and sometimes I get the feeling that suicide will be her escape from these issues that hurt her beyond words. I have many times tried talking to her and I have done whatever I could to try to help her overcome but with no relief to her. She is beautiful and extremely smart with the world at her fingertips to become whatever she so desires, but she is burdened with constant struggle to get past things that keep haunting her and causing her pain. I see this hurt every time I look at her beautiful face, and feel so helpless. I would in a minute fight these battles for her if I could, but I cant. I have turned this situation over to God because he can! And I know he has a plan in action right now for her so relief for her pain is on its way. He has been the answer all along! I just wanted to tell you that this is a wonderful story that you have shared, and it has touched my heart in many ways! Thank you! I have had encounters with suicide within my close family over the years and it has been hard to accept and understand. This had opened and closed doors to my acceptance and understanding of this terrible tragedy, and I will always have a different perception
    of suicide from now on. God bless you!

  148. Cheryl says

    Thank you so much for this insightful blog. My sister has been grieving for many years over her husband’s suicide. We talk about him daily. She blames herself even though she knows she could do nothing. It made it worse because her oldest son blamed her also. I will send this to her. Maybe it will help. I hope it does. She has not been able to move on with her life.
    Thank you and God bless

  149. Sherri Hardeman says

    I lost my son to suicide Oct 2012. I have struggled with why. I loved him and he had a little of 12 and a 6 month baby girl he left behind. I believe was a survivor and really tried. It got to be too much. He worried all the time. Thank you for words of support and putting things in perspective. I know we will meet again in heaven one day.

  150. Mary Catherine says

    Thanks Jen W. for sending this to me. Today marks 8 weeks since my sister killed herself. This weeks crisis for me was to finally confront the anger and rage towards her for “deciding my future” and “killing me too, even though I wanted to live”. We were two puzzle pieces, we fit well together, but when taken apart, we did not function. Now that the piece of my puzzle is gone, I don’t know if or how I will ever function again. I know that she suffered terribly, and with the worst kind of hurt, the hurt inside, the broken soul. Helping her through her darker days was my job, but things kept happening to her, and her days got darker, until ultimately, for want of knowing what to do next, she chose to jump from the burning building. She had worked at the WTC during the bombing of 93, and by that experience was put on the path where ending your life became just as good an option as Prozac. 9/11 broke her completely as she watched many friends and colleagues die in a matter of seconds. They were on the 105th floor…there were no survivors. One of the people that jumped was her best friend. Only small pieces were found of the man who had carried her down 100 stories when she was overcome by smoke.. I should be amazed that we kept her going for 12 and 1/2 years after that. It took a lot of work, but she finally gave up from the fear, anxiety, grief, survivor guilt, depression, and PTSD, all of which were her constant demons. After reading your article, a voice in my head said ” you knew she couldn’t make it much longer, she was running out of steam”. I expect to carry the wound of my loss forever. She was my only sister. I’ve never not had a sister. I loved having a sister. My brothers loved their roles in her life as friends and protectors. Now we’re all kind of lost. Thank you for your article, and for the compassionate perspective. Please keep my sweet Kathy in prayer.

  151. Andrea Ruppert says

    Great article! I lost my dad to suicide in March 2012!. I like you am not a suicide promoter but, I know my dad was struggling and had no selfish intent. Thank you for helping people see this in a different light.

  152. says

    If I may…”moving on” with one’s life is an individual thing. Moving on may fit break ups, divorce, etc, but death by suicide? I think moving on in this instance may be impossible. For me, it is finding a new normal. It is God rebuilding me brick by brick after being blown to smithereens after losing my son to suicide. Our grief is deep and never ending, but we get perspective over time, lots and lots of time. Having a good listener who can hear our story over and over if need be, is helpful too. One cannot rush the healing. Mine is life long I say now, but I can look back and see how God has led. You can too. Blessings

  153. Erin says

    Thank you for this. This article was forwarded to me. My aunt committed suicide two months ago. You wrote everything I had felt. She tried her very best in this world. I know she gave it everything she had, but it was too much. She struggled with issues beyond our understanding, and they were very real to her. I know she is at peace now. I appreciate the love and salvation you share. This was my first experience with this blog, and I am so thankful I have found it.

    Thank you for your share of love and grace. They are all in a state of grace now, and this story helps restore memories of that.

  154. Melanie says

    This was beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing your personal insights and experiences on such a sensitive subject.

  155. Peggy says

    I found my 46 year daughter a few weeks ago a few days before my 95 year old Mother’s funeral. Your article has given me some comfort and I thank you for it as we struggle for peace. We love her and her son serving a mission for the lds church for only 7 months.. There are so many victims and so many who do not remember her wonderful qualities which were many. Thanks again for the article.

  156. Ryan says

    This really hit home in more than one way. Earlier this year I turned 29 and I took a long hard look back at my life over my short time here. I’ve lost a lot of loved ones in my short time… By a lot I’m not talking like 10-15 friends, and family, no… I’m talking well over 60 people that I’ve been close to since the age of 5. I’ve dealt with the gambit of variety when it comes to death weather it be of natural causes, drug and alcohol overdoses, suicide, and even things that could be considered accidental death. Now in no way do I condone taking your own life but I’ve come to understand the struggle to survive given that I’m now 1 year sober from a heroin addiction that was caused by doctors keeping me on strong opiate pain meds for years, suddenly cutting me off causing severe and very painful withdrawal. My addiction had brought me to a point where I found myself wishing for an overdose to take me away from it all fearing no other alternative. It was the love and support of my family that delivered me from my darkest hour and guided me back to a place where I found the pieces of myself left behind so many years ago. Was it the pain of loosing so many people I’ve cared about and loved which brought me to that dark place or helped keep me there for so long, or was it the lessons I’ve learned from those who’ve suffered and passed before me that helped deliver me from the darkness to share my story and help others. The one thing that became clear to me is that no matter how bad the pain is, life goes on for the living and we can’t allow ourselves to die with them. The truth is that if we honor those who have passed regardless of how, their soul lives on through our memories and their life was not in vain. This blog truly did solidify my views and beliefs and I hope it brings peace to those still looking for answers or a way to cope with the loss of a loved one.

  157. Jae says

    Thank you so much for sharing you experience! Over the years I have come to understand that suicide is not always a situation where the person is held accountable. Mental disorders and extreme desperation caused by physical pain that end in someone taking their life are often viewed as someone ‘giving up’ or being selfish. I truly believe this is not true. In my heart after much soul searching I have come to the conclusion that just like a terminal illness, mental illness can become terminal. Because the person took their own life does not make it any less honorable if this was the ‘release from pain and sorrow’ they came upon in a moment of desperation after struggling for so long. And the Lord knowing all welcomes them home

  158. Anne says

    I have long know that those who take their own lives do not wish to die completely, but only want the pain and suffering to die. It could be mental or physical suffering. To continue to live with either or both is destructive. My brother took this way out 28 years ago. I have both physical and MH issues. I have promised my son I will not end my life. I must admit at times keeping that promise is so very hard. Thank you for your insight!

  159. Denise G. says

    Thank you for posting this. As a loving parent whose son completed suicide I totally understand why our son felt the way he did especially after going through his computer after he died. All the emails, the heartbreaks, the angsts, the diet pills, the confusion…everything silently put away, day after day, in his heart and mind. Ordering or taking “things” to try just to temporarily extinguish bad feelings and guilt did not work and must have exhausted him. He was a good kid too. We did not see it! He hid it all so well!
    We will mourn forever, but yes, it must be talked about. I talk to young people now mostly high school seniors about not being perfect, about “what fills all of our cups” and what filled our son’s cup, how we can be miracles to each other and to remind them it takes courage to ask for help.
    I am just a mom who does not want another parent to go through what we go through. It is hell. We love our son, but he made a big mistake. He should be here enjoying life and he did not give us a chance to help him. Please Choose Life! The aftermath and chain reaction after a suicide for everyone is just awful.

  160. says

    Wow, very touching. I cried through the whole thing. I am sorry for your loss. I can honestly say that not only have I felt the way Jay felt but so has my daughter. SHe has attempted to take her life twice now and she turns 18 next month. Depression is a major part of our lives. Thanks for sharing this. The more we talk about mental illness the more people will understand. Much love to you <3

  161. A.M.B. says

    Wow! Thank you for writing about the unwritable! We lost my father-in-law to suicide a year and a half ago and the pain is still there, everyday. We needed this. God Bless You! Not all people that commit suicide are depressed or on medications or over-coming addictions. We truly thought we had the perfect life until that unimaginable day. It can happen to anyone!

  162. Renee says

    Thank you so much for this very personal and insightful post. I have just recently experienced the death of someone close to me from suicide. Your words were very comforting.

  163. Ann says

    My sister took her own life in 2010. I knew in my heart, that our Lord was with her when she passed. She fought so hard and I know she was tired. Your story is very touching. I hope that your family and Jay’s sons can take comfort in knowing he fought hard. May God bless you all. Thank you for sharing.


  164. Andrew Jungers says

    I must say thank you for these beautiful words. As a man who has experienced many sorrows not much brings tears to my eyes… But this did. Three of my friends friends, a cousin, a distant uncle, and a very close uncle have committed suicide in my life, My uncle’s suicide has been especially difficult to handle. Though nothing could ever take away all the pain, your words have brought some comfort to me and my family.
    Andrew James Jungers

  165. Nicole says

    What a beautiful piece! As a junior high teacher, I have experienced the (thankfully, attempted suicides of several students. Your words have changed my view on these incidents. I can now see their struggle from a whole new perspective and it will help be to reach out. God bless you!

  166. Shannon says

    Wow. My sister committed suicide at the age of 45 after years of depression. It has been devastating for all of her family. This article describes her life…she had reasons to be depressed. I will now look at her suicide differently. She surely did work at survival for 45 years.

  167. Sheila Hughes says

    I have a dear cousin who is blind and slightly brain damaged because of a failed suicide attempt 24 years ago. He said the “voices” told him to do it. It was then discovered that he suffered from mental illness. We always knew that he had “problems”, but no one realized that he would try suicide.

    It is sad and hard to understand why someone would want to give up on life, but when someone is in such severe mental anguish, they may feel that that is the only way to stop the pain. Many families have been touched by this tragedy. Thanks for sharing your story.

  168. Suzzanne says

    My little cousin whom we lived together and shared rooms committed suicide back in 1985. I know this was many years ago and I know several others who have over the years also committed suicide sadly. I always thought it was never their intention to actually die but a call for help and help to relieve the pain temporary. Sadly more often than not it is a permeate decision.

    Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts I to am going to share this. <3

  169. Cindy says

    I read your article with a lot of understanding and acknowledge agreement. You said what I have been thinking but have been unable to put into words. Since my brother died in 2007 by suicide, I have often thought of his struggles before he died. As I have also said since, He wasn’t the same person, something had changed and I wished I had seen it before he died. He was on medication and stopped, which is not recommended, because he didn’t like the way they made him feel.

    I want to go on to say that if a person is struggling to keep reaching out and get help. If you are seeing someone or taking something for your pain and it doesn’t seem to help, look for another doctor or someone but remember that you are worth being alive and you are not alone.

    Thank you for posting this article!

  170. Cindy says

    I maybe doing a community walk and was wondering if I could read this article at the walk. The walk is in Minnesota for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness walk to be held in September.

    Thank you!

  171. Heather says

    This is a poem I wrote shortly after my son died, please feel free to share it with anyone you think it might help. It doesn’t matter why someone feels so bad, it matters that we try to make them feel better.
    My Friend
    Dedicated to T. R. Smith
    His eyes, full of love, shone with happiness,
    mischievousness and wonder
    His crooked smile exuded love and happiness
    His hands were small dimpled and soft ~
    They became strong, creative and helping
    He grew from a small boy full of love and questions
    Into a young man full of hope and promise ~
    with dreams of love and the future.
    Slowly it changed ~
    His eyes didn’t smile as often ~
    tears were shed instead of love shining through
    His smile, still crooked ~
    lacked the happiness it once held
    His heart still full of love for others,
    Still wanting to help ~
    Was overwhelmed by despair and helplessness
    His hands once so small and soft ~
    Violently ended his pain and sorrow
    as he pulled the trigger
    He is ~
    My Son, My Friend…

  172. says

    My brother commited suicide in 94, I knew something was wrong and I knew I had to talk to my brother and I had an experience just like your Bishop related, the spirit gently whispered my brothers name, squeezed my hand and told me that ‘He is okay.” Twice I had that happen as I started crying and let this unseen friend know that,”no, he’s not okay.” I was blessed to see my brother in dreams during that dark year of my life. Only when I started to heal did my dreams of my brother stop. In fact the last time I seen him he was smiling, happy, excited and learning. There was no doubt in my mind he was welcomed home. Thank you for sharing that story so many of us who have been “left behind” have a tough road to travel

  173. Gena says

    Thank you so much for sharing, I lost my best friend of over 30 years last Dec, she too struggles with pain issues from an accident and chose to end her suffering…I think of her every day and miss her terriblely.

  174. Keisha says

    I have always refrained from calling people weak, cowards, etc when they commit suicide. I actually feel bad that a point was reached where they became so low and hopeless that was their only way out. I have been entertained the idea several times. I would never want a loved one to abandon me by suicide, and I don’t want to leave my children that way either. However, normally when someone does this, they are in so much pain, and feel its their only escape, their only chance at freedom and peace. Thank you for sharing, and God Bless your uncle.

  175. says

    Having lost the love of my life, my husband to suicide, even after almost 20 yrs, I felt anger for him leaving me alone. My family & his abandoned me! Almost 2 yrs ago, I choose suicide. Thankfully with my bff & big sister I survived. It showed me how Rick could easily snap before he thought logically. Yes we do it to escape pain & heartache. Rick was in pain from working 12 hour shifts with injuries he suffered yrs ago from awful motorcycle wreck. Thank you for your blog and my friend, Tammy sharing it with me. It gave me more an indepth look at suicide. Hopefully it will ease my heartache as well as others.

  176. Cindy says

    There are many American foundation for suicide prevention out of the darkness community walks in Minnesota. The one I’m referring to is not listed on their website yet. It is in the planning stages and it would be in Askv, Minnesota.

  177. Ruth says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and this perspective. This is something I have felt but struggled to put into words or even such coherent thoughts.

  178. Belinda says

    This article is great. When a friend of my son posted this on Facebook I thought why would she do that. She knew that my son’s best friend that he had since he was four on took his life last year and just two weeks ago my daughter-in-laws mother took her own life. I thought really Jana can’t you be a little bit more sensitive, However I clicked on the article and found a lot of comfort in the written words on the blog and of the comments shared by everyone. I still don’t understand why some can cope more than others but I do understand how one can feel they need an escape. I have always struggled with people saying suicide is not forgiven because if a person is in that much pain and turmoil then I cannot belief that God would turn their back on them. I pray that anyone thinking about suicide will able overcome their pain but the words about the 911 burning building really puts into perspective if a person is in enough pain it is understandable to want to escape. Love and prayers for all that have been left behind and prayers to anyone who might be dealing with painful events in their life,

  179. says

    I was the last person to talk to my friend before he died. And I was the person that found him the next day. In my friends case, I don’t believe that he left here because here was bad I believe he left because he wanted to be with his wife and continue to support her in the afterlife. It wasn’t an ending it was a moving forward. I do not condemn his choice I also do not condone it and others. With this experience I understand it differently now. But it is still an extremely deep subject.

  180. Laurie S says

    This helped me so much. I lost my husband to suicide in February 2013. He was diagnosed bipolar before we got married but he was doing so good. Was active in church, worked hard everyday, he had the biggest heart you could imagine but when the manic side took over, it wasn’t him at all and most often he couldn’t even recall the angry outbursts and destruction in his path when he’d get like that. I stuck by him and tried so hard to help him. I feel like I failed him. He and I had 3 miscarriages in 15 months and that hurt him so much. My last miscarriage was exactly 2 months before his passing. We use to joke about who’d get to heaven first and name our babies. But I’m sure my mama named them as soon as heaven received them. I lost my mom, dad (both to cancer), my husband and 3 miscarriages all in 2-1/2 yrs. My husband’s passing all but killed me. He was my rock through so much, how was I suppose to go on alone………… :'(

  181. Amy says

    Thank you for this article! I lost my sister, my soul mate, my other half in 9/08. It has been a struggle for her kids and I. I didn’t know she was in that much pain. Her death totally destroyed me. But with God’s grace I have been able to live and be there for her kids and now grandkids. I miss her terribly.

  182. Wendy says

    Thank you so much for posting this. By the end of it, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I needed this today. 13 months ago, I lost a close friend to suicide. It was violent and very unexpected. He was a guy that brought everyone up if they were down, he was always full of smiles and laughter and definitely the life of the party. He had three beautiful children that were his life. He sacrificed so much for them and was such a great father. He would let his daughters paint his toenails and do his hair, then play ball with his son outside. When his kids asked one night if they could switch bedrooms with him, he gladly said sure! And moved the beds that night. He was so very loving and sweet and everything that is good. My world was turned upside down the day I received the phone call telling me he was gone. I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. The first thing I thought was no, he wouldn’t do that to his kids. But he did. Because he was struggling inside with something so evil that none of us could see or understand. He was depressed and had PTSD. He was also a Law Enforcement Officer. A few nights before he died, he had contacted me wanting to talk, but it was late and I had to work the next day, so I told him we would later. I never got the chance. I struggled with so much guilt, anger towards God, and nightmares for months after. The dreams were violent at first, then turned more calm where I would just be having a conversation with him. To this day, I still have dreams about him and I’m always trying to cling to him the best I can. I would give anything to have him back. I have yet to be able to take off the bracelet he once gave me. It would feel too much like I was putting him away. Anyways, I loved this post and it brought me peace. I know that God welcomed him home that night and I know Heaven got a little brighter when he walked through those gates. Thank you again, and God bless.

  183. julie says

    thank you for this. i too lost my dad i was 19 i am now 50. when my dad took his life he too had suffered for many years with alcoholism and depression. at first i was angry and i eventually went through every emotion possible. it was very hard to understand at that age and i wish there would have been something like this to help me understand.understanding and forgiveness came eventually for me but it took some time. i love my dad and i live with a lot of great memories. again thank you for your post.

  184. Terri says

    Shawna, Beautiful way to Put it. I wish Jay’s Bishop was around 20 some years ago. I lost a foster brother to suicide when I was only 16 years old. I was the last to speak to him and like you he told me everything was going to be ok. Two days later I received the call from his father that he was gone. I struggled with the anger, and hurt for years. When I finally came to realize, he too was taking his exit. I had a pastor once tell me my brother was in hell because he took his own life, but I choose to believe that the Lord opened his arms and welcomed him in just as he would have if it was his determined time by the Lord. Those that have never lived this pain and hurt will never truley understand and all they have to say to me are words. I love the Bishops way of stating this and your way of making this a topic to discuss. I am sorry for your loss, but taking the lesson for what it is, A Lesson is the best way to honor those that have been taken too soon.

  185. Regina says

    I was raised to think that suicide was the unforgivable sin. There was no way to ask for forgiveness because the soul had left the body without being forgiven. However, as I got older I began to understand that only God knows the state of a man’s soul and he makes that determination not man. I had a very good friend commit suicide. I was devastated!!! Selfish, How dare she leave us with all the mess to clean up for her. Guilt, what could I have done to prevent this, and hopeless because I thought she surely was lost forever. Then I had this revelation that tot his day I am certain was from the holy spirit. It is man’s first instinct for self preservation and for my friend to be able to extinguish her most ingrained instinct to protect her own life she was not in a state of mind that she could be held accountable for her actions. Since then I have a completely different outlook on the spiritual consequences of suicide.

  186. Stephanie says

    Thank you so much for this post! I lost my father to suicide about 11 years ago. I was 26 years old and at that age it was still incredibly difficult to deal with. It still is to this day! Your truths in this post really touched my heart! Thank you!

  187. Susie says

    I had a friend who took her own life. I always felt as if she was must have been in the lowest part of her life to make that final decision. She had spoken about suicide many times for over 15 years. One day she succeeded and all were devastated. Though we were left to wonder why, I do know it was not about us, it was about her unwillingness to live any longer with her mental pain.

  188. Zach says

    I believe the methadone is what took your brothers life, I have had serveral friends commit suicide after being on this drug. In college I did a report on this drug. It’s worse than herion but our government is the one handing this stuff out in clinics. Herion people can withdrawal from in 7 days to kick the habit and the withdrawals of methadone can last up to 30 days, the person can’t normally deal with comin off this drug and many comment suicide. I think it’s time the drs wake up an stop giving this drug out an a law suit needs to be filed!

  189. Sabrina says

    Thank you for this beautiful story.
    I attempted suicide at the age of 13 but was unsuccessful. Fast forward 33 years and I am now the mother of 5 amazing children. The feelings I had then have left me and even tho I struggle with life at times, I am thankful. I tell my children about my feeling it was the only solution for how I was feeling but that feelings can change. I’m under a doctors care and look at each day as an amazing miracle. This is a new feeling as well after many years of self medicating with alcohol. I now appreciate and respect my feelings and talk closly to others about option and safe choices. I look back and think of 33 full years that I may not have had If I had my way. Life is short, amazing and beautiful. Please, ask for help.

  190. Latasha says

    I really enjoyed this article & this point of perspective & think it was beautifully put. My 16 year old brother took his own life 02/24/14, such a tough road of adjusting & coping. Many questions flood my mind daily about the situation & I think of how much of a smart kid he was. Wonderful read & God Bless everyone who has also lost someone to this <3

  191. Christie says

    Thank you. My aunt committed suicide in 1990. I told my mom at 9 years old that I wanted to kill myself, but, luckily, I never followed through. Again, luckily, I have been able to overcome my issues to become a survivor- not victim – of childhood sexual abuse. This article truly touched me, especially what the Bishop said. In a sense,.suicide is a form of survival… Thank you…

  192. B Chaumont says

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of Jay’s life to live ..It brought tears .. all what your Jay went threw…. I do not know of any one in my family that had taken their life. But, I do know of some that has had love ones in doing so ….There love ones are having problems to cope with… I am going to share. This has put in my heart another way of understanding. Thank you for doing so. To Jay’s sons, Your Dad was a strong and brave man.. he went threw alot keep in mind everything that is written in this beautiful story of him …. that he lived and threw this he is still living to help others cope. May Threw God He will Bless each of you . My thoughts and prayers to all.

  193. Gina says

    Thank you for this post. As you can see by the multitude of replies, you have gathered, it is a subject which connects many in a way that no other topic does. Bravo to you for thinking of your uncle and what he endured, rather than only your own pain.

    We know not what burdens others carry within, nor what their journeys here are for, so their decisions are not for us to judge except to decide how we wish to be in relation to them.

    You have showed that we can be “unconditional love” in the face of great loss, demonstrating that the “Christ-consciousness” is indeed attainable by mortal man.

    Much love to you for sharing that with all us who also have walked and will walk this human path that is less travrled. xoxoxo

  194. Cheryl says

    I am also the survivor of a suicide. In 2004, my uncle committed suicide at the age of 38. Being 2 years younger than him and being raised Catholic I struggled with his death. I would go to the church at odd hours and light a candle for his soul. One day while lighting a candle and crying my eyes out, a priest came and said it looked like I needed a hug, asked if he could hug me and gave me a hug. Then I asked him a question about what all my “Catholic” friends had been telling me. My question was “Do people who commit suicide spend eternity in hell? Even the good ones?” His response saved my soul from the heart breaking distress it wa in and I will NEVER forget his answer. The answer was “People who commit suicide are sick. Wether it’s the mind, body or spirit, they are sick. And God does not turn away sick people. He embraces them with His love. So no I do not believe that they spend eternity in Hell.” I have held those words close to my heart all these years. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  195. Cathy says

    Thank for sharing your story. My father in law took his own life 17 years ago. We were very close and the hurt is still there. I did want to share what our minister said at his funeral.. Unlike your uncle”s known problems, my father-in-law kept his depression well hidden from us. The minister used a wonderful analogy that brought comfort to us and gave us a little understanding. He described my father in law like that of a clay pot. You buy the pot and it has a very fine crack on the inside that you don’t see. You add soil and flowers to the pot and they grow beautifully. But, the sun, water, and harsh weather take it’s toll on the outside of the pot until the crack grows under the pressure until the pot eventually can no longer hold up. Our minister, too, assured us that The Lord knew and welcomed my sweet father in law and mended that crack so he could be whole and beautiful again. The family that is left behind experiences every emotion there is. Your story is a blessing to those struggling with this same sadness in their families. I hope this helps as well

  196. jessi says

    This was nice to read, I lost my husband and my kids their dad 12 years ago this month to suicide and sadly at his funeral the minister pretty much made the comment that my husband had betrayed God, a month later a friend also took his life and in the middle of the service he stopped his speech and made sure that everybody in that room understood that their friend soon brother cousin was in the arms of God and God did not abandon his child like so many people believe happens when one takes their own life and to hear that after what the minister at my husband’s funeral said gave me a piece with in me that I needed really bad..suicide is a sad sad thing it’s the people left behind that have to suffer as I have watched our two kids struggle everyday with emotions they don’t understand themselves…thank you for sharing your story I truly believe they aren’t selfish by doing so it’s just the only way they know how to escape their suffering.

  197. says

    Thank you for writing this and sharing your story. While I don’t want anyone to die before they’ve lived a long life, sometimes it’s just too hard to live. Death is the only way out, the only way that they can find peace after years or decades of internal pain. I don’t blame people for taking their own lives, I just pray that they finally have peace.

  198. says

    That was an awesome article. A fellow choir member committed suicide a few years back and one of the Pastors who participated in the funeral stated pretty much exactly the same things you have shared here. It was so comforting.

  199. Shirlena Comeaux says

    Thank you kindly for sharing your story! I pray for the loved ones left behind to find some peace and escape the stigma. And for those still fighting to survive, keep searching and fighting for help.

  200. Cathy says

    So sorry for the loss of your uncle Jay. I lost my boyfriend-soul mate to suicide in January. Almost 6 months, can’t believe he’s really gone. I feel so much guilt, could-should have done more. I put on a front for the outside world while I’m in so much pain on the inside. Try to take one day at a time and even sometimes that is difficult. Will never be the same. Miss him so.

  201. Dwight says

    I lost my youngest brother to suicide when he was 20 years old. That was nearly 28 years ago and I still think about him and how his suicide affected/affects me and the people who loved him. I feel a lot of teens see suicide as an easy way out of a bad situation. But suicide for many is s permanent end to a temporary situation. I urge anyone considering suicide to sit down and think about how losing them will affect the people around them and their lives. Seek help because things do change and those temporary problems can be fixed but you can never change to outcome of committing suicide and the affects on the people that care for you so much. .

  202. SA says

    As the number of comments suggest, this subject touches many. I have been amazed at the number if people that open up or reach out to us whenever we share any bit if my husbands suicide. I’m quite open about it and have learned many things. Perhaps a couple will resonate with others:
    –when you don’t know what to say to family who are left behind , it’s ok to say just that, ” I don’t know what to say” or have thought if you and just don’t know what to do.
    –we all need to be patient with ourselves, this is a process and timing/healing is amazingly different for each of us.
    –we all do the best we can and what we believe is the best path at any given time.
    –the best way I know to move on is to truly live the happiest, fulfilling, rewarding life we can.
    –open, honest conversation is always the best. If others are uncomfortable, it’s iften because they don’t know how to approach such topics or in so many cases seem to be looking for someone to talk about depression, suicude or other struggles
    –we all need help at times, some more public than others, but we all need help at times.
    Wishing you all good things!

  203. kathy says

    We lost our brother to a suicide traumatic about 21 months ago. We were raised with trauma beyond belief. He was in a great amount of pain both physically and mentally. The day he died and the next days following changed my life forever. I have wondered if I too being in physical and mental pain will end up doing the same. I have also been afraid and pulled away from my spiritual beliefs. With concerns about where my brothers spirit ended up. A very special friend sent me this link. And it has helped me to realize that God welcomed him with loving arms. God knowing the pain he was in and how he was seeking help through the VA but was turned away. Understands why he did what he did. I have recently sought out professional help and started praying again. Thank you for this uplifting message

  204. Cindy says

    I know how faith can be swayed. I have wondered, also. My brother died by suicide in 2007. His wife asked if he went to Heaven. My response before the pasyor answered was “yes” because he believed. It isn’t easy living after a loss by suicide but mental illness isn’t any different than cancer or heart disease. It’s an illness that can be treated but treatments do not keep every person from losing the battle. Please keep trying and find a treatment that can help you. Sending prayers.

  205. MINNIE says


  206. says

    My brother took his life 6 months ago today. I posted this anniversary date on facebook today and many commented with kind words and encouragement. I am thankful for their support, but I struggled through this day as though looking for something. Something to bring some understanding to the decision he made. My father made this same choice 19 years ago. Your story was just what I needed to help me through this day. To know that they did not want to die, but simply wanted to live, give me a new perspective and something I know I will think of as I mourn their loss.

  207. Maggie Boucher says

    I would like to say thank you for this blog. I lost my wonderful husband whom I was married to for 19 years, and had two wonderful children to suicide 10 years ago. One of the struggles I have had is understanding why, and what will happen to him when he gets to heaven (got). Your words have given me some peace and understanding. God Bless you for helping so many other here on this blog.

    Maggie Boucher

  208. Lois Bartell says

    Interesting and valuable article and comments. As a nurse, I was taking care of a man with a psychiatric diagnosis and he was having severe medical problems. The daughter (newly married) wanted him to go back on the ventilator – he didn’t want to… I had a long talk with the daughter and said, “You lived with him your whole life, but you really have no clue the mental anguish (pain) that he has endured for years. Why would you not now respect his wishes to forego extensive medical care that he doesn’t want.” I know this isn’t per se suicide, but my comment has always been….. unless we have walked in their shoes we have NO comprehension the “pain” that the person has endured for who knows how long. Recently, I have a good acquaintance who attempted suicide by throwing himself in front of a truck. He has survived and is now paraplegic …. I’m grieved for the pain that he will continue to endure – hopefully he can receive the appropriate medications to help alleviate that anguish. Thank you for the article. Well written and important information. I’ve watched many suffer from various things… can’t imagine what it was really like since I haven’t had to walk that path.

  209. Linda says

    I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this extremely thoughtful article. My mother-in-law took her own life after years of struggling mentally, leaving my husband (her only child) and myself reeling. Everything you describe I associate with our feelings: anger, guilt, pain, and thinking her selfish. You have explained this in a way that no one has been able to and when the time is right, I plan on sharing your article with my husband. Her year anniversary just passed Sunday, so she is fresh in both our minds right now. Knowing that she died not to escape life and us, but to free herself from her mental anguish she had tried to deal with, or as you put eliquently, tried to survive with, relieves my my heart. I’m sure I’m not alone…thank you again.

  210. Bruce Adair says

    Thank you for this website. I have lost two beautiful children (a daughter and a grandson) to this terrible affliction. I have desperate hope that I will see them both in Heaven and assure them that my love will last forever. In the meantime I have others to love who are still on this earth. May God bless us—-no one said it would be easy!

  211. Goldie Pierce says

    This is an absolutely beautifully written article!!!!!!!!!!! I shared this on my Facebook page, because I loved it so much. I have had very few people I know that have committed suicide……but those few were very special people that were dear to my heart. They all had amazing hearts & I have always had a hard time understand how they could do what they did, especially since they had always seemed so STRONG to me. This is a fantastic perspective that I have never thought of before. Thank you so much. And God Bless that bishop that said those amazing words.

  212. Sarah says

    My husband’s favorite uncle took his life after battling depression. We really didn’t even know it had gotten that bad. He was a deacon in the church, had a wife and two beautiful grown daughters, with his first granddaughter to be born in less than a month. His wife of many years knew more than any of us the struggles he was having, He kept skipping his meds, it was a constant battle making him take them.

    He hung himself in the barn one evening after work, after telling the man he rode with that he’d see him tomorrow, leaving us all baffled. I wasn’t too happy with the preacher his words weren’t very comforting to the family. I sure enjoyed reading this article, it’s the comforting words a family needs to hear at a time like this. I believe our Uncle David is in heaven. I always have and always will. Thanks for sharing this.

  213. In the Fight says

    Shawna, I hope you keep my post, but I’m not sure if you will as all the posts here seem to agree with you and thank you for this. I do believe your post is probably comforting to those left in the destructive and painful wake of some else’s suicide, and I’m sure that those bishop’s thoughts were indeed helpful to you. But I have two serious issues with what you’re saying here. 1.) The thought that suicide is some sort of a release from pain is simply false as evident of your own words, and by the tragic pain you yourself have felt. Someone recently wrote a piece on her brother’s suicide and as I think she put it well “When Evan took his life, he passed his pain on to those of us left behind, his family and large circle of friends. Through tremendous loss, we inherited his suffering.” (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/03/health/suicide-erin-schwantner-irpt/) In this way, suicide is a selfish act because that person is choosing (yes, making a choice) to escape from their pain, but the pain is simply passed on and amplified like ripples on a pond.
    2) The notion that the bishop expressed that it was a choice he happened upon when his pain was too great for him to cope is strangely devoid of any notion of the power of God to sustain, to heal, and to help his children overcome. As a believer, he ought to know that with God all things are possible, and that through his grace, by his Spirit, we can overcome.
    I have struggled with depression for 25+ years and sometimes the only thing that has kept me in this fight, is knowing that suicide is a selfish act that hurts others, and that I CAN overcome. The Bible teaches me that God will never give me trials I cannot bear – with His graceful help. There is never a moment when the pain is too great for me to cope. I can tell you sensed hesitation on this because you waited so long to post this, and because you felt the need to put a disclaimer at the top. There’s a reason for that. This message has flaws and it’s not helpful to those who are in the fight; it’s a tempting rationalization for suicide. I know that’s not what you wanted it to be, but as a person who’s in this fight, I can testify that’s what it is. I encourage you to consider what I’m saying here, not because I think I’m right, but because my two points are self-evident and also clearly Biblical.

  214. says

    “I don’t think they seek death. Instead, they seek escape, so that their identity and intelligence can survive.”

    I truly hope your words are true. I have not for one moment been mad at my beloved son CJ for taking his life nor have I thought for one moment that he was selfish. I HAVE wondered every second of everyday for the last 4 years why he thought leaving was better than staying….why putting that gun to his head in front of his Dad and I made sense to him…..why he didn’t let us know that he was in pain, whatever that pain may have been. Guilt eats me alive all the time as I fought with him right before he pulled the trigger. My last word to him were not nice. I was not the supportive mom I should have been. I truly believe with all my heart that I failed him. CJ was an awesome young man and deserved better than what I gave him in that moment.

    My single biggest fear is that CJ will be forgotten. Maybe someday I can embrace your words and know that maybe he left to ensure he would be remembered.


  215. Tricia P. says

    I have always felt like the Lord’s tender mercies would take over when we don’t understand, and we don’t. Thank you for this beautifull written story, it will help alot of people!

  216. says

    I have been close to your shoes a few times in the past as our daughter has suffered with mental illness for several years. She is medicated but her voices are constantly chattering at her. To get away from the pain of her voices she self harms. She has jumped off a 55 ft bridge, burned herself a few times, severly with dry ice as well as 5 years ago sought help at the hospital twice in one day and each time they tild her she was fine and sent her home only to have her set herself on fire. Burn 60 percent 3rd degree and spent 140 days in icu. We live with this everyday. We live with her voices chattering everyday. She tells us the pain of the voices is more than the self harm, even setting herself in fire. My husband gave her a blessing 2 weeks ago after the wake of another self harm incident. It started out…through no fault of your own. It validated our thoughts over the years that she is not at fault. It echos our bishop counceling us one day saying he had felt impressed to tell us she is loved so dearly and God knows the challenge that has been given her. It isnt for her benefit for growth but for those around her. I pray daily for those who suffer with mental illness as well as their caregivers.

  217. Ed says

    The Bishop stating

    “Christ did not call Jay home in this manner. But I can testify that He did welcome him home.”

    Is possibly a soothing reassuring sentimental statement to comfort a grieving family having lost a loved family member in pain.

    This fact remains : Life belongs to God. It is never our place to take our own life or someone else’s life.

    Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

    Christ promises that He will give us rest from our problems.

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

  218. Bambi says

    St Patricks day, 1987 my mom tried to commit suicide. She almost succeeded. I was angry at her for trying to leave us. Felt guilt for not seeing it coming or being able to help her the way she needed to be helped. I had always been told that you go to hell if you commit suicide but, always felt that if God was perfect…how could he commit you to hell for wanting to be rid of the pain and suffering that was in your life. This article is wonderful. It gives peace knowing that someone else believes that God doesn’t turn you away for trying to find peace. Thank you.

  219. Charity says

    I have to say thank you for publishing this! Almost 4 years ago my husband took his life leaving me with 6 yr old twin (daddy’s girls) and I’ve spent these years just wondering why and how and had thoughts of being with him…but your article made me realize just how much he suffered and just couldn’t face it anymore! I’ll never love again as my heart belongs to him, but reading this (and I’ll probably read it many times!) helps a little. May peace be with anyone and everyone that also struggles as I do!
    Charity, Meagen and Payten!

  220. says

    Your post touches my heart deeply. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was capable of thinking somewhat deeply that I have not thought inside “I wish I had never been born.” I often feel that I am too emotionally fragile for this world. It has been difficult to express my thoughts on the worth of my life to those I love most (and those who love me most). The usual response includes opinions on how I’m not “brave enough to commit suicide” as evidenced by the fact that I am talking about it and not doing it. I’m not sure whether I am “brave” enough to take my own life; I hope we never find out. I do know that by telling them what I think and feel, I am asking for help and understanding in my own (possibly strange and different) way.
    I guess my comments are meant to beg those who don’t necessarily understand depression in a personal way to at least take us seriously. In my experience, a little understanding can go a long way toward showing me that my life is worthwhile and that the world would actually miss me if I were gone.
    I’m so glad that my friend sent me a link to your post. My brother’s dog was hit by a car and died first thing this morning and I am feeling rather down. Reading your post and feeling a bit more understood has definitely brought me back up a bit. Thanks so much for your understanding; you’ve brightened my day. :)

  221. says

    Hi Shawna! Thanks for sharing your story about your Uncle Jay. He sounds like a wonderful man who fought and fought to stay afloat in a sinking ship. My best friend passed your post along to me because my Mom committed suicide two months ago. I gain strength through other people’s stories, so thanks for making me a bit stronger.

  222. Margaret Hodge says

    Beautifully written. I wish there was a way to share your thoughtful words with the family of Robin Williams…so comforting. Thank you.

  223. Reanna H. says

    First off I would like to thank you for taking the time & courage to make this post. I lost my brother when I was 13, he was 18, to suicide. He suffered from severe depression and also a drug addiction that he couldn’t get away from. I had a very hard time accepting it for a long time. Your post helped in ways that I can never explain. You gave me another perspective on why my brother left us so early. Thank you again. :)

  224. Carla says

    What a beautiful, loving and insightful tribute to your Uncle. Life can be cruel to some of our loved ones. Although we can’t bear losing them, we can remember them with love and kindness, knowing we will see them again in another, better place.

  225. Cheryl Crist says

    Thank You so much for posting this message. It has been most helpful to me. I have suffered from Clinical Depression and multiple painful physical illnesses for much of my life. The message is very well spoken and speaks to the truth and the heart of the matter-why people sometimes come to this end. I believe you have helped and given peace and hope to many through sharing these words.

  226. Laurie Poehler says

    When you feel all is lost, please, please remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It’s got me through the night to day at times.

  227. Jenn says

    As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for years, I often find it hard to express to my loved ones how I am feeling or what is going on inside my head. After my last serious suicide attempt, my best friend asked me how I could do that to my family, my children. The only way I know how to explain it is being struck by an overwhelming desire to feel something besides pain, sadness, grief, anger, fear, failure, weakness and worthlessness…even if that means feeling nothing at all. You are consumed by the thought that what you are doing is for the greater good, that everyone will be better off. As irrational as that sounds, when a person reaches that point, they are unable to realize the repercussions. When a person reaches that point it is because they are exhausted by their unsuccessful attempts at healing themselves, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. Trust me when I say that if I had felt I had other alternatives, I would have taken them. I love my family, my children are my life, but depression is a sickness. If not treated properly, people only get sicker, and sometimes treatment doesn’t help. If you know someone who suffers from any kind of mental illness, please, do your best not to judge, and offer them as much support and empathy as possible.

  228. says

    I would like to respond directly to Jenn: Jenn, if I may have your permission, I would like to blog your response to depression for the greater good. We struggle so with defining this disease and you said so well.

    I hope to hear from you and with blessings,


  229. says

    I lost my father, brother, sister, and nephew to suicide within a few years of each other. My mother had a suicide attempt, but died from an accident a few years later. I wrote a book, (free online) at http://www.whenthedevilvisits.com and I came to the same conclusion this author has. i believe God will lead us to truth and comfort us if we seek him for the answers. Sometimes the trauma from a loved ones suicide is too much to bear.

    I have shared the link to the article in every place I can find. Thank you for putting the words in a way that few can describe. I especially loved your analogy about the 9-11 jumpers. You just can’t beat that one.

  230. Sara says

    Just found this. I picked up on the fact of your Uncles (and I am guessing your) religious denomination. I needed to see these words from that source. Our Bishop at the time unfortunantely was not as in tune and kind. We never know…..your Uncle’s Bishop’s words are still providing comfort 12 years later.

  231. Celeste says

    God bless you all – in South Africa the statistics in 2006 were one person every hour of every day which has risen to about 30 per day. We are not here to judge only to keep on praying for those person experiencing deep pain which they suffer from. It breaks my heart. A friend of mine’s sister hung herself the day after my daughter’s wedding on Sun 3 Nov 2014. I think of them and pray for them constantly. Her parents are completely devastated. RIP & God bless

  232. says

    Thank you so very much for this article. I lost my mother in 1995 to cancer – she took sleeping pills to end her suffering. I have struggled with depression ever since and understand I will be on medication for it for the rest of my life. Your description of what we family members go through is so well said. What your Bishop said is also what mine said to me. We are not here to judge, but to love and serve one another. My son also suffers from depression, and It is my greatest fear that he will be unable to handle his challanges and try and escape his pain. I want to be strong and be a source of comfort to others. I take each day as it comes, and am grateful for each and every day. Thank you and may Heavenly Father pour out His choicest blessings upon you and yours. Always, Joyce

  233. Terri says

    Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU for writing this post. This coming Saturday will be a year since my brother “found his peace”. I have really been struggling with it this past month. It’s as if it is just now really sinking in. This post and the words from the Bishop have helped me tremendously. This is the first thing I’ve read that made me feel like “Hey! Somebody really gets it” Finding this post has been such a blessing to me. May God Bless You! .

  234. Cindy says


    Just wanted to let you know that I shared this article with the persons that came to the AFSP Out of the Darkness Community walk held Sept 13 in Askov, MN. Thank you for putting into words, what sometimes, some of us, like me, find hard to do. It can bring about a different look on the diseases that cause suicide. Understanding will come only when the education is shared to show how much of the brain, like our hearts and cancer have treatments, needs treatments, too. Its a disease of the brain, much like we have heart disease and cancer in other parts of the body.

  235. Julie Soumis says

    It will be 3 years on Dec 7th that my son took his life…I have never been mad at him just extremely sad that this was the only exit he could find. I have always believed what the minister has said, it wasn’t God’s way for him to die but I am confident he was welcomed with open arms. Knowing and believing this has always given me peace and strength. Thank you for sharing.

  236. Cindy says

    My perspective is the same. It’s been seven years since my brother died by suicide and my feelings then as they are now is that God welcomed him with open arms regardless of how he died. When a person dies because of cancer, and that person used every possible means to get better but then in the end decides the treatments are not working, we don’t look at that as a suicide. Depression and illnesses that cause suicide are diseases just like other diseases that cause death. Treatments are available for every disease out there. Sadly, the treatments do not always work.

  237. David says

    This is great. I hope readers understand the meaning of this story. I struggle to survive every day, many times I have thought that I could not go on, luckily I managed to fine another way. I am a paramedic and have seen my share of people who lost their own struggle. Something I often hear after someone ends their struggle is “how could he/she do that to…”. They did nothing to you, they may have even thought they was doing it FOR you. Some think they are weak, no, they were exhausted from being strong beyond their ability. For me, my Father in heaven gives me the strength to carry on the fight. There are, however, times that I forget to ask for his help (more accurately, don’t follow his answers). These are the times it becomes easy to sink to the depths of desperation. I encourage anyone who is fighting their own struggle to be strong and win your fight. You ARE important, the world DOES need you. The Lord loves you and wants to help you fight. In Christ’s name. Amen

  238. Susan says

    thank you for writing this. I get it, I understand the why because my brother, my only sibling, committed suicide less than a year ago.
    It was and has been the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
    My sweet brother suffered with severe depression and he fought it for many years. He just couldn’t confront anyone about anything so any unhappiness he just pushed it down.
    I heard Rick Warren say if you can’t talk it out, you’ll act it out. It’s always there. People need to learn how to talk about what’s bothering them instead of pretending everything is ok. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, unsure, afraid. Ask for help, find someone to talk to. It will eventually ease off, get better…nothing is forever.
    I forgive it all. I love him more than words can say and I understand that it was a way to end pain. He didn’t intend to hurt us, he wasn’t capable of thinking of this or anything but ending that pain and hurt. I know where he is and that he is ok. Now he knows more joy than I can imagine. I believe it was his time to leave, that God did not intervene because my brother WAS a dedicated believer, and that he had done all that God had required of him. I think Satan tormented him. After all, our Heavenly Father knows our beginning and our ending before we are born.
    I wouldn’t choose this for anyone, wouldn’t want anyone to go through this. It is the worst pain I have ever experienced.
    I never thought I’d get to this point but I have through God’s mercy, prayer, counseling, reading and listening to others who have experienced it. I’m going to make it. God bless us all. Feel it all, experience it all, cry when you need too, grieve as long as u need to, it will get better and not feel so “raw”.

  239. Ellen says

    Thank you for this uplifting and healing perspective on what it’s like to live with suicidal thoughts. I find these words extremely comforting after having lost my brother to suicide.

  240. Lynn Graham says

    Thank you for your post…I lost my sister to suicide almost 6 years ago.

    We were very close and although I am making peace with her action, it is something that will haunt me until the day I die.

    We did not see this coming and ironically, she chose this path while attending a self-help retreat. We noticed some changes in her and knew that she was attending seminars but when we learned it was to further her business with a self-help twist…we did not think to look for warning signs! This was only her THIRD seminar when this happened.

    We may never know all the details of her last few hours and perhaps they are no longer important. It is much harder to deal with the horror of the cover up that this so called self help organization did that haunts my dreams.

    Your article helped me and I just wanted to say thank you for posting! Sometimes the only thing we can do is to help the ones left behind.

    My only wish is that we could somehow recognize the warning signs in every case and give them other options! Your friend had several life-altering changes…my sister had none. They are so very different and yet…the same!

    My faith sustains me!


  241. Debkayd says

    I lost my husband 5 years ago this March 2015 to suicide. It was a devastating blow to our family. We were married 10 years and have a beautiful little girl. He had unsuccessfully tried 2 other times prior to our meeting and getting married which I knew about and didn’t look at him in any other way other than my love, friend and partner in life – I never thought he would’ve tried it again. After we were married and started a family there were no signs to be concerned about or that alerted us (myself and his family – which were extensively involved in his counseling after his second attempt). Until, three months before he died. ( nearly 12 years since his second attempt).

    In the past 5 years I have mourned him, hated him for leaving myself and my daughter, asked millions of times “why” and have tried to understand his pain. I will never understand his pain but over the years I have come to understand those who commit suicide are seeking an escape from the pain and are not actually wanting to die.

    Many have wondered and asked how I could’ve moved on with my 8 year old daughter (at the time) without my life completely turning upside down losing my husband like that. By no means is my life normal and probably won’t be – I miss him every day and want him back every day as well to try and help him through what he was feeling.

    Early after his death I knew that he would be forgiven for what he had done and God would accept him to his eternal home where he would be at peace. Even though we were experiencing the pain of losing a cherished loved one,son,brother,husband,daddy, and friend. Our pain had to be far less comparable to what he was feeling.

    You think you’re the only one or only family this has happened to right after you lose your loved one…..at least that is what I thought until I started researching trying to find answers. Instead I found a deeper faith, support, stories, books, blogs -etc. of others experiences and feelings that were similar to mine. I have read each and every post above and my thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you.

    God bless


  242. Demeatrice Edwards says

    Thank you for sharing. No one knows what is like until they go through this.. My only brother comitted suicide October,2004. It was the hardest thing I had ever went through. He was so talented in many ways. Most of us in my family had been sexually abused and no one knew about him until he was arrested and told us all together. He had held it in for over 40 years. After he pulled his time,people would not forgive him. He asked for forgiveness from the Lord and tried to live the best he knew how. He had got to the place where he couldn’t go out without someone judging him. He really had no life. He had taken all he could. Left a letter for us and said he loved the Lord most of all and then named each one of us and said he loved us. This was so hard on my Mama. She never got over it and I guess none of us have and it will soon be eleven years. My heart goes out to everyone that has went through this. I have been in services when the preacher said anyone that has taken their own life is in hell. I’m so glad they are not the judge. I love the Lord and so glad He is forgiving. Everyone that has said bad things to hurt someone or judged them will have to face God one day. I pray that I always show love to everyone I come in contact with cause Christ said if we have not love we are nothing,(put in my on words). I love you brother and miss you everyday.

  243. Cindy says


    Your words echo so much what I have experienced in the 8 years this March, also, that my brother, A husband, son, father, and friend to Many have gone through.
    Eight years ago I would never have known I would feel the way I do today. That is a lot of compassion for those who have gone down the same road who died.

    Thank You, Cindy

  244. says

    I lost my niece January 12th, 2014 without any idea how much pain she was experiencing. I still cry when I think about how much I miss her and how painful it is to know she hurt so bad death was better than staying with us.
    This article definitely helped.

  245. RB says

    As a person who has attempted suicide because I felt there were no alternatives, I greatly appreciate this post and wanted to thank you for writing such a beautiful and touching account of the life of a person who fought hard to find a way to live. We never know the darkness someone is walking through. We never know what incredible challenges they are facing. We never know how many times they have reached out the only ways they know how, only to find themselves alone in the darkness with nowhere left to turn. No one should ever find themselves in that place, all alone. I’m sorry that Jay ran out of resources and the ability to believe there could be a tomorrow. Thank you for telling his story. It is a story too many live and die by. To some, life is a treasure. To others, it is suffering, struggle, pain and terror. It is hard. And we should never judge someone for coming to the end of their ability to take one more step forward.

  246. Nancy says

    thank you for this, what a profound and needed message.. this topic is close to my heart. thank you so much…

  247. Dawn says

    I just realized that you wrote this on June 4, 2014. Two weeks later, on June 22, I almost died. I overdosed on so much of my depression/anxiety medicines that I had hallucinations and seizures for days. So much BP pills that my BP was almost nil. I was in a medically-induced coma for a week. It wasn’t so much the pain that I felt, but I TRULY felt that my friends and family were better off without me. To me, I was a burden to them. About 30-45 minutes after I began taking the pills by the handful, I must have had some feeling of sheer terror of never seeing my mother again. I called 911 and walked into the ambulance. From there, my mind is BLANK. I literally lost a week of my life. Little did I know, on that very same day, my mom was having a severe stroke, which has left her completely paralyzed on her right side and such terrible aphasia, that she’s like speaking to a child. Oh, and she’s 62 years old….
    After I was discharged from the hospital, I was required to attend a partial hospitalization program. Group therapy for 7 weeks, 4 days a week. It was the lowest part of my life, and the best part of my life at the same time. I’m still trying to heal, unfortunately, I’m not healing a quickly as some would like. I’ve lost some of my support system, but I have my life.

  248. Tara Smoot says

    I truly do not have enough words to express my grate fullness for this post. I lost my son from suicide on Feb. 13th, 2015. I have been through many type of emotions. It does help to see things in the light of the Bishop.
    Thank you,

  249. Diane says

    Thank you so much for that posting, and perspective. My first husband and father of my children, took his life almost 22 years ago. I still struggle at times, wondering if I could have said something or did something that would have stopped him, because none of us had a clue he was in that frame of mind.

  250. Liz says

    Thank you for this insightful post. While I don’t have any family or friends that have committed suicide, I tried strongly considered this 3 times. Twice by driving my car off the road (almost succeeded once) and once by taking a bottle of pills (aspirin). Luckily I didn’t succeed in any of the attempts and realized that I was letting other people cause my pain and I wasn’t willing to be their victim any longer. I realize this is completely different from actual body pain, but depression is a horrible monster that isn’t always controlled. I believe that God doesn’t want anyone to suffer and welcomes you into his home. Those left behind need to remember that the person is no longer suffering and their life should be celebrated and not their death dwelled upon. I have learned to shower positive on everyone I meet because sometimes the negatives are what send folks over the top. Thanks for letting me share.

  251. Laura Hedgepeth says

    Thank you so much for this post. I lost my husband to suicide 8 1/2 years ago. We were married 21 years, and he had just turned 50 years old. I love what the bishop said. That so makes sense. Its been a hard road, but you do make it, and you will survive. Thanks again.

  252. Sue says

    I have not been personally touched by suicide but I want to tell you I will remember this writing and your perspective forever. God Bless.

  253. Cindy says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the wonderfully inspired comments from your Bishop. My son, almost 22, took his own life just 11 weeks ago when he returned early from a mission in Brazil. He’d never been depressed a day in his life, he said. After three years with Lyme disease in high school, I don’t think he ever completely recovered. He was very ill in Brazil so came home to recuperate and have a minor surgery. After he arrived back in the states he spiraled downward and could never get back on top. He struggled every single day for a year but we just couldn’t find the right answers or the help and support he needed. No one really takes these things seriously until the funeral happens. Our family will never be the same, but we will be okay. I miss him. Terribly.

  254. Tricia Austin says

    I’m not sure where to start with this comment. It will be more like a letter on how my family and I feel and how this article helped me.. I am not speaking for my family just.
    On Tuesday 5/04/2015 had found out the my 20 yr old nephew had commited suicide. The reasons why he did it are plain as day. Let me explain. My nephew is the middle child, when my niece as born he as proud as any brother could be. Last year in April my niece who was 17 yrs old commited suicide. My nephew as never the same. My nephew longed to be with his sister. They were joined at the hip. My nephew tried so hard to get on with his life without his little sister. Over the last year my nephew tried several times to kill himself. Without success. My nephew was an amazing person. Did what he could for everyone he knew. But the sadness over the lost of his sister was more than he could handle. My nephew was treated for PTSD with he got over the loss of my niece.
    On May 04, 2015 the sadness was to much for him and he went to be with his sister. Knowing that he is with her where he wants to be is a great comfort to my family.
    My nephew was a survivor as well.
    The pain suicide causes is almost unbearable.
    Some look as suicide as their only way out. And for some people it is. My nephew was in a very dark place and he knew he didn’t belong here, that he belonged with my niece.
    I am sure I am about to contradict myself but suicide is a selfish act. But with my nephew it was the only way for him to be happy and be with with my beloved niece. I am not saying what he did is okay, because it isn’t. But it was the only for my beloved nephew. And for that reason it’s ok and I am ok with his choice. Doesn’t lessen the pain at all.
    I will forever miss my niece and nephew. But I take great comfort in knowing that they are together again and both them are as happy as they were together here on earth.

    Thank you for letting me vent.
    Tricia Austin

  255. judy says

    I’ve been a nurse for 33 years and I worked for the medical examiner’s office for a while. Your post is something I will talk about and I will suggest people read it when they’re ready. Your and your pastor’s words are the best I’ve heard. Finally a way to explain (not justify, as you said) suicide and how much someone must hurt to choose not death, but escape from their pain. God bless you and all those affected by suicide.

  256. Mel says

    The title of your article “A” Perspective on Suicide is quite appropriate. It is one perspective.

    While I can understand how suicide shouldn’t be considered a cowardly act by someone in unbearable pain, whether that pain is physical or via depression, I really struggle to see my former brother-in-law as anything but a coward and a very evil man. For years, he falsely accused my sister of horrible things. He tried to take their daughter away from her, costing her 10s of thousands of dollars in legal fees. On the eve of his time with the court appointed guardian ad le diem, he left suicide notes with family, friends, and community leaders in their very small town, blaming my sister for everthing wrong in his life.. He committed his suicide in a very graphic way and in a public place. He wanted the last word. He didnt want to give my sister the opportunity to prove her innocence in court. His pride was greater than his love for his five year old daughter. He WAS a coward. It wasn’t enough for him to take his own life; he had to try his best to make sure my sister’s life was a living hell even if he wasn’t around to see it.

    I don’t remember a kind man or a funny man. I remember a mean, selfish man who tried to leave a path of destruction.

    Fortunately, for five years,, my sister and niece were able to leave their small town and live with my husband and me. Time and distance provided them with a chance to heal and their community the opportunity to see that my sister was never the person my brother-in-law claimed she was..

    Praise God that His Spirit is alive and well and blesses my niece with only good memories.

  257. Renette says

    As one who made a suicide plan I had one last ditch effort to stop. I sought out an instructer she was late for class but was still l in her office. Had she not been there I would not be here today. Speaking from experience suicide is not a desire to for but a way to end the pain. It is an act of desperation not selfishness. Thanks for posting.

  258. Julie says

    Thank you. Your uncle’s bishop spoke words that touched me deeply. My oldest son 30 at the time 2007 after a year and half return from Iraq drowned, ruled a suicide and a year later, my youngest son 21 hung himself. No notes but I believe PTSD took the oldest as he was changed and the youngest, well he lost a brother he adored and failed to save. Thank you for your temendous article. From one who believes those word by Simone close to the spirit.

  259. Debbie says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. I lost a loved one to suicide and your words resonated with my own thoughts.

  260. Bobby Puente says

    My son took his life 19 days ago 5/1/15 … He was 26 yrs old…I have not felt anger just absolute unbearable guilt and sadness that I could not help him. The “what ifs” have literally been eating away at my soul…. A special friend shared this on her Facebook… Thank you for sharing your story it gave me peace so much that I will continue to read this again and again while trying to heal…..

  261. Diane says

    I am so very sorry for your loss. It was so recent. Please check out your local SOS
    group meetings. If you feel you do not have the strength to go, ask a friend or relative to go with you. SOS, suvivors of suicide, at the meetings will understand your loss & pain, share it with you & listen.
    Grieving is very hard work.

  262. J says

    The tools of the blogging age allow for anybody to share their opinions. All are entitled to their opinions. Notwithstanding, people employ this entitlement without considering the consequence of their opinions on other people. This is more easily seen today than at any other time in history. This is the Information Age.

    Free speech in a society that is massive, full of diametrically opposing values, human imperfection, flaw, hatred, prejudice, ignorance, and bigotry is a double-edged sword. In one way, it contributes to the richness of the conversation at large, and extreme hatred and obvious bigotry oftentimes inspires strength, individualism, and positivity in others. In another way, However, on the other side, it influences people of every age, especially immature and impressionable young people, and those who seek hatred of another culture to legitimize their own identity, perhaps because they did not have much opportunity or strength to develop a positive identity.

    Pertaining to suicide, even when people have the most positive intentions, they can still influence others in a negative way, including both those who are suicidal, and arguably more unfortunately, the general public, followers, and those who subsequently, either consciously or subconsciously, form opinions based on what they read. Critical thinking, which is hardly taught adequately in America, for one, is necessary to dismissing certain commentaries.

    Your intentions were completely well-intended, as are many of the commentaries on suicide currently pervading social media and the blogosphere. Sadly though, something as complex, enigmatic, and subjective as suicide is rarely commented on well by people who are not exceptionally wise, or privy to the subject at hand. Many people are affected by suicide, and their feelings of grief, misery, loss, and even depression are real and legitimate. It is when people justify their commentaries because of those feelings.

    Without wisdom, commentaries can be very destructive to society’s conversation-at-large about suicide. I advocate today’s rising awareness of the effects of suicide and suicidal ideation on both those suffering from depression, among other maladies or unfortunate circumstances, and those who are devastated by the loss of a loved one.

    Even when one prefaces an article with a disclosure statement about not advocating or romanticizing suicide, and even urging suicidal individuals to seek help, if the following commentary does not have the substance, rhetoric, or ideas to very clearly back up this non-advocacy and opposition to glorification, then the disclosure serves as nothing more than an exemption of liability a la snake oil salesmen, and a self-righteous and careless proclamation seeking to sanctify the author, which often succeeds in convincing impressionable and shallow readers of the “sage wisdom” and “informed perspective” of the author.

    This author’s disclosure was just that, as she went on to quite blatantly talk about suicide as a solution, a legitimate escape, and a glorious act with a positive outcome. If the reader disagrees, read the article again, this time completely disregarding the superficial disclosure I speak of. My message to those who love to share their opinions on every person’s life, situation, identity, culture, and everything else under the sun, is to think twice about how wise you truly are. Wisdom is stipulated by a balance of emotion and rationality. Everyone is entitled to opinion, and in this country, free speech. Be that as it may, a wise person will consider the consequence of a carelessly shared opinion. Your strong emotions about loved one’s suicides are legitimate and devastating. Your reckless sharing of opinions based on those emotions have the potential to send very unfortunate messages.

    In my opinion, I would think it beneficial to the conversation at large if this article had not entered it. Additionally, there are other ways to reach people than someone’s popular blog. The sharing of this article with the intention of reaching the most individuals as possible was certainly a rational decision, but by sharing it in such an inappropriate and impertinent blog may promote the idea that suicide is a casual conversation for the water cooler or at lunch with friends at Zupas. It is not that. Yes, contribute the to the conversation in positive ways, and yes, do not be afraid to talk about suicide or try and ignore it. That would be to shame it. Reconsider sharing it in a more appropriate place, even if that means reaching less people. Especially when a destructive article such as this is posted, it might be better to reach less people.

    For those concerned with ethos, I have suffered from MDD six years, and recently spent a week in the psychiatric ward of a hospital whose primary purpose was to disallow suicide, and rehabilitate those who are rendered functionless by mental malady.

    I invite all to think critically about my comment. I predict the majority of readers here will disagree when they think only emotionally about their experiences with suicide. In my opinion, this would be suitable for the irrationally of this article.

  263. Kelsie says

    I just wanted to thank you for this. I recently just lost a dear friend to suicide and I’ve felt nothing but guilt. It’s hard because you wish you could have done something or seen it coming. I never think I’ll ever be able to comprehend suicide but this sure helps out. Thank you for this post.

  264. says

    Thank you for this! I lost my son a little over a week ago. You are so right, he didn’t want to die…..he just didn’t want to hurt anymore.

  265. tony says

    thanks. every little bit helps at this stage of survival……. still in tears… confused … guilt ridden… my poor overwhelmed baby .

  266. Kay says

    I struggle with these feelings constantly…I don’t consider myself to be suicidal, as I’m not ever trying to kill myself, I just want the pain to stop, the depression to go away, the illness to stop, the loneliness to end…I spider from chronic pain, & I too have been taken off other pain relievers & put on methadone…I’m also bipolar, with depressive tendencies…I believe the methadone contributes to my anxiety attacks, but it is the only drug which laid my pain at least manageable…I don’t want to die, I’m actually afraid to die…but I’ve ended up hospitalized before when my true intention was to just sleep, or just stop hurting…I don’t think psychiatrists have a handle onthis concept…they always want to keep my in the hospital, away from my family, which makes my depression so much worse, until I admit I’m suicidal…I’ve learned it’s easier to just lie, & when I do that, there’s no recovery happening…I’m not sure why exactly I wrote this, maybe Judd to get the message out there…please don’t be too harsh on those who take their lives, or those that have attempted to, intentionally or not…we’re already feeling incredibly alone, we need support at this time…I once had a paramedic that was horribly mean to me, slapping my face, hard, & saying really horrible things…it made me wish I had died before he arrived…I’ll never forget that experience, & next time, I went a little closer to the edge…when we’re at our lowest point in our entire lives, though love probably isn’t the way to handle us…just saying…

  267. says

    Reverand Denmark said something very similar at my daughter, Taylor King’s, funeral. He said “God did not take Taylor .. But he did welcome her.” That day is such a blur to me because of the intense pain but I remember that statement and It still brings me comfort.
    God bless, Renae (www.taylor4teens.org)

  268. Amanda says

    Thank you for sharing this perspective. My husband took his life almost 10 months ago. I wish more people could see this perspective and be understanding. I love this post. Thank you again.

  269. Teresa says

    Thank you for your insight. My husband committed suicide August of 2014. It has been devistating and has touched many lives. We have all and are still struggling, especially me. There are day I feel he abandoned me, gave up, and betrayed me. Then I have days of acceptance and my heart is full of forgiveness for him. It is such a roller coaster ride. Death is hard enough and then when we feel they “chose this?” it makes it even harder. I love how you reminded us if the people who were jumping out of the burning building. They weren’t just jumping to get away from the heat, but maybe also it survive. Maybe they thought there may be a slight chance they could survive. It is human nature to try and survive and live. That is why suicide is so devistating to us left behind. There is never a full understanding as to why. I often have said suicide is like a puzzle. We put it together the best we can with the pieces we have. And, when the time comes to see my husband again, he will put the rest of the pieces in my hand and I will finish that puzzle with understanding and compassion that I’ve gained from this trial. But until then I trudge down this path and clean up the wreckage that it has left behind. I. AM. A. SUICIDE. SURVIVER. AND. THRIVER.

  270. says

    Beautifully written. I lost my husband to suicide 7 years ago and my daughter attempted once. My husband left a long letter and although it may have seemed selfish, some of his motives were to take care of us rather then deplete our money with his doctor bills. He felt there was no other option for him to be out of pain from his mental illness.
    My daughter on the other hand, just wanted the pain to temporarily subside. She didn’t want to die, she just wanted to be free from mental illness for a short time. The feeling of a way out of the pain overshadows the fact that it may be permanent. My late husband said it would become the plague of the last days.
    Thank you for you article.

  271. Miriam Taylor Wert says

    A beautiful and inspirational writing on a topic all too often misunderstood. It is very helpful to me as it helped me to have an entirely new view of suicide.

  272. Nedra Sorenson says

    I lost an uncle to suicide, as well. I truly believe that the Lord knows what is in the hearts of those who take their own life, and understands. He loves them no less and does, indeed, welcome them home with open arms. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  273. Jenifer says

    This brought me to tears!! My Dad committed suicide when I was 12. Thank you for sharing this story,God bless you

  274. Julie says

    I am a funeral Celebrant, and have wondered how I will deal with a service involving suicide. Your article has been very helpful, and I am keeping it in my files to refer to when the time comes. It has given me a new perspective. Thank you.

  275. Robin Kiger says

    I am glad I got to read this. I am veteran of Desert Storm. There are things that I experienced in the war that I wish I could flip a switch and turn off. People do not understand that it is not that simple. I have been put out and turned on by other adults because I can not just turn it off. I wish that instead of turning their backs they would have reached a hand to help. My son is an Eagle Scout and I am very proud of him. Needless to say he almost did not have me to pin on his Eagle badge. Some of the parents in his troop made me feel like I did not belong helping with his project. I thought about suicide. Then my son’s project book fell on my feet. I looked at that picture on the front and thought. This is my son. I have every right to be there as his mother. It is his day and he would be hurt if I was not there to pin on that badge. If they didn’t like it tough. They could leave.
    As a war vet people need to realize we can not just turn off our reaction to things. The military conditioned us and trained us to react in certain ways. I have had a few good friends who have helped me. They have stood by me even though I hit the dirt when a low flying plane came over. They just talked to me and helped me up, then we walked on. Everyone around us stared and made comments.
    You really put it in prospective when you call suicide a way out of the pain. Not because someone wants to cause pain, but they want out of pain.

    • MARYDEE GOETTSCHE [pronounced get-she] says

      Suicide is misunderstood by many people!!!!! It is rarely, if ever, committed to hurt anyone else, rather to end the pain that someone is feeling themselves.

  276. says

    In my son’s case he was 33 years old and had suffered with Bipolar for several years. He had reached the point where his psychiatrist was out of options on medications. As per my Son. They had tried all meds and combinations and therapy too. He had indicated his psychiatrist did not know what to try on meds anymore. His Bipolar was so out of control it was no longer my son. I hated it and wanted to get him in the rehab for help. But he was married and his wife did not think it was nessary. That day he went and took an old lawn chair in the back yard after putting his dogs in the bathroom, took that shotgun my Father left him in his will that his wife was supposed to have gotten rid of and shot himself in the chest…IT WAS NOT MY SON!!!! That was Bipolar that pulled that trigger and killed him, NOT MY SON!!! IT WAS NOT HIS CHOICE…BIPOLARS!!!!

  277. Jean says

    This was so eloquently put. I am with an organization Wellness in the Woods in MN and do suicide prevention and so love this post.

  278. Kimberly says

    Thank you so much for posting, my uncle committed suicide back in 2002, later I was told he went looking for help also and was turned away and later shot himself. I was in 7th grade at the time and had no idea the state he was at. I wished I had and could have helped or tried getting him help. I wish they couldn’t turn someone away like if a dying person goes to a hospital but they don’t have money to pay they have to treat them. If someone is seeking help then they shouldn’t be turned away because they are full they can’t say come back later because there may not be a later. Have you looked into this to save future lives?

  279. Annette says

    Thank you for this article, I lost my husband to suicide on October 25th 2016. I saw the spiral of depression, I begged for him to go to the Doctor. He would pretend things were ok but finally the pain was just too much for him to bare. We were being evicted from our restored rock lake cabin that he restored himself, we owned the home but the leases for the land had been going on since the 1920s. Stan Kroenke the owner of the L.A Rams purchased the Waggoner ranch and evicted everyone. My husband grew up playing on this lake, his Grandmother lived here until her death at age 95. His Aunt and Uncle who are 73 and 76 years old were loosing 2 homes here. He felt the pain of all of the people here. He loved the Deer and the Raccoons and the birds. He fed everything. I miss him so much His Memorial service is the 19th. I feel his presence around me like his Spirit is watching over me. I signed a lease today on a Duplex. Now this Rock cabin no longer feels like my sanctuary due to my husbands death. I will always love him, even though I know he is in Spirit form now, I know that he still loves me too. Things have moved, pictures have fallen off of the walls, my wedding ring went missing only to show up in the middle of our bed. The body dies but the Spirit lives eternally. A friend sent me this article..

  280. Paul says

    Thank you for the healing wisdom of your story. I lost a co-worker/friend to suicide a few years ago. I have had depression and severe physical pain most of my 67 years, with no relief from multiple antidepressants and pain medications, and have often thought of suicide as a way out. Remembering the painful aftermath of my friend’s suicide for his family and friends has turned me away from suicide many times since.

    I’ve heard people say that suicide is a “cheap” way out of problems, that it is “a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. That is a gross misunderstanding of suicide and what leads people to it, and trivializes their pain. The human spirit has an incredibly strong will to survive. To commit suicide is extremely difficult. It first requires intense physical or mental pain to drive someone to it, then requires that a person commit severe bodily harm to him/her self. Think about that. Suicide is not easy. Then, our so-called mental health system is ineffectual in providing help when it is needed. As you mentioned, Jay tried to gain admission to the hospital three times, only to be sent home. He was not rushing headlong into suicide; he was desperately seeking help.

    Realizing all this helped me to “forgive” my friend for taking his own life, although there was nothing to forgive. He committed no sin; he took the only open window available to him from the burning tower. Thank you for that metaphor. I was horrified on 9/11 to see people jumping from the windows. I supposed they likely were severely burned already and this horrible death seemed to them to be preferable to the one they were already dying. Suicide is like that.

    Jay’s bishop seems to be a wise, caring, and understanding man. His comment that “Christ did not call Jay home in this manner. But I can testify that He did welcome him home.” reminded me that in everything we are called to respond with grace and love, even to those who commit suicide.

    Thank you for writing this in June 2014. It has reached out to me 2-1/2 years later and brought much healing.

  281. Kassie says

    Someone posted this article in a support group. I feel I saw it for a reason. My brother left me almost a year ago. June 29th. It feels like yesterday. I cry every single day. I’m not religious and I feel lost without faith to keep me strong. I believe, just not as strongly as others and the way it helps them get up each day and continue to live life and celebrate the years the had with their loved one. I envy them. I’m completely fine with my comment not being shown, but I did want to say thank you. I never thought he was selfish and I know he’s in heaven, but I get mad at him every day because he was the best father and left his children. Sometimes I feel selfish because I’m mad he left me. Depression runs deep in our family. It was the combination of that and pain pills for him. His youngest son’s mother was the love of his life and he felt he lost her for good because of his addiction. He was my big brother, my only sibling. My other half. We were always so close and on such bad terms in the end. I miss him so much it hurts. Aunt is my title and his kid’s have been my own since they came into this world. They will always be treasured. But again, thank you.

  282. Carol A Johnson says

    Thank you for this post. My granddaughter took her life a year ago February. She definitely had a survivor mentalisty. She was an over achiever all her life. But like many over achievers sometimes life takes cruel turns, and the pain just keeps getting worse. Kris was in not only physical pain from a lifetime of teaching and performing dance, she was in emotional pain. I have tried to tell people just what this post said – that it was her way of surviving the pain. The pain had gotten so bad, that she just needed to find a way to make it stop. And no, Jesus didn’t tell her to do this, nor was this what He would have wanted, but He did welcome her with open arms. I fully understand the whole concept. When I was in my 20’s (I am now in my 80’s), I attempted to end my life. It was for this very reason – the pain had become so bad – life had become so difficult – that I just wanted to end the pain. I did not succeed. God pulled me through with no side affects. Life did not get easier, but after time, I learned that God was always there with me, regardless of the circumstances and the pain and the heartache. I miss my granddaughter terribly, as do many, many other people whose lives she touched. She left behind a beautiful 10 year old boy who remembers her as a warm, loving person whose favorite saying was “She wanted to be God’s arms outstretched.” but I would not bring her back. God chose to end her pain. We have learned from her and her life, and someday we will join her when our work here is done.

  283. says

    This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your experience and your perspective. I appreciate your openness. Last year I started a nonprofit focused on changing the way we speak and think about depression and suicide. I also had a book published on healthy healing after losing a loved one to suicide. If you’re interested in learning more or having a copy of the book donated to you, please visit my website at http://www.thelotusproject.org

    Thank you for your thoughtful and intentional message.

  284. Lewann says

    April 2018
    Your blog has been helping people for four years.
    I am saving this writing as it will be important for me to share when I am asked about my husband’s completed suicide.
    It’s been just over two years for me and while I have some tough days the majority of days are ok. So far no day has been joyful.


  285. Mike says

    Thank you so much for this post! Years later, it reached another needy recipient: me. I’ve been in your late Uncle’s place for over a decade (starting in my mid 30s), and there are days when the pain far exceeds my desire to continue. In those times, there are no thoughts of the impact on friends and family. Only escape from what feels to be otherwise inescapable. I’m doing better today than I was when I found your article in December 2017, but it’s tough going when 100% of your life is impacted and dictated by your health issues and you get to watch your friends live full lives.. You want to be there for them and not to cause them grief, but there comes a point when your own grief is too much and the future looks too bleak to contemplate. Wish I knew what I did to turn the corner last month and start coming out of the darkness, but I don’t, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing now. Thank you again for posting on the sensitive and emotional topic.

  286. Sariah Benedict says

    I lost two people to suicide. Both men were in considerable pain, although the pain was very different. One suffered physical pain from multiple injuries, and did what he could to ease the pain. He accidentally overdosed years before his actual death and always wanted to stop the pain he was in. Sad to say a little over 2 years ago he succeeded. The other couldn’t bare to be without his mom who was battling cancer. His way of coping, was by doing illegal drugs. He wanted to be with her so bad that he tried many times to stop his anguish. He also succeeded in ending his life 18 months before his uncle, who was my ex-boyfriend, ended his life.

    I know my two daughters have lost friends to suicide and have struggled to understand why.

    Thank you for sharing this. It has really helped me cope with the two suicides I’ve grieved over.


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