I would like to quote another blog that spoke about suicide, “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.”
written by, Shawna Morrissey (Eat Think and Be Merry)
I’ve been thinking about James my son-in-law all day today. Most everyone that knows our family are painfully aware that James took his life two years ago today. Suicide has become all too familiar for us especially since Jason’s death on the 19th of January was ruled a suicide by the coroner as well.
There are times when I feel that this subject for me is like a moth to a flame. I am drawn to it because of a deep need to understand why someone would choose to take their life. But looking for answers stirs up feelings that are all too painful. I miss our two son’s and the longer time goes on the more I realize how long it will be until we will meet again.
Jason and Shelly’s baby boy was a bright spot and promise that Jason’s life would continue on vicariously through him. However, that too seems to be slipping from our grasp. Shelly has felt since the moment she knew she was expecting that something was not right.
We gave one of our two cemetery plots to Shelly so that we could bury Jason next to his mother Jeanie. At the cemetery Ron and Shelly discussed Jason’s burial and the plan to have him buried deeper to make room for another casket. When the undertaker left the room Shelly turned to Ron and said, “I’m glad that we are burying Jason like that because I will be burying this baby there as well.” Ron was shocked at her comment. At first we felt that it was the grief she was dealing with at the time and we refused to believe anything was wrong with the baby. But as the weeks and months have progressed Shelly’s gnawing feelings became stronger and more intense.
Her fears were confirmed a few weeks ago as the doctors performed several ultrasounds discovering serious defects. Shelly and our daughter-in-law Amanda went into visit with the doctor. We were so grateful that Amanda who is a genetics counselor, was willing to be with Shelly as they talked with her doctor.
The prognosis is “Arthrogryposis” congenital joint contractures. The joints don’t move as much as normal and may be stuck in one position. Amanda helped us understand that it meant Jason and Shelly’s baby has multiple deformities and has little chance of surviving past birth.
I really did not want this post to be so full of hard things. Gratefully Ron and I are both optimists and rarely fail to find the silver lining and although it took longer to find anything positive about the condition of our 25th grandchild, but here are a couple of thoughts that we have had…
First, if this baby is to return “home” after birth, then it is God’s will. Their baby boy will return as perfect as he came into the world and I can’t help but wonder, “Could this child be the help that Jason needs on the other side?” So many unanswered questions… Our hearts and prayers go out to Shelly as she makes sense of what life has dealt her. She is incredibly strong and amazes us each day as we watch her face the latest battle and we stand by ready to help at a moments notice.
Recently we received deeper thoughts about suicide that have brought a measure of comfort and understanding. Brooke Stoker Andreason one of our daughters shared the blog “Eat Think Be Merry” (The quote at the beginning of my post was theirs as well). The post called, “A Perspective on Suicide” was surprisingly comforting to me. Shawna Morrissey qouted a talk at her Uncle’s funeral who died of 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.”
She continues by saying,
“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.”
In conclusion I want to add the importance of our being aware of suicide warning signs and taking action when we sense someone is in danger of taking their life: Suicide Warning Signs
And lastly, I want to share these words from Shawna,
“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.”
So beautifully written! Her words have given me comfort and the knowledge that our two guardian angels have found that peace they could not find in this life. I’d like to believe that R.I.P. means Return If Possible and believe that they do watch over and protect.
I believe that I am not alone as I have struggled to understand this painful subject. Please share your thoughts with us!