Category Archives: suicide

Grace and Peace to You

I attend a church small group on Thursday evenings. The church and the small group are both fairly new to me, but they are a good place to be. Last night, as we were sharing prayer requests, one lady shared that a co-worker had taken his own life after being laid-off from his job. The gentleman was in his early 30’s with a wife and two children. One of the small group members made the comment that the holidays are an especially difficult time for some people – more so when they experience a loss during the season (job loss, death of a loved one, etc.).

This may be your first holiday season after a divorce or you may be enduring a difficult marriage. Your children may be grown and married, or they may still be young enough to need your guidance. Your spouse or your ex may be a jerk who makes holidays horrible. I have known the pain of a difficult marriage, of living with a passive aggressive narcissist, of trying to hold things together for the sake of the children. I know how hard it can be. I contemplated suicide several times during that difficult time in my life.

My best friend often reminded me of my children, of my dogs, of those who love me. Rascal Flatts sings a song, “Why”. Part of the chorus is, “Who told you life wasn’t worth the fight/They were wrong, they lied.” There is no place so bad that it is not worth fighting to get out of. Life is precious and beautiful and worth living. Grace and peace to you if you are struggling this holiday season. I pray for God to place His gentle hand on your shoulder and let you know everything will be ok. After all, He promises to never, never, never leave nor forsake us.

May I prescribe a dose of “The Muppets Christmas Carol” and a mug of hot chocolate? May God bless you this holiday season. May you know the reality of His presence. May you know the Love that sent Christ to this earth as a small, helpless babe. Stay tuned. . . .

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I Was the Victim of Bullying

The year was 1972 and my parents had just moved our family back to Arizona from Ohio. My school-aged siblings and I were enrolled in a religious school – grades K-8. I remember that every morning, all the children in the school would file out of our classrooms, stand in two lines, face the flagpole and recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the Hail Mary. I was in 5th grade.

Fifth grade wasn’t too bad for me. The trouble started in 6th grade. Joey Polanski and his cohorts decided it was a good idea to relentlessly harass me. They would call me names, steal a basketball I had brought to school for recess, and in general, make life miserable for me. I told my parents, but was told, “Just tell them, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.'” Really??!! That was the solution? The teasing continued in 7th grade with Mike Hayes and his buddies joining in on ‘the fun’. Eighth grade was a blur because my mom had my little sister halfway through the school year.

I homeschooled my children for seven years. When they finally went to public school, I told them that if they were ever bullied, to let me know and I would be down at the school office in a heartbeat. I wanted to let my children know I would defend them because my parents never defended me.

My parents knew about the bullying, my teachers knew about the bullying, the school principal knew about the bullying, and yet, nothing was ever done. I was deemed “too sensitive” and it was thought that I should grow a backbone, or a pair of balls, or learn character from the relentless bullying. Instead, it brought thoughts of suicide, running away and abandonment. I guess in a way, the years of shame at the hands of those boys did make me a little stronger. In those days, nearly 45 years ago, bullying was seen as something that built character in the bullied. I disagree. It builds fear, anxiety and low self esteem.

Nothing was done to Joey and his Band of Brothers because he was from one of the most prominent families in the church community. At that time, I was sacrificed on the altar of  “Don’t make waves”. To this day, nothing makes me more angry than to hear about bullying, or to hear my mom talk about the friendship she has with Joey’s mom (I believe his dad has since passed on). Yes, I guess I need to “get over it” and yes, that experience did shape who I am today. However, I will never just stand by and let someone be bullied. Stay tuned. . . .

Live the Adventure

I was just reading a blog about a cat named Hippie Chick who lives the “right foot life” – a.k.a., chill and don’t sweat the small stuff. JB, Hippie Chick’s owner, was blogging about a painting she had received last year. The painting was made from a photograph of JB and one of her good friends at lunch. JB went on to say that a great deal has changed since that photograph, the primary thing being that her friend had committed suicide.

In September of 2009, the country group Rascal Flatts, released the album, “Unstoppable”.  On that album, there is a song entitled “Why”. One of the phrases in the song is:

Oh why there’s no comprehending
And who am I to try to judge or explain
Oh, but I do have one burning question
Who told you life wasn’t worth the fight
They were wrong
They lied
And now you’re gone
And we cried

Read more: Rascal Flatts – Why Lyrics | MetroLyrics

In explaining why they chose to cut this song, members of the group said they had each been touched by suicide. I, too, have been touched by an attempted suicide. In October of 2007, my ex husband tried to kill both him and me by thinking he was going to jump out of a moving vehicle on the freeway. Again, in December of 2009, he attempted suicide and ended up in a mental facility for a few days. What causes people to think suicide is the only way out? In the words of Rascal Flatts, “Who told you life wasn’t worth the fight?”

For some, there is no other answer than to end their lives. For others, an attempted suicide is a cry for attention – something is going wrong, they need help to be able to cope with the circumstances of their lives. Take a moment to be aware of those in your sphere of influence. Are they exhibiting any of the following?

  • Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
  • Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

If you find yourself in any  one of the afor-mentioned situations, please seek help. Life is worth the fight! I mentioned something one time to a good friend of mine – I had been so depressed about my divorce. Through tears, she told me, “Just think of who you would leave behind – your children, your family, Cycle Dude and the two little beating hearts of your four-legged children.” I cannot leave behind those who love me and who I love.

Life has its good and bad times – that’s just the nature of the beast. But life is an adventure! Each day there is something new and wonderful to discover. I often wake up to a “Woof!” and a cold black nose in my face. I never know when I take the dogs out what kind of day will greet me – a beautiful spring dawn filled with the songs of a hundred birds, a cloudy day grace by the gentle rain, etc. Each day is a gift, an adventure! We are to love one another well, give one another grace and compassion and encourage one another along the road called Life. Live the adventure! Stay tuned. . . .