The truth is I used to hate the word suicide. I used to think it was a cop out for putting in the hard work. I thought it was a word people threw out when they didn’t want to deal with the consequences of their actions. It was a threat I’d heard too many times to believe. I used to say there was no forgiveness for something that selfish. There was no grace for that kind of end.
Three years ago, however, I realized how wrong I was. I witnessed the kind of pain it takes to push someone to that threat, to that attempt. I saw the kind of brokenness that keeps closing in, covering every glimpse of light in a life. I watched hopelessness become a reality. I saw the most important person in my life begin to lose the battle.
I watched doctors try to medicate it. I listened to psychiatrists deem her a lost cause. I saw her ripped apart by the evil parts of this world. I listened to her say there is no where to go; no one to understand; no one could ever possibly overcome her kind of pain. I heard her sobs of loneliness, even though I was right there. I heard her desire for love, that I couldn’t alone fill. I saw her will to fight, and then I saw her strength disappear.
I wish I would have been able to save her; been able to love her back. I wish I could have made her see no one else can play her part. Despite my own fight, that day, that most painful day came. She was gone.
I wasn’t angry. I didn’t blame her. I didn’t think of her as selfish. I didn’t think of her as a coward. Instead, I just missed her. I just wished the world would have taken her in its arms sooner. I wished we all wouldn’t have been too busy, too tired, too afraid to do the hard work. I wished we would have been able to feed into her, to make her believe she mattered, to find the people who could help her. I wished we would have validated her, tried harder to see life through her eyes. I wished suicide wasn’t our story.
But here I am, over two years later, putting this word to paper for the first time since that day.
There has been a part of me listening to a voice inside my head telling me that as long as I didn’t say this word, it wouldn’t be real. A voice that said keep moving, keep going places where instead of the truth you could say she died of cancer. Cancer doesn’t bring the judgement that losing someone to suicide does. Cancer isn’t a choice, so there can be no one blame. You can’t be held responsible for cancer. Cancer doesn’t mean the image of perfection that was falsely built up around you comes shattering down in the rumors of a small town. I let that voice allow the shame that led to her suicide live on in me; in a way I let that voice tell me to be ashamed of her story.
But today I am taking a stand against that voice because this is her story and this is mine. I didn’t choose suicide, but it is part of who I am. It is part of my journey. And I am not ashamed of my mothers story. I am ashamed that we as humanity run away from this word, as if we don’t all have a role to play in its existence. I am ashamed that we don’t fight harder to protect those battling the reality of mental health issues. I am ashamed that we don’t choose love.
So as I continue down this journey, I hope I can use our story to bring light into other people’s darkness. I hope I can show others that they are not alone. I hope I can inspire others to pour out love, grace, and compassion. And I hope more than anything that through our story, the world will see that love always wins.