It’s been an emotional week, and emotions are usually not easy for me to deal with. I’ve cried as I remember, but I’ve also been filled with hope. Reading Misty’s words that she has written me over the years fills my heart, it encourages me now just as much as it did back then. But as I’ve already said, I wish she could have spoken those same encouraging words into her own breaking heart.
I’ve also spent far too much time doubting my own grief this week. Misty was so much more to me than “just a mentor;” but she also wasn’t MY mom or MY daughter or MY sister. Do I really have the right to miss her so much? This came up during a conversation with my best friend; she is the daughter of a mom who died by suicide. She assured me that it’s okay to be sad, and then it was kind of like, duh. Of course it is. I’m not pretending to even begin to know how it feels to lose a parent, or child, or sibling – but I can accept my own grief and pain.
Inevitably, this time of year also gets me thinking about my own personal experience with suicide. I have attempted to take my life twice. Once in 2011, once in 2015. Those experiences have forever changed me. I know for a fact that when someone is in the midst of that deep pain and hopelessness, they’re not thinking about the pain that will be left behind for those that love them. Instead, they honestly believe that their pain is never going to end, and that everyone else will be better off without them. I’ve heard so many people say how selfish suicide is, and in a way I can agree. But at the same time, these people don’t believe that their absence is going to negatively affect anyone else. In fact, they may even whole-heatedly believe that people will be relieved that they’re gone, if they even notice at all.
We need to stop judging the thoughts and motivations of those who die by suicide, it is not our place. No one truly knows their stories, their struggles, their thoughts, their hearts… all we do know for sure is that they’re no longer in pain. Instead of jumping to conclusions, we need to continue reducing the stigma surrounding suicide, and mental health in general, and provide more safe places for people to be honest and be themselves. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 123 people die by suicide each day in the US alone. Enough is enough.
For everyone that has lost their life to suicide, let’s not let them die in vain. Be kind, be love to someone who may not know it otherwise.