I used to think that people who committed suicide were selfish. I never thought about the mental state they must be in, or how hopeless their life must seem. I never thought beyond the act. What causes someone to take their own life? Especially someone who has a family that they love, and who loves them?
We recently lost a friend who took his own life. To say that my husband and I (and our whole community for that matter) were shocked would be an understatement. We all knew he was having problems at home, but this was a person who always had a smile on his face and always volunteered his time. No one ever realized how hurt he was inside. He had many, many friends. What surprises me is that no one knew how painful his life was. My husband and I saw him the day before he died, he was with his family out in the yard and we had no idea anything was wrong. The next morning he left at 8 am to go to a meeting (like he did every week), but drove to a desolate spot and killed himself. Several people saw him that morning and had no idea what he intended to do. Lots of people saw him the night before and said he was in good spirits, laughing and joking all night.
His family was understandably devastated. As I watched them at the funeral all I could think of was how they must be feeling. How sad they are going to be without him. He has a brand new grandbaby who is only a few weeks old, and another one is on the way in a few months. They are going to grow up without him. How could he do that to them? Did he really think they were better off without him?
As I watched them during the funeral all I could think was that his actions told them that they were not enough. Their love was not enough. His problems were bigger than they were. His problems were more important than them.
I know that is not how he truly felt, but his actions spoke otherwise.
I don't really understand suicide. I know what it's like to be depressed, I even know what it's like to feel hopeless. Deep, endless hopelessness with nothing to look forward to... It's a scary place to be.
But I never wanted to hurt myself. I never even thought about it.
Because my family is enough.
They are enough to keep me going. For me to want to be alive. Even when I wasn't really enjoying life, I still loved them.
That was enough for me.
I wish it had been enough for my friend.