The other day I came across an article that someone had written about the words they wish they could have said to their friend who died from suicide. It was a heartfelt tribute to that person, but it got me to thinking:
There are also words that need to be heard by those who have been on the other side of it. The ones who have lost someone in this way. It is not as talked about, but so important.
All too often the blame and guilt of somebody committing suicide falls on others.
In some people’s minds suicide is the fault of the friends and family who must not have loved the person enough. I myself have encountered this. When a close friend of mine died, there were strangers telling me personally that we could have stopped it if we just loved him more. This could not be further from the truth, and these people had not the slightest clue how loved this person was, and how truly they knew that.
In the minds of other people it is the fault of every person who ever bullied or harmed the person. They try to find the last person who may have talked to them or dig up the last hurtful comment that was made and say that it pushed them over the edge.
But to say that it’s anyone’s fault at all treats it like something it isn’t. The truth is that sometimes regardless of all the love or hate in the world, a person’s mind is not in the right place in that moment and they make a split second decision that they cannot ever take back. It is heartbreaking and awful and life changing for everyone left behind. Though it may help lighten the grief momentarily, it changes nothing and ultimately helps no one to try and pin that on anybody.
So to everyone out there who has ever had someone close to them commit suicide, I want to tell you:
You are enough.
These are words that are usually reserved for what people wish they could have gotten through to their loved ones, but they are so very deeply needed by those left behind as well.
I was almost into my teenage years when my dad passed away, and at times as I grew up I wondered why. I questioned why my younger sister and I were not reason enough for him to stay. I wondered passively if there was anything that could have changed whatever state of mind he was in when he chose that. As an adult I still wish it would have been different but I understand that, as my mom put it when I was younger, he was sick. In his mind, at that moment, nothing mattered but ending the pain he felt.
Just last year a close friend of mine left this earth the morning after his birthday. I read deeply hateful comments and received messages to my friends and I coming from people who did not know him or any of us saying that we were horrible people not to have loved him enough that he would stay. It shook me, but I wasn’t fooled for a second. Shortly before he died he sent us all a message saying how much we meant to him. He knew. He just couldn’t bear to stay. Remember that the people making negative comments do not truly know your situation, or the depth of your love for the person you will always carry in your heart.
If you have read this far, please know that you have every right to feel all the frustration, anger, deep sadness and injustice that your loved one was ripped from you so suddenly and far too soon. You have every right to feel the loss of this person and the memories crash around you in waves sometimes more than others as time goes by. And you will. But please don’t drown. Be held up by faith if that’s what grounds you. Be held up by those around you who know your loss and feel it too. Be held up by the knowledge that you were and still are an amazing friend, sibling, parent, child, significant other or anything that you represented to that person. Whatever you believe happens to a soul after death, know that they are no longer in the pain that haunted them here on earth. They would never want you to go a day doubting that you did the best you could for them. They do not blame you.
You are enough.