Last week, I read a headline that said, “Double Family Suicide” and my heart ached for a family who first lost a son and then a father to such tragedy… even as I remembered my own experiences with sadness.
When I was seventeen years old, my step sister committed suicide, and even though I didn’t know her very well, as we only met a few times… and even though she was much older than I am, and we didn’t have anything in common that I know of… I did love her, and her death, especially to suicide… was devastating for me.
I didn’t understand… even though I also did. I couldn’t comprehend why she would do this… especially as she seemed really happy and to have everything… a job she enjoyed, a husband she loved, a home, a car… and family.
Things change… and life can throw lots at us when we least expect it.
There was no “suicide note” …or letter of explanation… or any reason why. Even though I felt I knew why?
I may never really know why.
I had two friends at school… who went home to find a parent had committed suicide… both in the same way.
When I was in Standard 6 (Grade 8), a friend in our group went home to find her mom hanging from the garage roof by a rope… and my 14 year old friend, cut the rope so her much younger sister wouldn’t see their mom that way. The devastation to their family was beyond words to describe… and a single working Dad, had to put his two girls into boarding school.
Early in my Matric year, at another school, another friend went home to find his Dad had hung himself in the garage… and he also decided to cut his Dad down, rather than letting his younger siblings and his mom see him that way.
My friends at the time… were angrier at the reasons why, keeping the deep hurt and sadness at bay.
Money… financial loss… bankruptcy.
At the time… insurance still paid out in the event of suicide.
I know that each of my friends, wanted their parent… rather than the financial security their deaths provided.
I may never know why my step sister committed suicide… I have long found peace, as it’s been 35 years, and I hope one day I’ll be able to tell her I love her.
I lost touch with my school friends… as often happens, however I do think of them… and hope they have found peace and happiness.
Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for young people, in South Africa.
And suicide of adult men is about 70% higher than that of women. (2012 stats).
Headlines. Fact Sheets. Statistical Reports.
These don’t actually mean anything… except to make us more aware of that one person who decided life was so bad… so terrible… it wasn’t worth living anymore.
No more sunsets.
No more sunrises.
No more family dinners.
No more love, laughter and life.
Maybe there’s also no more anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, heartache, despair, loss…. and the other deep emotions that cause us pain and struggle.
Maybe because of my own struggles with depression and negative emotions and feelings, I have more understanding and empathy… I hope I do.
I hope that we see in those we love the struggle they have, and remember to be kind, loving and gentle.
I hope that even when those we love… and those we don’t even know… are grouchy, grumpy and even rude, we are the opposite, realising we can make a difference with the little things we do and say.
A friendly hello.
A genuine, “How are you?”
And that we actually listen to… and hear their reply.
Feeling with empathy all they don’t say.
Love and Blessings
- I found this article “Suicide and the Selfishness Stigma” by Laura Barton, very insightful, and well worth reading. Read More
- The South African Depression and Anxiety Group www.sadag.org
- Their Resource Link for “Suicide”.
SADAG to talk on behalf of a loved one, colleague, or friend.
Trained counsellors are there to help and refer you to local counsellors, facilities and Support Groups.0800 21 22 23 (8am to 8pm)
0800 12 13 14 (8pm to 8am)
Or SMS 31393.
- The South African Depression and Anxiety Group Facebook page