It Only Takes One Life to Save Another

Today turned out to be an all day, siesta day. No housework or cooking for this gal. The weatherman said temps were going to reach upwards of 97 degrees with a RealFeel of 101, so I gathered my supplies and headed up to my room. The living room was already starting to feel like someone breathing down the back of my neck, so I opted for riding out the heat, perched on my bed, with the small, GE air conditioner cranking away. I figured I had vodka and cranberry juice, a big, bag of ice in the deep freeze, cable and my laptop to keep boredom at bay, so why the hell not? Am loving the life of leisure.

I made it through my first week alone. (It looks like it’s going to be the first of many, as the Old Man really seems to like his new job.) I admit, I missed him more than I thought I was going to and was happy when he crept in Friday morning, but of course, this excitement was short-lived. Like most males he has the attention span of a preschooler. And like most preschoolers that find a toy they haven’t played with for a while, he too was eager to play with his toy for a bit, but then quickly realized why he had tired of it before, and found something more distracting to occupy his time after for the rest of the weekend. ((sigh)) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss the days when I was a trophy wife.

It was just as well; Saturday I wasn’t up to snot and not fit for human interaction. Nursing old wounds, you might say. Saturday was Beth’s 48th birthday. A birthday that now comes and passes with no fanfare, gifts, calls, or well wishes. A birthday that is all but forgotten by many, and only remembered by those who knew her well and loved her most. I got through it by drinking many cocktails while curled up in a chair watching old episodes of “My So-Called Life” on Netflix. I mean HOURS worth! I don’t know why. Maybe because it reminded me of a time when the two, older kids were still in school, Markie was still a toddler, life was simpler, and Beth was still alive and apt to spring a weekend visit on me unexpectedly. I miss those times. I miss her.

Suicide is never far from my thoughts, because of the missing her part, though I wish it were. Once it was all I could think of because my own life seemed without purpose, the future looked bleak, and ending it seemed a far better idea than coping with the daily pain. Now it’s ever present, because I can’t shake the realization of what her death did to me and all those that love her. I find irony in the fact that it took her death to make me want to live. I find great sadness in the fact that the fight never seems to be over.

This senseless kind of tragedy hit close to home again just last week. This time I was spared the pain of losing someone I love, but my daughter was not. I was reminded of the initial shock of hearing about Beth’s untimely death, the crippling feeling of uselessness that overcame me when speaking with her children, and the agony of knowing she was gone and was never coming back that followed for months that turned into the last several years, when my daughter called. I listened, holding my breath, while between sobs she explained that her friend, Tony, had just taken his life. This friend had been a vital part of her life. He had been a vital part of my grandchildren’s lives. He was my daughter’s fiancés, best friend. She wanted answers, as I once had. Why would an outgoing, wonderful, young man of 28, who had many friends, a small child, and the whole world ahead of him want to die, she wanted to know. My only answer was that it wasn’t so much that he wanted to die as he no longer wanted to live. With suicide there are no answers, only more questions. The best a survivor can hope for is to continuing moving forward in spite of them.

This week I intend to repost “The Aftermath of Suicide” that I wrote for Beth’s birthday last year. This I do again in memory of her, and now for Tony as well. This I do in the hope that if another is contemplating this as a solution, they may read it and choose life instead.

Be a friend. If someone is threatening suicide…get involved. If you suspect someone is thinking about suicide…get involved. It only takes a moment to ask them a question. It only takes a hug to let them know they are not alone. It only takes one life to save another.  

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8 Comments on “It Only Takes One Life to Save Another”

  1. daisyfae says:

    so sorry. felt the peripheral sting of senseless suicide last year (16 year old son of a friend). there are no answers… only a metric shitload of pain that will likely never go away completely…

    • Oh, Daisyfae…I can’t imagine the pain that the parents of that child are dealing with. I would have to say that would be the hardest suicide of all to bear. I know what losing my best friend did to me, so my heart truly goes out to them. I personally don’t think that is a pain that I could endure. The only thing that means anything in this life to me are my children. I shudder to think of life without one of them…

  2. Oh Lou,
    I am so sorry. One thing is, you know your daughter’s pain, and you can help her through this too. Yall can save each other, and lean on each shoulder. Treasure the time that yall can bond through this, and keep your glass full. I know drinking can numb the feelings, for I have been there before.
    My cousin killed himself just a few years ago, it is something I don’t understand, and probably never will. The investigation is kinda up in the air, as the years rolled passed. I don’t think our family will ever know what truly happened since his girlfriend was there.
    Hang in there Mama and I raise a toast for you. Write when you feel lost or hopeless, for it is the followers that will lift you up. I have learned this too.
    Love you Mama Lou

    • Thanks, Honey. Yes, it’s bittersweet that I know firsthand about this kind of tragedy and can help her through it. She’s doing alright with it though. I just think it’s something that takes wisdom, time, and patience to get through.

  3. Carol says:

    My heart lurched as I read your post and came to the part about your daughter’s friend. I lost a friend to suicide many years ago. She had been visiting with me just the night before and for a long time I lived with the guilt of not having recognized where her depression was leading her. Nine months later we also lost our adopted daughter. She hadn’t been living near us for several years so the guilt wasn’t the same, but I learned a lot of things afterwards that I wish I’d known before. I would have done many things differently while she was growing up, altho’ I doubt it would have changed her story’s ending.

    Yes, depression is very hard to understand. I know that it can alter how our brain functions. One thing I’ve learned is that we are not responsible for the choices others make. We can encourage them, even urge them, but can’t force them into accepting help. In fact, my friend was in counselling and on meds when she made her decision. I think it’s a wonderful idea to repost your article… and to let people know how such choices affect those who are left behind to cope.

    Virtual hugs to both you and your daughter.

    • Thank you, Carol.
      I admit, I thought I was past a lot of the pain that was associated with losing Beth, until my daughter lost her friend. It felt like it reopened an old wound. Those old feelings of ‘guilt’ began creeping in again, and I had to remind myself that I’m only one person, I couldn’t be everywhere at once, and was definitely not a mind reader. I didn’t have the luxury of her reaching out to me this last time. Had she, maybe things would have turned out differently.
      Suicide is such a horrible, permanent solution to problems that are usually temporary. I just hope that by posting this again it might remind others that suicide is far from a solution for ending misery, but is in fact, just the beginning of more.

  4. Thank you. Next to losing a child–which I am truly thankful is something that I’ve never had to bear–losing someone you love dearly to suicide, I believe, is one of life’s hardest losses to cope with. There’s so much guilt, second-guessing, blame, and unresolved issues that fall into play after. And the worst, it seems, are when it’s the cases where prevention seems impossible, because there are few signs that the victim is even thinking about it…which is what occurred in my daughters, friend’s case.
    I’m glad you were able to get involved and spared others this kind of pain. It’s always such a senseless tragedy when it occurs.

  5. I am so very, very sorry for your loss and your daughter’s loss. I have family and friends who have lost their children, and nobody can fully understand that pain unless they’ve been through it. I’m sending you a BIG, virtual hug. Someone very close to me was suicidal, and I am grateful that I knew it and extremely fortunate I could get involved in finding treatment for them. I’m grateful that they overcame their depression, a horrible, horrible illness. If someone breaks an arm or has a blatantly physical illness, people can wrap their heads around that. Depression is so difficult to understand. Like suicide.

    With sympathy,
    AA