Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Offer You Peace

So this was basically therapy for myself to help me get through the pain of my nephew committing suicide. I thought that I would post this incase there is someone out there that it can help.

I miss my nephew so much it hurts. I think of him every day as I bend over to kiss my young boys on the head. I think of his smile as I whisper I love you in their little ears. I remember his laugh when I tickle them and they giggle happily.
It wasn’t long ago that we splashed in the lake, kayaking and laughing like there was no tomorrow. It is one of the happiest family reunions we have attended, and a memory that I cherish. Tomorrow came for me, but not for my nephew. More than a year ago, my nephew, a bright young man with a contagious smile and generous spirit, committed suicide. I miss him. There is a pain that comes with losing a loved one to suicide that is indescribable.
My nephew DJ was 14 years old when he committed suicide. He would have been 16 this month. He would be dating and driving, and causing his parents a little teenage grief. But his life, like so many others, was cut short in a split second. One bad decision, was all that it took to end the life of my sweet nephew.
Now our entire family is left to wonder. We ask ourselves so many unanswered questions.
Why did he do it? I don’t know. I don’t think that anyone will ever know for sure, except for him.
I have come to the realization that he must have been in such a dark and terrible place. The pain must have just been unbearable. I don’t know what that pain was, though I wish I did. I don’t know what sorrows lay heavy on his heart, though I wish I could have eased that burden. There is so much regret and pain. So many things “I should have said” or “I should have done”. I will live with that for the rest of my life.
Will he go to hell? No, He won’t.
I know our God is a merciful God, a just God, a kind and a loving God. He is also a father who has lost a son. Would a merciful, loving, kind father abandon a child who has made a mistake? I tell you no.
Mind you, this was the most monumental mistake he made in his entire life.
One mistake, no matter the enormity, does not erase a lifetime of kindness, of good, of love. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my father in heaven has forgiven my nephew and has accepted him into his loving arms. I have felt witness of this. He is ok.
I know that he is on the other side, that he understands the gravity of what he has done. Would take it back if he could? I know that he would. I am certain that he feels the same agony in his soul. I know that he must be sorrowful and miss our family as much as we miss him. I know that he’s cheering for us, hoping that we’ll all live in a way that we’ll be able to be together again as a family.
Will I get to see him again? I know that I will.
I have spent much time in prayer asking for answers and much time in researching. There is not much written on the topic of suicide. People don’t often speak of it. It’s not something that is pretty or comfortable to talk about. It is much easier to cover it up and pretend it’s not there, but this is a growing epidemic.
According to the National Center For Health Statistics, 32, 637 people committed suicide in the US in 2005.
There have been more than 5 million suicide deaths worldwide in this new century alone reports the World Health Organization. This is more than number of deaths caused by war and homicide combined.
The organization estimates there are 10-20 times more suicide attempts than deaths.
There is an added pain for those of us who have lost loved ones to suicide. Part of the grieving process is being able to talk about the ones that we love that have passed on. When someone dies of a disease or terminal condition, you read their cause of death in the newspaper. People talk about it. There is closure. When a loved one dies as a result of suicide, it becomes a dark secret that many family members feel they must hide.
“I love my nephew. I ache that he is gone. He committed suicide,” there is healing in that.
How can we prevent suicide? We need to let our sons and our daughters know that it is ok to feel, it is ok to cry. Sons need not be ashamed of their emotions. It is okay to cry, that is healthy. It is okay to have sorrow. Life is full of sorrow, of disappointment. It is also full of joy, of happiness, of peace and love. Things may be bad now, but it will get better.
We need to communicate with our children. We need to open a dialogue with them while they are still young. So when they are in the darkest, deepest most awful place in their life, they have a place to turn.
We need to teach our children about the miracle of forgiveness; the amazing gift of the atonement, through which we can all be saved. They need to understand that there is always hope, the Lord will always love them, and they can find forgiveness for their sins through the gift of repentance.
All is not lost, there is hope. Satan wants us to believe that we are unworthy to use the atonement, that we are too far gone, that there is no hope. There is nothing further from the truth. Jesus died for all of us. There are none so far gone that our savior can’t reach.

1 comment:

Misty and The Choatester said...

You have such a strong testimony. Thank you for sharing it. You have such a great positive outlook on life that I so appreciate in a friend. What a hard ordeal for a family to go through.