For Those Left Behind After Suicide

foggy

This post is written for those of you who have been left behind. Those who have suffered the loss of a child. A brother. A sister. A parent. A friend. Those who endlessly carry the emotional devastation that comes when you lose someone whom you love to suicide.

***

Delilah’s beautiful and kind voice comes through my radio every year as Christmas approaches. This sweet soul has helped countless people to work through their hurts in hope of making their holidays a little brighter.  I was heart-broken to read that she lost her own son a few days ago to suicide. As a parent, I don’t know how you are able to keep breathing when this happens to you. I deeply honor each person who continues to do so after suicide has stolen your love out of your arms and out of your life.

Two decades ago, I walked the path of a young adult drowning in the darkness of depression. I tried to end my life and very nearly succeeded. In a moment of true divine intervention, I survived. I am going to try to put a voice to the misguided perspective that I held up until that moment. I don’t pretend to speak for everyone who has made this choice. Not in the slightest. But I can tell you that these were my genuine beliefs then, and I have since heard the same from others who also survived those darkest of hours. I am going to attempt to respond to the question that people so often ask whenever someone whom they love commits suicide.

How could you leave me?

It was never about leaving you. It was about forgetting the pain. Ending the darkness. Releasing the weight. It was about not wanting to hurt anymore. I couldn’t ever be normal and my inability to do that made your life much harder than it needed to be. I thought that my struggles made your life more difficult than you deserved. I knew that you would hurt a great deal when you lost me, but I also believed that you would heal with time. Depression clouded my perception of reality, so it made sense to me that you would be so much happier without me and my problems. I frustrated everyone around me no matter what I did. I always messed everything up. After I was gone, you wouldn’t have to spend money on medicines or treatments for me. You wouldn’t have to waste anything else trying to fix something that was unfixable. It would never get better. I would never get better. In the long run, it was the best choice for everybody.

That was what I thought.

But it wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.  Suicide is the last choice anyone would ever wish for their loved one to make.

The people whom I believed would have been better off without me would have given every cent they had to spend one more day with me. They would have sacrificed their own lives in a second if it would have meant saving mine. They would cry for years and years, and although the tears might slow, they would never stop coming. When your heart is stolen from you, you never fully recover from that loss.

I would have sacrificed a million beautiful experiences. My children wouldn’t have been born to bless the world with their spectacular light. I would have cheated my nieces and nephews out of having the biggest bad ass of an aunt EVER (graded on a sliding scale from awesome to hell yeah!). My husband wouldn’t ever have learned what it could be like to be simultaneously loved and nagged into insanity. Also he would probably still be walking around in those damn holey t-shirts and goofy jean shorts. Clearly that man needed me to save him, too. At a bare minimum, his wardrobe needed me desperately.

Depression does not have to be a life sentence, and even the healthiest of people struggle immensely at times. Despite what you may think you see when you look at others, there is no such thing as normal. But there is always hope, and there is always a chance for a better day to come. I understand with every fiber of my being that sometimes it REALLY doesn’t feel that way. But it’s true. Hold on a little longer. Please.

There are many directions you can take if you feel like you are going under. Seek medical advice to determine if you need pharmaceuticals to realign a chemical imbalance. Find a solid counselor who specializes in mental health diagnoses. Talk to your family and friends, or call the suicide prevention hotline to speak to people who understand how to help you find your way out of the helpless weight of the darkness. Think of anything and anyone good that you care about, and if for nothing else, stick around for the sake of not hurting them. No matter what you tell yourself, if you take your life, you will break their hearts beyond comprehension, and it will never be a better choice than your continuing to hold on.

Never give up and never give in.

Each of us is more precious than words could ever convey. You must believe that there is light behind the clouds, because even if you can’t see the sun, it is always there.

I love you truly my darling friends. Please hold on. Please don’t give in. You matter in this world. You matter to me.

Love and light to you all – Joanna

***This post was not written as a personal call for emotional support for a path I once traveled. I am truly okay now, and I’m not sad about the struggles I once faced. They made me who I am today, and I’m good with that person – hot mess queen and all. I write these entries for those whose broken hearts have become the collateral damage of this disease and for those who are currently struggling with depression. We all experience tremendous ups and down. Thankfully the darkness will disperse eventually, and life truly will get better. You just have to ride out the rough waters until it does.

If you are battling severe depression, please don’t hide what you are going through. You aren’t alone, and it does get better. Just give yourself and your life a little more time to let the clouds clear so you can find the sun again. If you feel like you are on the edge of taking your life, please get honest and please get help. You are important to someone, and if you think that you aren’t, I promise you that you are extremely important to me. If you are reading these words, they were meant for you. Even if we don’t know each other, I can tell you now that my world is infinitely better with you in it. Please hold on and please don’t leave me behind.  Love to you always – Jo

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255

 Believe

Glow

35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. foodzesty
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 11:54:29

    Huge hugs Jo

    Reply

  2. I tripped over a stone.
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 11:57:20

    I definitely have a lump in my throat! Excellently written and painful truths lie within those words, I too was at a very dark place and a phone call saved my life. It never was about leaving anyone, it was about making the pain stop… finally feeling a sense of control, however wrong that feeling was at the time. Bless you Jo!~Kim

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:04:33

      I think the thing that is so terrifying to me is that when you are in that mental place, you believe those lies that you tell yourself. The justifications that are utterly false feel like kindnesses to others. Makes me sick at my stomach for the people who spend the rest of their lives wondering what they could have done to stop it. Depression is a beast and seeing through its lies is a huge feat. I am so grateful that you are still here. I can’t imagine me without you! I love you my friend. Jo

      Reply

      • I tripped over a stone.
        Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:12:39

        Awe Jo, I’m not going nowhere! You did a beautiful job on your post and I am so very glad you didn’t end your life! To think of that man walking around in those clothes… HA! Seriously, that is why the disease of depression is so alarming, because what is irrational seems so very rational at the time. So absolutely right! I wrote about my experience on my blog called “the Alice Cooper Lesson” and I had a gal contact me who’s brother had suicided, we talked for a very long time and I firmly believe it is posts like these that will help those left behind, cope with the unimaginable. Loads of love coming your way! Brave jo. ~Kim

      • MoJo
        Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:18:42

        Please share the link to that post here. I would love to read it, and I’m sure that many others would, too.

      • I tripped over a stone.
        Oct 10, 2017 @ 16:33:04

      • MoJo
        Oct 10, 2017 @ 16:54:45

        I know multiple people who could relate tremendously to that story. I hope that countless people read your post. You are so beautiful and brave my dear friend. ❤️

      • I tripped over a stone.
        Oct 10, 2017 @ 17:09:34

        I just want to help, I was so close, and I never want any parent or loved one to receive that news. I didn’t know at the time how it would have destroyed my loved ones, I couldn’t see clearly. But now I do, so if a person can just endure, ONE more day and the next… the “right” thoughts will return. Thank you, Jo. Sincerely. It was so very hard to publish. ~Kim

      • MoJo
        Oct 10, 2017 @ 17:23:40

        That’s exactly what I thought, too.

  3. carolrolke
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:05:48

    Beautiful post.

    Reply

  4. misifusa
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:33:26

    You inspire me. Your courage, your wit and your loving soul deliver heartlit hugs to all of us. I admire you dear friend in so many ways. Thanks for lighting up our lives with your special brand of Joanna-ness. You are truly loved beyond words. xoxo

    Reply

  5. Sarah P.
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:38:59

    Joanna,
    Love you and your heart for a hurting world, so very much. I’m sad to know you ever felt such despair (and that anyone ever feels that way), but thank God you made it through and are here with those who love you today…and here to encourage others with your story.❤️ You are a bright light, Joanna.
    -🍇

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 10, 2017 @ 14:05:36

      You know that I love you dearly darling grape girl. Knowing me now, isn’t it strange to imagine that I was ever so distraught? I don’t regret that I went through all of that, but I hate what it put my family and friends through. I just hope to help someone who finds himself / herself in that place to know that it isn’t the best choice ever. I also want the ones who are left here to understand that the person was truly tricked by their twisted perspective into thinking that it was their only good option. It’s not true at all, but it seems that way when depression turns your world upside down.

      Reply

  6. Blog Andrew
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 15:09:40

    Jo you’re always a good read. 😀 Often when I read your posts I reflect on how I’d handle a wife who nags! Joking apart without sounding melodramatic some people have an inability to cope and always will, that’s just the way it is, that’s the way their cookie crumbles!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 10, 2017 @ 16:02:14

      It appears that I eat all of those cookies now so no worries there. And I drive my husband absolutely bonkers, but I suspect that there are still days when he likes having me around. I think that you would be happier with less jean shorts but the old t-shirt disposal situation would irritate the crap out of you. It’s worth it though. You’ve got someone special out there for you Andrew. She will be a very lucky girl, and I’m certain that there will never be a dull moment between the two of you. You’re a rockstar Andrew. I know that your woman is going to be a butt kicking goddess! 😉

      Reply

  7. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 15:34:26

    thank you for sharing this my wonderful amazing friend!!! You are so loved and necessary and I hate that you ever felt anything less!!! Know that you are my absolute favorite bad ass and I admire your strength, humor and good will!! I told you – you are my hero!!!!

    Reply

  8. E
    Oct 10, 2017 @ 23:48:42

    I was so sad to hear this news. You have a true gift for honoring heartache through compassion. Thank you.

    Reply

  9. whatismaria
    Oct 11, 2017 @ 01:06:58

    This was such a wonderful and heartfelt read, and reflects my thoughts on the matter as well. I no longer suffer with depression, but when I did, it felt like there was no other way out. I felt like suicide was the only option to get myself out of the hole that I was in. However, there is always light beyond the darkness and seeking out help has been of tremendous importance in my journey, not only from trained professionals, but also from friends who had no idea I was suffering until I told them. Thank you so much for spreading this message x

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 11, 2017 @ 06:22:19

      So shocking that you and I could follow similar paths on something. 😉 And yes – depression is absolutely treacherous. People may think they you are irritable or unhappy, but they don’t see the extent of the heaviness that the person is carrying. I hope that someone relates to the post and to all the comments, so they can know that they aren’t alone in it.

      Reply

  10. Playamart - Zeebra Designs
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 22:52:25

    as i do with most posts, i loaded it while at the cyber store and read it offline… wow, very powerful and genuine post, and if it can help one person, it was worth the effort… either help someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide – or to help others who have a loved one who is troubled.
    suicide has touched my life way too many times – some bailed out because of medical reasons, weary of fighting the illness, one from addiction to alcohol and gambling, but those left behind are often troubled and feel as if they let the other person down….
    there are others, however, who have quietly reached out over the years, and i picked up on their silent screams – perhaps because of others before – and later they said that perhaps my concerns helped them with their will to live/endure…. to know that someone cared. for me, if there’s any doubt, then don’t worry about seeming overly concerned – it’s best to let them know you care, than to later regret not acting on premonitions….
    so you, my dear, are letting others know that you care! thanks!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 18, 2017 @ 09:09:28

      You have the kindest soul. You make me think of another dear friend who comments here at times (Heidi). You are both so alike. Love and sunshine just radiate from you.

      I’m so very sorry that you have experienced the sadness that comes with losing someone you love in this way. Losing anyone is always extremely difficult, but the loss becomes exponentially harder when you wonder if maybe you could have done something different that would have stopped it. It’s not that you really could, but it’s hard not to ask the question.

      I pray for peace for everyone on both sides of that painful situation. Like you, I just try to help whomever I can because it is not the best option ever. People just need a little more time to be able to gain clarity once more.

      I love you darling friend. Joanna

      Reply

  11. Tracy
    Oct 14, 2017 @ 02:12:48

    I understand this post more than I can say. The same worked for me – it was divine intervention. I felt nothing and that was the problem – feeling numb. I couldn’t stand it anymore. Something or someone (unseen) stopped me before I did irreparable damage but I’ve felt guilt ever since and it’s a long time ago now. I also know I had to reach rock bottom in order to turn my life around but I actually took the decision to leave and it’s hard to live with. I’ve forgiven myself because I was ill. I couldn’t talk about what was happening to me because I didn’t want people to be upset. In protecting them, I dragged myself further under. I really do believe that someone was watching over me and they helped me. The more I read about you, the more we seem to have in common Jo, but then I don’t believe in chance. I believe that our paths were meant to cross. You’ve given me comfort, thank you. X

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 15, 2017 @ 23:14:52

      I hope that you release any guilt that you carry from something that happened in a time when you were sick and in a very dark place. Do you look at my story and think that i was or am a bad person? I already know the answer. 🙂 Of course not. You recognize that I was in a terrible state of mind and that I didn’t realize the impact that choice would have had. We can’t punish ourselves for something that we didn’t understand then. I don’t think that anyone who does that gets it at all. Please don’t berate yourself for that. If anything, use it to remind others that there are always going to be ups and downs but that there are still so many good things to come. I adore you and I’m thankful that you came into my world. Your writing gives me hope on days when I am down. Your words make me smile. And it’s good to know that I’m not alone in my experiences. You know that you aren’t either. I’m always here for you lovebug. 😘

      Reply

  12. Lone Wolf Breathes
    Oct 14, 2017 @ 11:26:58

    I enjoyed reading this blog, thank you for writing it which helps enable others summon up the strength to survive the dark times. It is good to see you tackle writing about your suicide thoughts, but in good spirits now. Recovery does happen.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 15, 2017 @ 23:15:55

      It does. That doesn’t mean that you don’t get emotionally kicked in the teeth sometimes. It just means that you remember that you have to wait it out because it will pass. ❤️

      Reply

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