written for our friends
I try to get around this uninvited, unplanned for, unwanted guest. Press the fast forward button, hurtle over the discomfort quickly, pain pain go away. But I can’t. It’s unavoidable, around every corner, the low A of my piano, the scent that lingers around the door to his room.
Up ahead, a flashing road sign. DETOUR, DETOUR, DETOUR. I want to get off this road, find another way on the map. I’ve looked. There’s no alternate route, no way around, no escaping the deepest pain I’ve ever felt.
Before this, I was good at steering clear of discomfort, tiptoeing away from situations that would bring me down. Skirt the issue, stay out of the way. Protected.
This. Is. Unavoidable. Never experienced this kind of suffering–there’s no way back to how it used to be. I feel it in my gut when I wake up, try to convince myself this is all a bad dream. Oh, God, it’s not. It’s real. He’s gone. I don’t think I’ll heal this time.
Satan thought my child was untouchable. Tormenting words, hurling lies, all day, every night. That disgusting evil darkness of a voice isn’t easily drowned out–deception that sounds like truth midst confusion. A forgery.
And I mean BUT. God showed up like a lion just in time. King of Kings roared into the darkness. No longer the prey, but the lamb who’d gone astray. The 1 He left the 99 for. Snatched him from the jaws of death, from the hands of the tormentor who would not have final rites. Now I know what it means, this kind of love, reckless and willing to do whatever it takes, messy or not. Evil did not win. God assured me that evil did not win and my son is with Him, waiting for us. Whole. Finally whole.
Still, it hurts when you’re the one left behind. Left to make sense of a story that won’t ever make sense. Left to sobs and pain and grief that shows no sign of leaving. I wish pain would take the detour this time.
But something good happened in that same moment.
Our unavoidable grief met His Unavoidable Love. And Unavoidable Mercy. And now, Unavoidable Grace rests on our weary hearts like a fleece blanket on a cold night; unobtrusive, holding each of our tears. He’s willing to tear down walls to get to us during our pain. Because He’s a lion, He’s mighty, He does what no one else can.
We will get through this. Eventually. I don’t know when, but one day. Not alone, but with the help of God, with the prayer of others. One day at a time, inching our way to unrecognized strengths and greater wisdom for the rest of our journey.
For now, we grieve. And for now, He grieves with us.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are 132 suicides a day. In 2018 alone, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts with 48,344 American deaths by suicide. Globally 800,000 people die every year by suicide.
We must be aware, willing. We must love harder, listen more intently. If you need help, seek help. You are never alone.
What can you do now? Pray. For our friends affected by this tragedy and the many others who are left to heal after a suicide. The Lord is near to the broken hearted.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Romans 8: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Matthew 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-ninethat never went astray.
My heart is breaking for this beautiful family. I lost my brother to suicide in 2001. I have never known such grief. To lose a child…no words. Praying Godâ€™s lavish love is felt tangibly for anyone whoâ€™s grieving.
Jenny, I had no idea. Iâ€™m so sorry for that loss as I canâ€™t possibly understand that kind of grief. But God. I know he uses those stories to help others along the way. â¤ï¸â¤ï¸
We lost my brother to suicide in 1992, at the age of 28. Iâ€™ve walked with to many friends and family members through their own heartbreaking stories. The most recent was January 2020. There is no greater strength than that of our Heavenly Father and we must press in like never before so we wonâ€™t believe the lies of â€œI should have knownâ€ , â€œI failed himâ€ , â€œwhy didnâ€™t I do something â€œ . Iâ€™ll be praying for your friends. God in His mercy and grace will get them through the grief now, in days to come and in years to come as they feel the absence of their son in their lives.
Thank you for sharing part of your story. I’ve read and studied this kind of grief regarding suicide and you’re right. The lies are from the enemy to steal, kill, destroy. We can’t buy into that. God, in His great mercy, does what only He can do and we have to rest in the fact that He’s never going to leave us or forsake us. I only pray that anyone who doesn’t feel worthy enough to make it one more day can find their way to people like yourself for love. And to God for their help. Thank you again.
Kim I think this is a beautiful and courageous thing you are doing. I’ve lost someone very special and close to me in 2018 from suicide. It’s real and more common than we want to believe. So congratulations for keeping awareness to the people. We got to love hard be better listeners and learn what true forgiveness is all about.
Iâ€™m so sorry, my friend. I canâ€™t understand that deep grief like you can. Itâ€™s very real these days, suicide, and I want to wrap my arms around everyone affected. I guess only God can reach that far. Again, Iâ€™m so sorry for your loss. And yes, awareness and help is greatly needed. Love you dearly!
Wow. So sorry for this family and for all who have experienced such pain. I know that God is the only one who can help one heal and understand. Thank you for sharing.
Elina, what a blessing for my friends to be loved in and prayed for by so many. My hearts breaks for them and so many others. I appreciate you taking the time to read. Youâ€™re a special person. â¤ï¸â¤ï¸
So so sad…our prayers can make the difference for these precious grieving parents, friends and family. Let’s lift them up together.
Amen. I know they feel all the prayers and love. God is good.