This week is Suicide Prevention Week.
When suicide comes into the public light it’s a good thing. Not the death. Not the pain that runs like shock waves through the families and loved ones. That is a tragedy. Its good because just for a moment our minds stop and that suffering and death hit close to home-where it lives all the time though we are unaware. We shouldn’t move so quickly away from that vulnerable place. Because in that space of pain and fragility someone you know (maybe you) is there. That space of pain and aloneness. Hopelessness. Someone is there right now. If you were acutely aware of that space every moment would you choose and act differently? How would you treat others?
How can we help prevent suicide? It begins with our own hearts and minds. When we recall the fragility of human life, the depths of suffering, and countless moments of kindness that have held our lives together we can become much more tender-hearted. We are not (though sometimes if feels like it) alone. We do not suffer alone. We do not love alone.
That man that cut you off in traffic, that woman in line at Walmart in front of you, your wife, your son…do you know the depths of their suffering? Do they know yours? So often we become islands of sorrow, isolated in hopelessness. Sadly, tragically, some come to the end of hope, and in seeing a wall of blackness across the horizon, take their own lives. Leaving us to remember. To feel. To weep. To ask, ‘why’?
And across the abyss of those we have lost are the anguished prayers of loved ones. Wishing they could have said the right thing, done the right thing. Hold them in the prayerful awareness also.
So much pain in the loss of those gone too quickly.
Let us open to that pain, not as an island, but as a web of inter-connectedness. Pain and loss can turn us bitter and uncaring or open us to the preciousness of relationship-to ourselves, to our loved ones. Instead of letting the reverberations of suffering close our hearts, losing hope, we can transmute the tragedy into love and gratitude for those still with us. Today. Now.
Jason Kniola, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, LCPC has over twenty years of experience in the mental health field. He has worked with many populations including children, teens, families, couples, and individuals with a multitude of presenting concerns. Jason lives and practices in Northwest Indiana.