I haven't had much close experience with suicide in my life. My ex-husband's mother took her life years before I met him. Of course the actual event didn't effect me, but the fact that he lied to me for a year about the circumstances surrounding her death was bothersome, though I understood why. And once I found out that she committed the act in the house in which he still lived, it was a little creepy to walk past the room where I knew his mother died. About six years ago, my ex-husband's oldest brother chose the same path of exit, and he shot himself behind a bar in Montgomery. Around the same time, a guy I knew through the church youth group during high school chose to end his life. Then, of course, a little over a year ago, a friend of mine was found blue and non-responsive but brought back to full capacity by the ER staff.
My friend's attempt was one of those life changing deals - one of those things you could never forget even if you tried with all your might. I will never forget the weekend I spent with her talking to her, trying to help her see that life can go on despite huge disappointments and losses. That each day can be a fresh beginning. That her children deserved a mom here on earth to hug them and love them as only a mother can. And yet she tried it anyway. I will never forget the moments beside her bed, the way she looked, sitting indian style in the grass outside the hospital with her cousin and mother. I will never forget. But I can't say that I've forgiven her yet, and that is a forgiveness that might take quite some time. It's very hard to forgive a fellow-mother for wanting to leave her children behind, though I know the Good Lord requires me to do so.
But a child... sixteen. I remember sixteen. Driving. Freedom. A lot of angst, a lot of uncertainty, but a lot of fun. And my heart breaks to know that there are little souls out there that believe there's no hope for them. That there's no freedom. That there's no driving force behind them. And it makes me want to pull both my little babies under my wings, tuck them in, and hold them there forever for safekeeping. Never let them go. But I know they would never stay. Instead, I have to wrap them with something that they aren't capable of understanding fully right now but that can sustain them if they try to accept it in their heart and continue to grow - God's love and hope and peace for them. His mercy and forgiveness.
Seeing this happen right under my nose in our ordinary, sleepy suburb reminds me of my never-ending, deeper than the ocean responsibility to my children. And it reminds me that even if I do all I can do while they are young, there will come a day when their choices and life path is out of my control.