A Ray of Light, Part 4 (Yes, Cain, You Are)

 

And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

Genesis 4:9

 

For Cole

 

As I alluded to before, suicide has made its presence felt in my family, a few times.

One family member completed it.

Another attempted it. More than once.

Another decided, at the last second, to choose life. (Fortunately)

And I came really close once to attempting it. And have thought about it many times since.

So, that’s why this issue is rather close to my heart. When I discovered that this was National Suicide Prevention Month, I knew I needed to do what I could to raise awareness, and to erase some of the stigma attached to suicide. Most of us aren’t comfortable talking about it, so we don’t. Unfortunately, we may be paying much too high a price for our silence; too many precious lives lost.

Well, we need to start talking about it, folks. Especially, parents, to your kids. Suicide is occurring more and more among teenagers, as well as elementary school kids, some as young as five.

Think about that for a minute. Five. How heartbreaking is that?

The Bible verse I started with features Cain lying about Abel (who he had just murdered), then passing off any responsibility for him. The truth is, we are all our brothers’, and sisters’, keepers; one of the reasons we’re here is to look out for each other, showing care and compassion.

And that includes a health care system in this country that provides adequate care and support to anyone with a mental illness. Because, while most mentally ill people do not kill themselves, the majority of suicides are completed by people with some mental illness.

There are many homeless people who have a mental illness, but can’t get access to the treatment they need. There are many veterans who, because of snags in the system, are not getting the treatment they need, which is criminal. Who will fight for the ones who willingly fought for us?

Fortunately, there are several mental health advocates in Congress, including Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, John Cornyn and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who deserve our thanks for their efforts to effect positive change in mental health care in America.

I know, a lot of people won’t seek help for mental illness, because it’s so stigmatized that they won’t admit they might even have one. And that needs to stop.

If you have a mental illness, you’re not crazy, you’re not a nut job, you’re not cuckoo, or psycho, or looney, or any of the other derogatory terms commonly used.

You’re simply ill, and you need help. Please, don’t be ashamed to ask for it.

 

If you’re thinking about killing yourself, please read this first:

We may not know each other, but I love you. I care about you. I’m sorry you feel like that. I’ve felt like that. And I want you to know, you deserve to be alive.

You absolutely deserve it.

It’s something I have to remind myself of, often. My depression puts me through round after round, fighting the feeling of complete worthlessness, the feeling that all I ever do is screw up, so maybe, I should just put a stop to it, for good.

But no; I deserve to live. And so do you.

I know, sometimes, life just SUCKS. It’s confusing, frustrating, unfair, tragic and cruel, offering no explanation whatsoever as to why.

But, fortunately for us all, it’s also full of beauty. And wonder. And laughter. And love.

I promise you, it’s there.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, at 1-800-273-8255, if you need to talk to someone. Please.

And let me recommend one more amazing website to you: http://livethroughthis.org/

Here, you’ll find stories from 95 different people about attempting suicide – and surviving. People who were molested. People who were bullied. People who were body shamed. People with depression. People with addiction.

I’m willing to bet, one of their stories matches up pretty closely with yours. Because, you’re probably sitting there thinking that nobody has ever been through what you’re going through, but I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about that.

So, let’s live, okay? Let’s live, and see what happens.

I wish you healing, peace, love and life.

Manchester United

From The Guardian, 5/23/2017:

“At least 22 people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade.”

People of Manchester, UK:

The world cries with you.

The world mourns with you.

The world stands in solidarity with you.

You are in our hearts.

UPDATE: The second victim identified was an eight year old girl.

An eight year old girl.

When will it stop?, a passenger on my shuttle asked me this morning, perhaps rhetorically.

When the world stops, I guess.

Alright, All You Mothers!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

We all owe our lives to you. Without you, there is no us.

So, thank you for going through the exquisite pain of bringing us into the world, and the more excruciating pain of bringing us up.

Sometimes, we wouldn’t listen to you. Sometimes, we willfully disobeyed you. Sometimes, we openly defied you. And occasionally, we just hated you. Maybe even told you so.

But, through all those times, deep down, we always loved you.

Because, we sat in your lap while you read to us. We played games and sang silly songs with you. We settled into our beds while you tucked us in and kissed us goodnight. We ran to you with our skinned knees, bloody noses, bee stings and broken hearts, knowing you would make it all better, as only you could.

Some of you are just amazing. All you single mothers, who do your best to fit a job (or more) in with the daily care and feeding of your children. All you moms who adopt children and welcome them into your family, loving them as though they were your own. All you “soccer moms,” endlessly shuttling your kids to this activity and that one, so they can have fun with other kids and get yelled at by all the insane parents.

Unfortunately, some of you have gone through the most painful experience there is: burying your child. You’ve lost them to disease, or to violence or, more and more lately, to suicide. I absolutely can’t imagine how deeply that must cut into your soul. I know you miss them every single day, and would sacrifice anything to bring them back. I’m so very sorry for you and your families. I wish you comfort and strength.

Bottom line, all of you are just extraordinary women, and you have certainly earned your own day. I hope you spend it in the company of your children.

Mothers around the world, I salute you. Many, many blessings on you all.