I was talking with a friend on the phone the other day once again making a promise, that neither of us seem to keep, about meeting for coffee or lunch. This friend is the king of information about people that we know. I, on the other hand, know nothing about anyone since I am not on the Facebook nor have a wife that feeds on gossip or the misery of others.
After exchanging pleasantries about wives and kids he began his roll call of who had cancer, heart problems, who was getting a divorce, who had lost their job, who this and who that. Honestly, it is exhausting and depressing and if the truth be told, the primary reason I don’t meet this guy for a cup of coffee.
I am of the age that inevitably I recognize someones name published in the obituaries weekly. Someone I knew, knew of, or maybe did business with at one point. Typically the cause of death is cancer or a heart attack. But there seems to be a cycle, thankfully not a frequent or long cycle, of men and women that I know or know of, 45 to 60 years of age, that commit suicide. All, and I do mean all, were a surprise. Men and women who seemingly had the world by the tail, successful, productive, and most with wonderful families. What I would learn later is that what they actually had by the tail was a tiger called depression and they simply grew tired of fighting with this beast everyday.
I think of one gentleman in particular who committed suicide three years ago that I still struggle with today. Successful wouldn’t even begin to describe this man, he was at the top of his field in our community, the go to guy. His family; incredible. Loving wife great kids, on the outside it appeared he was living the American dream, a life for all of us to model. I heard later that he thought he was doing his family a favor by ending his life, that in his mind this was the best thing for them. In fact it had the complete opposite effect, they were devastated, broken and still struggling with his actions today.
The harsh reality is that however he rationalized this exit, whatever good he thought he was doing was in fact a decision that will haunt his family for the rest of their lives. It haunts me. I know, I know with all my heart, that if he could see the results of his actions, the effect it had on his family, friends and the community he would have reacted differently, he would have taken a different course of action. I truly believe this knowing this man.
I write all this to say, I don’t fully understand this demon though I have had a moment in my life where I stood toe to toe staring at this same tiger in the face with the same thought that life would be better for those around me without me here. I am thankful, beyond thankful, that I won that staring contest. If you or someone you know is dealing with those same struggles, please, please talk to someone and get help. There is no shame in asking for help, we all need help sometimes. Your family, your friends, your community want and need you here, I know they do. I have seen it their eyes and I have felt it in my heart.