Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stop. Look. Listen. Help.

People come into our lives everyday.
Whether it is a new friend,
a distant aquaintance,
or just a smile from a stranger
at the grocery store.

But, in some way
we touch.
Our souls blend
and our hearts open.

Even if it is for only a moment...

Bob came into my life one winter.
And it will never be the same again.

Knowing him changed me
in a way I could never have imagined.

He began dating my daughter
and she talked of how sweet he was-
that Bob was one of the nicest
and most considerate guys
she had ever met.

It wasn't long before I discovered
that Bob came with lots of baggage.
He was divorced, a father, and
had some social anxiety issues to deal with.

It scared me.
I wanted my daughter to be happy,
but my husband and I couldn't quite accept
that Bob was the right man for her.

Yet, their relationship lasted
a year and a half,
so we eventually accepted Bob
into our lives.

His smile was contagious.
He loved music
and his dog Mystic
and his new twin nephews.

And I know he loved my daughter.

So, for a little while,
our lives touched his-
blending like family
and pulling him into
our circle of warmth and love.

Then one hot June day,
Bob drove his truck south
to a scenic park with towering bluffs-
and hung himself.

I still cry.
I still ask why.
I will never, ever understand.

This is Suicide Prevention Week
and even though it is something
that we think will never touch us,
you may be wrong.

I was.

We must all be aware of the warning signals:
Suicide Warning Signs:
  • Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
    (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)
  • Talking or writing about death or suicide.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling helpless.
  • Feeling strong anger or rage.
  • Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation.
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Exhibiting a change in personality.
  • Acting impulsively.
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
  • Experiencing a change in eating habits.
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Performing poorly at work or in school.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Writing a will.
  • Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
  • Acting recklessly.
It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs.
But about 75 percent of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs, so we need to be aware of what the suicide warning signs are and try to spot them in people. If we do see someone exhibiting suicide warning signs, we need to do everything that we can to help them.

Bob taught me many things.

To be less judgmental,
slower to speak,
quicker to love,
and more in tune to the suffering of others.

I treasure every waking day.

And pray for those family members
that miss Bob in their lives.

Sometimes I can still see Bob
standing in my kitchen
making a bologna sandwich
and laughing with my daughter.

And I will always regret not being able to stop him,
save him, change his mind....

Perhaps it's not too late for you.

If you know someone who is displaying
the characteristics of suicide,
please stop what you are doing
and get them help today.

Save a life.