No one ever really knows what truly goes through the mind of a person who takes their own life. In those fleeting moments before they pass that threshold between life and death do they wonder for one last time if there is an alternative, one last chance at resolving whatever it is that has driven them to this act of utter finality?
Whenever I read or hear stories like the one this week out of New York where a young mother drove her vehicle into the frigid waters of the Hudson, claiming her life and the lives of three of her children I cringe. It is gut wrenching, awful stuff. These tragedies have more questions than they do answers. The untimely deaths, especially of the children, sows similar seeds of discontent, anger, bewilderment and depression in the lives of all those who were close to the deceased.
The questions vary from “Why did she do this?” to “Why didn’t she tell me?” and “Why didn’t I do something?”. Tragically, the answers often die with victims.
After reading the story you wonder why the mother didn’t seek out the assistance of local or national organizations that provide assistance for mothers and single parents who are dealing with emotional and physical abuse (I’m assuming from the story that this was an ongoing issue). At the very least, pack up the minivan, throw the kids in the car and drive. Doesn’t matter where, just drive. And when you’re confident that you’ve arrived at a place where you think you can start a new life, start building a future for you and your kids.
Yes, it’s easy to be on the outside looking in because I have no clue what it’s like to be in that situation. But I have been sad; Absolutely and utterly depressed. So dispirited and dejected that it feels like your insides are twisted into a million knots and its cutting off the circulation to your vital organs and you can’t breathe. There is a loss of feeling until you gradually feel like there is nothing in the world that can get you out of bed and there is no thought for hope and encouragement because you can’t see past the darkness and despair. Your mind shuts down. Your body feels like it wants to shut down too. The only thing you see in every direction is a free trip to the dead end destination of your choice.
I don’t often talk about things of a spiritual nature as openly as I think I should but I think this is one instance where I am compelled to tell you that there are three things or entities that keep me from ever considering the path that this young woman and others like her have taken.
1) My God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. While the rest of the world might consider this psycho-religious fanaticism I have a firm belief that all social and spiritual lesions can be healed correctly through faith in the miraculous and the love of the Savior. Yes, counseling is recommended and it should be a part of the healing process. But I don’t know of any other power that can save us from the wounds that paralyze and afflict the soul. A recent address given by Per G. Malm, one of the leaders of my LDS faith titled “Rest Unto Your Souls” can give you better insight into the saving power of the Savior. More on the subject can also be found on LDS.org.
2) My family. Whether by blood or through marriage,my family teaches me each day through good and bad that we are never alone. I’ve been fortunate to be born into a family of misfits who understand that no one, regardless of their strengths and abilities can go at it alone. My wife and sons are a constant reminder that I have a responsibility as a husband and father to provide for them and protect them from danger. And I love them. All of them. A lot! And I know that despite my nature and my failings, they love me too.
3) My own obstinance. When someone tells me I can’t, I do. When someone tells me that I’m not, I become. It may take me years to figure out who or what I want to be and how or what I need to do to get there, but I like to think that I won’t stop trying until I can prove you, the world and often myself wrong.
If you’re in a situation where you feel like this young mother did, please seek help. You might find it in the most unlikely places but I guarantee you that when you seek help you will be surprised at how many people are eager to help. God bless!