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July 11, 2004

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chris, i just read this and the story of your son for the first time. i just want to say that i am praying with you thru this and i thank you for your vulnerability, honesty and faith.
blessings, sns

Chris - Thank you for sharing part of what you said at your friends funeral, it was beautiful. I will be praying for you, and your friend's family, as you continue to walk through your grief. I am so sorry.

Chris-
I am praying for you. No matter what your training and experiences with these kind of situations are, they always leave you shocked, speechless and confused. To be otherwise would probably mean you are less than human. I think that in times like this, presence is the most profound gift you can offer. Our degree or titles may make other think that we have answers for situations like this, but our own experiences tell us differently. I remember when two girls (twins) who were involved in my ministry years ago, came home to find their mother had committed suicide in the garage. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with in ministry. I felt so inadequate, and helpless. I remember spending lots of time with those two girls, just hanging, not saying much. I always wished I could have done more, or said more, but in the end it was all I had. The girls later told me that my being there helped them through that time. I was there to help them process the event, since they left town shortly after, but I take comfort in knowing that God used my presence in a very real way during the initial shock and grief stage. May God bless you as you will no doubtly be the strong presence of Christ to the family and friends of this man.

These are the times when we pray that we can stay out of God's way, and be the vessel He has called us to be, regardless of anyone's expectations... including our own. With lift our praises to the Lord that you were so humble, and we are praying for you in this tragic time.

My father committed suicide when I was 9. A neighbor and friend committed suicide when I was 35. I've seen its effects from the inside and outside.

Suicide is closer to a divorce than a death, in the sense that it feels like a personal rejection. Thus, children are especially harmed when a parent commits suicide because whatever the difficulties the parent was dealing with, from the child's perspective, they've been abandoned. I grew up after my father's death believing that he had not found me worth living for. I sometimes felt personally responsible for his death, and at other times felt that it was a symbol of my own worthlessness. Down the road, those left behind by suicide are themselves at much higher risk for taking their own lives because of the psychic and spiritual after effects.

Also, suicide is still a very shameful and difficult thing to talk about. Families often find it difficult to know how to talk about what has happened, and feel a sense of shame and embarassment about the death that leads them to want to stuff their feelings and move on and try to forget. This, too, creates a heavy emotional burden down the road.

The church can help, but it needs to develop a long-term commitment in such cases to help the surviving spouse, to encourage the family to talk, to provide counseling, and to reach out in love, with great patience.

It sounds like you have started well. Reach out to the family, but don't forget to talk with God about your own pain, too.

Hi Chris,

I've been visiting here on and off for a bit. Thanks so much for sharing about this tough circumstance. I've never personally been involved like that, and shudder at the thought... Thanks for the words...

i had a childhood friend take his life and also a close pastor friend of mine ...

i never knew how many people think about suicide until i began working in psychiatric nursing. it's so common. i was so surprised at that.

i agree that the church needs to talk about it more. we fear that talking about it will give it power, or will give people permission to act on those thoughts. i believe the opposite is true. i believe that talking about it will decrease its power over us.

i've become comfortable asking anyone if they're thinking about harming themself. i've been known to ask people that question casually when its appropriate to the conversation. i don't want to let it go by, if i think it needs to be addressed.

i missed it completely when shok's friend killed himself. i had only talked with him that morning. i wasn't a nurse then. looking back, i can now see the signs.

we need to address more than prevention though. we also need to talk about how to be an effective church in the aftermath of a suicide.

Thanks everyone, for your words of comfort and support, and especially for your prayers. It has really encouraged me to see far fewer "hang-ups" over talking about suicide than I've witnessed in the past.

Some of you have touched on the importance of "grief work" -- something my wife and I have done a LOT of over the years. In fact, our phone number was just given out a few days ago to a young missionary couple who is currently stateside -- they accidentally backed over their infant during a fireworks presentation on July 4th. My hunch is that "now" may not be the time they need to call, but it might well be in 2-3 months when the harsh reality of what has happened hits them hard.

As we all know... there's a lot of pain out there. Help us, Lord.

My wife and I are still making sence of her parents suicides. Life sucks sometimes for her but she is a rock....

I am present with you in the midst of this.

I work for a crisis center in Texas and would like to know if anyone has any material they can send us on suicide see we have crisis teams that are on call 24hrs a day and we need more material on suicide and sudden death this is a hard thing to always deal with because each case is alwyas different so if somone has something please contackt me at litlturtle@sbcglobal.net
thank you so much

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