You see, my older brother died last year at the age of 42. It wasn’t a car accident or cancer. He died by his own hand. Suicide. Ever since then, I’ve heard the word “suicide” very differently than I ever had before.
Not that it was not a scary word to me before. I've had several close friends go through times that brought them to the brink. So suicide has in my life vocabulary for a long time but not the way it is now.
Now, when I hear that word or references to it, it jars me like no other word out there. It makes me cringe and pray no one else around me had to hear it. In one second I can have a flood of memories and feelings come back to me—like that morning when I got the call, the house when I got there, the family, him lying in the coffin (that one I still have immense difficulty processing), and on and on. All of these are accompanied by the what now’s? With three children, what will he miss? How are they doing? How can I help in a situation that’s not fixable?
All of these and more come flooding back in with one heartbeat in the utterance of a single word.
The trouble is, I never know when this word is going to pop up and with it all the stuff it brings up as well.
Thinking about this later, that’s when I remembered my friend, and I started wondering if the word “cancer” does to her what the word “suicide” does to me. When she hears it, do all those memories come flooding back? Does she question why it was her and why then? Does she wonder why she made it back into the land of the living and others have not?
I suspect she does though I haven’t gotten the courage up to ask her yet.
Then I began thinking about other words and what they do to people. Words like: divorce and depression and overdose and alcohol or drugs. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you know words that aren’t even on this list. Words like: miscarriage or unemployment. Words like: bankruptcy or accident.
What I want to say to all of those silently grieving or hurting over these words is, please know that you are not alone. Don’t think that you are the only one who processes these words so very differently than everyone else. You’re not.
But also please remember that there are others among you, others you might not even realize who are doing the same thing with the words you speak. It is impossible to know all the details or even the situations involved, but please be aware that your words have power. And being sensitive to them is a step in the right direction for us all.
What words stop you in your tracks with memories you thought were gone or healed? Maybe if we talk about those words, we can all become more conscious of them and other words like healing and help and love can begin to take over. The conversation has to start somewhere.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:
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