There’s been a lot of talk on social media about suicide lately after the tragic death of Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. I see it all, I read it all, I typically don’t comment on any of it.
I am deeply saddened by every suicide I hear about, it feels like they all touch me personally, but I’ve been living my own personal grief story for the past few months and sometimes I feel that if I were to comment on some of the things I have read that all of the anger built up inside of me would come out in a fit of rage so deep that I would feel extremely sorry for anyone who happened to get caught in my path.
I do not understand why anyone would ever commit suicide. I just don’t. I just can’t. I am totally ignorant to it.
That doesn’t mean though, that I don’t know that it’s real, and it’s deep, and it’s not just a “weak” thing that people do as some of you have even more ignorantly blasted to the internet. You see, I grew up with a mother who swung with the wind between extreme highs and terrifying lows. I saw the depression in her eyes, heard the sadness in her voice.
I was a child who tried to selfishly walk slower than my two older sisters when we got off the bus at the end of the day, hoping one of them would make it down our long gravel driveway and into the house before I did, so that if today was the day she did “it”, I wouldn’t have to be the one to find her.
I am the mother now, who knows that anything that would be powerful enough to keep me in bed for days, sleeping away precious moments with my children would have to be strong, and powerful, and real.
So when I tell you I don’t understand it, I can’t comprehend it, don’t think for a second that it means that I don’t believe that the depression and darkness are real. Don’t think that I am discounting the feelings, the deep loneliness, the heart-wrenching pain that someone must go through to make such a final and tragic decision. Trust me when I say, it’s real, and there are demons that some people are fighting that some of us will never be able to comprehend.
There are times since my mother’s suicide that I have wished I had felt depression, been to those depths, fought that same fight simply so I could understand how she could do this. In some ways I feel like it might be easier to make sense of all this if I could just visit that place once, know how it feels, maybe then I could know that it wasn’t something I did, or said. Then maybe I would lose the feeling that I was never enough to keep her happy, her own child. It’s an odd and unexplainable position to be in, to understand so fully and not understand at all at the same time.
As quick as I wish it, I take it back. I take it all back like a child who called their sibling a bad name but still wants to play with them. I hope I never understand. To fully understand the depths of the pain my mother suffered through would mean I would have to walk through hell and come out gasping for breath only to be crashed down by another wave.
I sometimes (unwillingly) picture my mother, walking down the hallway, going into her bedroom, shutting the door, laying down on that bed. Did she say anything? What were her final thoughts? Did she think of me? Did she think of my kids? Did she say that she loved me? Was she scared? What if, what if, what if.
So I think that if I could say anything to those of you who believe that suicide is “weak” and “selfish”, it would be that I sincerely hope that you never understand either. I pray that less and less people “understand”. Instead, I hope that you realize that you simply cannot understand, you are ignorant, just like me. I hope that you accept that this issue is so real that you are terrified of it knocking on your door one day, so terrified that you choose to be a light in the world instead of contributing to the darkness. I hope you are as quick to take back your words as I was to take back my wish, so that when someone close to you is struggling in that dark place, you aren’t the one left behind with the guilt because they will never speak of it to you until it’s too late.
And I end with some simple advice that my mother drilled into my head time & time again as a child:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
peace, love, and acceptance where there can’t be understanding,
Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.