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Somethings gotta change

I read the news today. It happened a while ago but I wouldn’t have known. Broken relationships. Shit decisions. Selfishness. That picture of the 3 of you – so precious. Now 2 of you are gone. It’s wrong.

I’m angry. Angry at this world. Angry that we value money, possessions, personal comfort, pets, and dozens of other things above relationships. Relationships with hurting people – even with our own family. “I deserve _____” is our mantra. I deserve personal peace. I deserve to be appreciated. I deserve that new home. I deserve to be respected. And on and on it goes. People are hurting all around us. People are dying for Gods sake! Is there nothing that can break our selfishness?

God I feel so helpless. I don’t want to spend another 30 years in this broken world. Somethings gotta change, right? I know You’re loving, I know You’re present, but it feels really shitty right now. God please give me wisdom, perseverance, and an eternal perspective. Empower me to value others more than myself. Humble me. Teach me. I want my life to count. I want to be exhausted when I get to the finish line. I want give away every good thing You’ve given me to give. This isn’t heaven. God help me to remember that more consistently. You told us there would be suffering and trials so why am I surprised?

“… in the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

You’re all that matters.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/die-to-yourself-without-losing-yourself

Suicide Prevention in Youth

I’m not sure how long it’ll take to figure out or how effective it’ll be but it’s encouraging to read about the possibility of predicting suicide in youth. Think about it. Thousands of 15-24 year olds are dying by suicide every year. Even the slightest increase in predictability could save hundreds.

When I read this article I thought about how Drey used his phone to communicate his thoughts, his goodbyes, an argument with a friend, and so on in his last hours. My stomach still twists into knots.

It’s amazing how excited I get about advancements being made while simultaneously feeling devastated these came too late for Drey. I suppose anyone who has lost a loved one can relate to that. So many new advancements in treating cancer, heart disease, etc. On average people born in the early 1900’s didn’t make it to the age of 50. Now we’re living well into our 80’s and longer.

I don’t know. Maybe what’s frustrating is how there’s still stigma around suicide. Many people still believe that someone who kills themselves is selfish, taking the easy way out, and that they had a choice. “Choice.” I’m sure some people who die by suicide did make a “choice.” But most are experiencing huge feelings of hopelessness and despair. And they don’t believe it’ll ever change. Suicide is the only way of ending their pain and relieving their friends & family of the perceived burden they think they’ve become. It doesn’t take much digging to find this kind of thinking. My anger shoots from 0 to 10 in a heartbeat. I’ve learned to steer clear of online comments that are posted in response to a suicide.

Thankfully I can make choices. Not just a choice to live but a choice about what I think about. I don’t take that for granted. My emotions carried me 100% of the time in the first few years after Drey died. It’s nice to be able to chose what I think about again. Freedom, joy, peace.

Doubt and doubt

I’ve been too busy with my life to spend consistent time with God in the morning. I say that sarcastically and with shame. Nothing is more important than prioritizing time with the lover of my soul. When did I become so awesome and strong that I didn’t need His strength and direction? I know the shame I feel isn’t from Him. But you can know a thing and not feel it.

I have a presentation in a few weeks that is, well, simply humbling and unreal that I’d be considered for. I don’t have a bunch of letters after my name – what do I have to share or even teach these professionals? I knew when I was asked to do this it was from God. I knew all along it would bring me back to my knees in dependence on Him. I’m grateful but I’m fearful too.

I’m fearful that because I’ve hardly prayed about this presentation, because I haven’t given Him enough thanks, because in my arrogance I’ve prepared the presentation on my own – that I’ll fail. I’ll be exposed for the fraud that I am. God plans to teach me a huge lesson in humility in front of everyone.

I know in my head this isn’t true. God’s motivations aren’t twisted like mine can be. He loves so deeply. And most importantly I know that if I do “fail” – He’ll use that for good! But the knots in my stomach are yelling louder than this knowledge in my head about who God is.

How did suicide stuff become my career? Am I “using” my son’s death for my own gain? Where the hell are these thoughts coming from?

I believe these next few weeks leading up to to this presentation are going to be insightful and I pray they’ll lead to deeper intimacy with my Father. I pray I will continue to learn the importance of depending on God every day. But if I didn’t learn this after Drey died… if I went back to my old ways of telling God, “I got this,” what will ever break my prideful self? It’s good to feel my brokenness on a deep level. Good but scary. But perfect love casts out fear, right? Breathe. Just breathe.

 

Being Present to Others

 

Seven years, 11 days and five hours. That’s how long I’ve lived without Drey’s physical presence. I spent a lot of time reflecting at the five and a half year mark and I’m finding myself revisiting these same thoughts. I re-read some of my blogs and I have been more deliberate and mindful as I have faced “mile markers.”

Last year LOSS hosted a CALM (Counseling on Access to Lethal Means) train the trainer workshop. That was a mile marker for me. I took that exact training in the Fall of 2015. It had been just over three years since Drey had died. I do not remember what I learned. Some things are vaguely familiar – like asking for my group’s role play to involve something – anything – other than a firearm scenario. Apart from this I remember very little. Clearly there has been continued healing, but unless I deliberately reflect on this I miss it. I miss the slow, steady movement from surviving to thriving.

Without taking time to occasionally reflect on these past grieving years, I also miss out on opportunities to be more present to others. My desire is to be mindful of each survivor and where they are in their journey. I don’t believe I’m naturally an overly empathetic person. I’m too busy much of the time doing who knows what. So unless I take the time to deliberately reflect on how God has brought me through these past seven+ years, I miss opportunities to be fully present to other suicide loss survivors.

Slow down. Breathe, love, laugh. Be content by simply being and not doing. Find joy in longer than planned on conversations. Take time to discover and even marvel over the courage and healing newfound friends are experiencing. Celebrate special occasions. Laugh together. Cry together. There are still blessings in every single day. Thank You God.