I’m going to do the unthinkable and talk about suicide today. Yes, that dark evasive thing called death that no one wants to talk about, much less to acknowledge or admit to, much LESS around the holidays. Yes I know this is a “happy” blog, and yes I know this is not a feel good subject. But the truth is, this is part of my story and it’s part of so many other precious souls that I know, I think it’s time we talk about it.
Like this guy did.
I think he’s pretty friggin’ brave. What strikes me about this story is what I will call suicide regret, and I believe everyone who’s ever attempted to end their life, successfully or not, has felt it to some degree.
I know I did.
When I first stood there outside my car and looked down over the crevices of that Tennessee mountain, I felt only fear and despair. I knew something had to change and I thought the only way it would is if I would take myself out of it. I was sure that the only chance my husband and baby had at a better life was if I got into my car and gunned it over the edge.
Nothing could convince me otherwise. I was so mad that I had believed the lies. Mad that I had walked into yet another situation/relationship that had been so hard and so hurtful, and my mind was made up.
It was eerily quiet as I stood there, thinking long and deep into the abyss that threatened to squelch my life, to still my beating heart, once and for all. The phone rang. I let it go. “I can’t.” I thought. If I answer it, he will convince me not to do it.
It was my husband. I was too angry, too afraid to talk and so I just stood there, numb and yet knowing what I had to do. It was the only way out.
The phone rang again. And again…and again. It was destroying the quiet, disrupting my plan and forcing me to start thinking…rationally, perhaps? “What if? What if I picked up that phone and everything WOULD change? What if this was the one time that things would be different? But I would never know if I was lying flat at the bottom of that hill in a pile of steel and metal…”
I got into the car and revved up the motor. I fiddled with the radio. I looked over again at the sides of that steep hillside, and wondered how fast I would need to go to make sure I did not survive. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. My hands shook. My whole body shook. I HAD to do it.
But, then…”what if? What if I regret it the second I do it? My daughter would never know..”
Ah, my daughter!
And that’s when the text message came. “Your daughter needs you. Please come home.”
Suddenly out of nowhere, I snapped out of my rage and picked up the phone. What was I doing? My daughter needs me!
I burst into tears when I heard my husband’s voice. It felt both terrifying and amazing to hear it. I was relieved in the most unexpected way. Thing is, I knew I would have regretted it as soon as my car would have left the road. I knew I would have thought about my baby girl and I would have had the same thought that this man did…
“the millisecond my hands left the rail, it was an instant regret.”
I know now that this is true. There is nothing pretty about that moment. There is nothing heroic about that millisecond where your brain has overruled your heart, where the lies have overwhelmed the truth and convinced you to take that leap.
It’s only instant regret.
I know because that’s what I felt in that moment and my hands hadn’t even left the steering wheel yet. I’m so thankful for that. I’m so grateful that I felt that tinge BEFORE it was too late.
I’m so glad I decided not to die that day. Because as God and destiny would have it, I went on to live the best and happiest life I’ve ever lived, after that. Today I live a full life, one that has sadness and joy and misery and yes, ‘happy little surprises.’ But through it all, I’ve made it my mission to live AND die, with no regrets.
The truth is I would rather go unexpectedly and completely out of control, with fullness of heart and life, than to go being in control with even one regret, if that was the only regret I ever had, and if that was the ONE that took my life.
Truth is, I don’t want my daughter (or my son) to ever wonder if I “wanted to” die or not. I want my children to know that no matter how hard it ever was, I lived and loved life to the fullest, and that I died with NO REGRETS.
Yes, this is a heavy subject to broach especially around the holidays, but honestly I’m so tired of hearing of another beautiful soul making that leap, and wondering if they really wanted to die. Wondering if they knew how much we wanted, needed them here. And how amazing their life might have been, had their hands not left the rail.
If that is you and you are on the brink of a hopeless end, please think about this. Consider the instant regret and how you can’t undo that. Most people don’t get another chance to take that decision back like I did. Most people that take that leap don’t ever come back. Please don’t be one of them.
Instead, do something brave you won’t regret, and ask for help. There are plenty of people and organizations and healing therapies that can and will work. There really IS hope.
I am not a professional in any one of those things, but if you need a listening ear, prayer or perhaps a little encouragement, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message via www.facebook/happylittlesurprises.com. I am always happy to hear your story and to offer you my own.
Be brave and reach out today! You are worth it. You are loved. You are beautiful. You are valued and needed.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Northern Colorado: http://allianceforsuicideprevention.org/about-suicide/where-to-get-help/