I’ve been thinking about my cousin John a lot this week.
John committed suicide a few years ago. He was depressed, he had a history of drug use…and he had a wife and a teenage daughter and two sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins.
I am not alone in having a family member who has taken their life and for whom the news of Robin Williams’ death brings back painful memories. Many of us have been touched by suicide in our families and most of us have been touched by depression in ourselves or the people we love.
In the wake of suicide, we can feel guilty (Could I have done something? Was it because of something I did or said?), angry (How could she do this to us? Didn’t he care about us?), frightened (Could I ever get so depressed? Is he in hell?), sad (Why didn’t she see another way? What pain he must have been in!), and a host of other emotions.
At times like these, it’s good to remind each other:
- It’s not your fault.
- It’s normal to be angry.
- We place our hope and our trust in a loving and merciful God.
- There are places to go and people to talk to for help. If you don’t know where to turn, call 1-800-273-8255.
Out of the depths we cry to you merciful God. Meet our confusion with your peace, our anger with your mercy, and our sorrow with your consolation. Help us be still and know that you are God and that nothing in life or death will separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. (Prayer from “Prayer Book for the Armed Services,” ©2013, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Augsburg Fortress Press.)