Suicide Survivor's Top Ten Things To Do (or NOT Do):
Don't EXPECT To Find a Suicide Note
I expected to find a note from Dad following his suicide. He didn't leave one. He didn't leave a card or an email or anything. He just left.
Back then I thought everyone left a note before they followed through with suicide. I thought that was a given. Probably because I like to write, whether in my journal or on twitter & FB or on this blog. I figured if someone was contemplating something super serious like life and death, and they chose death, they would write and tell us why. But I soon found out from reading everything I could lay my eyes on about suicide that most people who complete suicide do not leave a note. Only 18%-37% of people leave a suicide note. That means that 63%-82% of people who complete suicide do not leave a note.
Dad did not leave a note.
I wanted a note because I thought it would bring me some closure. It would explain "why" and I could tuck it away and give a flat answer when someone asked "Why did he do it? He had so much to live for." I could whip out my "Well, in the note he left he said he explained that he was an alcoholic and he was really depressed. He thought we'd all be better off if he wasn't hanging around making life especially difficult anymore." Yeah, I thought that would make me feel better. That sounds ridiculous to me now. But eight years ago, it made me feel...I dunno, like I was off the hook. I thought if there would have been a note, then I wouldn't have to process, wrestle with and struggle through the "Why's". Silly silly little 2005-Jessica. One of the greatest lessons that God taught me through Dad's suicide was: faith begins where answers stop. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence for things not seen."
On this side of Heaven, this is what I know:
- I will never get a concrete answer as to why my Dad killed himself.
- I will never get an answer from God as to why He didn't stop my Dad.
- I did forgive my Dad.
- I do still trust God.
A suicide note would not have necessarily made Dad's death easier to comprehend. It would never give me an answer that was good enough to satisfy my heartbreak. Even if your loved one left a suicide note, I'm guessing you still have millions of questions you're ready to ask him/her when you see them again.
So here's the life lesson I walked away with:
I can't put my faith or hope in anything that I can put my mind around.
Because that thing would be a very, very small thing indeed.
Go to Him with your questions. And....