Suicide Sucks

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

If you are having thoughts about suicide, please consider making a call to someone today. No one will be better off without matter what you have done; no matter how much pain you think you have caused! Suicide is not the answer. There’s a better Please choose to live. This world needs YOU. We need you.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis TEXT Line: Text CONNECT to 741741

I know this world needs YOU because it needs my Dad, too. But he is no longer here because he died by suicide on June 16, 2005. He was forty-four years old. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a police officer. He was an alcoholic. He was a Christian.

He was complex, and though beautifully and wonderfully made, he sunk into a deep hole of depression and self-medication that culminated in a self-inflicted gunshot wound that ended his life.

His pain was over. Ours had just begun.

What do I wish we would have done different? Everything. Nothing.

I wish we could have offered him help. I wish we would have listened more intently to what he wasn’t saying instead of harshly judging his actions. I wish he would not have felt like suicide was the route to end his suffering. I wish he knew that our lives were not better off without him.

More than anything... 

I hate that he didn’t call

I hate that I didn’t call

I hate that he hid in isolation

I hate how the loneliness lied to him

I hate that he turned to a bottle

I hate that he could be mean

I hate how guilty he felt after acting that way

I hate that I responded to his meanness with my own meanness

I hate how guilty I felt after acting that way

I hate that we couldn’t cure the pain that pierced him

I hate the hurt that broke such a strong man

I hate that he felt too far gone

I hate that he felt unworthy of the love and forgiveness of his Savior

I hate that he felt like he had failed us

I hate that he felt unworthy of our love and forgiveness

I hate that we never watched him hold any of his four granddaughters

I hate that he didn’t hold my Mom’s hand on their 30th wedding anniversary

I hate that death sounded better than life

I hate that he died on a hot day in a field all alone

I hate it because I know it’s not what he was destined for.


I love how he laughed. Loud and larger than life

I love how he smelled. His smell lingered in elevators long after he had stepped off. And in drawers where his clothes once occupied; and now in my closet where I reach in and smell a few of his shirts every week just to remember.

I love how he hugged. I remember our last hug. He was in uniform and he hugged me so tight I thought his bullet proof vest was going to crush my rib cage...and I loved it.

I love how he fought for the underdog. It's why he became a police officer.

I love that he gave people second and third and fourth chances – even when the ultimate outcome was utter disappointment

I love how much he loved God, his Father. It is especially hard for sons abandoned by their earthly fathers to fully grasp the love of God the Father. My Dad never ever knew his own earthly father but he embraced a heavenly Father who would choose him and love him.

I love how he demonstrated faith – reminding me not to worry, not to be discouraged, but to pray, no matter how bleak the situation seemed.

I love how he served the church – they were his tribe, his people, his family.

I love how he read his Bible everyday – highlighter and pen in one hand, coffee cup in the other, Bible on his lap.

I love how he loved my Mom – he adored her and thought she was too good for him

I love how he loved me and my sister – with fierceness and reckless abandon

I love how he taught us when to fight and when to back down

I love how he taught us to say, “I’m sorry”

I love how he treated the elderly with respect and honor. He always held the door and smiled at them from ear-to-ear while looking at them directly in the eye. 

I love that he washed dishes and folded laundry. He served and nothing was beneath him. Nothing.

I love that he worked so hard – his work ethic was outstanding and his colleagues still brag on him to this day.

I love that he taught me manners and that a simple, "No sir" or "Yes sir" will calm down most people in authority. 

I love that he got in the trenches with lowly people.

I love that he was mighty and strong and yet humble and kind

I love that I got to love him.

I love that when he took his last breath, alone in a field on a triple-digit west Texas day, he was immediately ushered to peace in God his Father and Jesus his Savior. And I love that they embraced their prodigal son and rejoiced over his homecoming.

And most of all,

I love that one day when this life is passed, I will get to hug him again – ribs crushing, heart healed. Whole. Complete. “It is finished” – kinda hug.

All because God first loved us and saw fit to draw us to Himself through the death/burial/resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

Because He lives, so does Jerry Don Johnson.


Because HE lives I can face tomorrow.

And so can you.

Keep Going.


Keep Going. We need you.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis TEXT Line: Text CONNECT to 741741


Jessica Phillips

Jessica is worshiper and follower of Jesus. He rescued her heart at age 6 but he rescued her calling, purpose and direction in her early 20's. Everyday God is still writing Jessica's story. It involves her husband, Brad, her daughter, Emery, their extended families. But the story is a tale of loss of life and dark grief. And the story ebs and weaves and the grief story is followed by weddings and laughter. And what comes next? A Baby! God sends us a baby to shape and teach and grow right in the midst of our loss and realizing that life actually moves forward. We didn't think it would again after he died. But life just did what it was supposed to do...and it went on. And hope is born again. Everything I write is based on this fact: I'm God's child, I'm alive today. So what do You want me to do for You? Because I want my contribution to matter. I want to leave a legacy.