Monday, August 20, 2012

Suicide: A talk I did not want to have.


I hold back tears all morning.  If only I can make it until naptime.
Your doctor is dead, children.
I can’t say it yet. I need more time.

Kids, please go play outside while I make lunch for you.
He was our pediatrician and we loved him.
He’s dead, and by his own hand.

A child came upstairs playing, smiling with a toy gun in his mouth. I yelled at him, irrationally upset telling him to never, ever, ever do that again.
“It’s just a toy mommy.” He said.
Would that I could protect you from all evil by banning such toys, son.

Come quickly for lunch, kids.
Our doctor is gone and it makes no sense.
Quit goofing around and eat your food already!

I want them to go to bed so I can grieve and wrestle in peace.
Two boys run down the hallway holding hands and they crash into me. I yell. “This is NOT getting ready for naps, is it boys? Now DO what I TOLD YOU!”

Creating chaos is not helping this house get quiet and my heart hurts so I need quiet NOW.  So I think, and so my hurting heart hurts their little hearts.  I found one under covers, not playing and teasing but laying there in tears. “I didn’t like it when you yelled at me mommy.”
Oh honey I am so sorry.  And I was, and we cried quiet tears together. 
“My heart hurts today, but that doesn’t mean I should hurt yours. While you nap I will pray that Jesus helps me be kind again ok? And I’ll wake you up with big hugs and kind words.” He nodded tears still streaming and he hugged me tight around the neck. I let my tears fall, tears of sadness over my sin and over death and evil in all places, in this home and in his home.

I left him to nap and went out to talk to the big kids. “Mommy’s ready to tell you why my heart hurts today.  Our pediatrician has died.”
“Our doctor?”
“But he was so nice!”
“But he was the smartest doctor ever!” said the biggest boy, remembering his help curing his ears last year.  That healing elevated the good doctor to a place of respect even with or even above daddy, and ever since then he believed the smartest people in the world are doctors.

“Yes, he helped you with your ears, and he helped Aggie with her seizures, and he helped all of you kids grow healthy ever since we’ve lived here.  It’s so sad.”

And then, because they will hear it from someone else if I don’t tell them, I tell them how it happened.
And it makes no sense to them.
And I agree. 
It makes no sense.

I do not speculate in front of the children, but I do in my head. But my guesses and theories do not satisfy me. 
It makes no sense.

I had not planned to talk about suicide with my children this month.  But circumstances put it on the list, so talk we must, even when it makes no sense.

We talk a little, and then we sit in silence together with our sad hearts and our questions
We look to Christ together, and we pray.
And we wait.

Come Lord Jesus.


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Have you had to talk about this subject with your children?

For more conversations with 'tweens, click here: 


31 comments:

  1. My heart breaks for his family, yours and the many others he touched. What a sad thing he felt this was the right choice. Prayers for all of you.

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  2. What a terrible thing to have happen. I'm sorry your family is having to deal with this. I'm glad, though, that you chose to be honest with your kids. I can't imagine having this talk. I pray I never have to.

    Blessings and peace today.

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  3. Oh how very sad. I'm so sorry for your loss and for the pain his family is suffering. Death is horrible enough, but with suicide, the grieving is never "clean". There is always anger and guilt mixed in. I'm sorry.

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    1. That is a good way to put it- not "clean." Complicated.
      Thank you for the words and the sympathy.

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  4. We just had this talk with our children...knowing they were really too young...a couple of weeks ago when my 22 year old cousin killed himself. Why, oh why?

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    1. It is so sad, and there is no making sense of it.
      My condolences to you.
      It will not always be this way.
      Come, Lord Jesus.

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  5. Thank you all for your prayers. God is good, even when life makes no sense. Someday we will see it more clearly. For now, we look to Jesus and we wait.

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  6. We experienced a suicide in the church that my husband serves - in fact it was a confirmand. Without question, the most tragic event in 30 years of ministry. The Sunday morning of the event my husband had rushed to the home of this family - and arrived back at church to resume the service (which was being covered by the elders). Our sanctuary has been the host of much joy and on that day it was a refuge as my husband choked out the words, gently telling the news, when he reached the pulpit. What do I wish I'd done differently to prepare my children? I wish that I had spoken with them in earlier years about the act of suicide rather than waiting until it involved someone they know. There were certainly times when I might have danced around the subject - by saying something to the effect that there is nothing that is so awful that you can't tell me - that there is nothing that would be so awful for one to harm themselves. But in retrospect, I really never ever talked about suicide in a fuller context. This church family has soldiered on, as well as they can, seeking and receiving the Love that passes all understanding. On this day I will be praying for your good doctor and all those that were left behind. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. It is so sad, and so hard to minister to those hurt by suicide.
      Thank you for commenting, and also for your prayers.

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  7. God's peace to you today Emily, and also to the doctor's family.

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    1. Thanks Leah. That's exactly what we need. (How long Lord?)

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  8. That is not a subject that anyone should have to talk about. I'm so sorry Emily.Praying for comfort and healing of hearts.N

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  9. I'm so sorry for your loss. This type of death makes no sense. It is so hard to imagine how anyone feels so hopeless that they can't imagine it getting any better.

    We had this conversation prematurely and recently. With my 8 & 6 year old. It came up due to a movie we were watching. It was just a passing reference but caught their attention. :( I am glad they learned from me so that they feel the tragedy of such a senseless death. I am glad we were able to talk about scripture and what someone could do instead if they felt that hopeless. I think that's better than learning through tv or even friends but it was still uncomfortable.

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    1. I have been trying to do better at looking for opportunities to talk about big stuff via movies and tv and books- much easier on mama then when it happens in real life!

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  10. So sorry to hear/read about all these...it is certainly a topic that nobody would want to have to talk about, but it does happen. You are very brave for openly talking to your kids about it. I was not that brave when earlier this summer my step-father in law took his own life. He was not my husband's Father since he passed away almost 20 years ago, but Joe was my Mother in Law's second husband. And as a matter of fact, he was the only paternal grandfather my kids ever knew...but when Joe took his life back in May for who knows what reason...my husband and I could not bring ourselves to tell our young sons the cause of Joe's death...some day we will have to have that conversation, but we just couldn't yet...I pray the Lord helps us when the time is right. We are still dealing with this ourselves, so I believe we still need more time. It might be a cop out, I know...sigh...I am in His hands. Blessings to you and thank you for the post. I'm visiting from Haven of Rest.

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    1. Oh Gisela, don't let my post give you guilty feelings about how you handled your situation. I certainly don't have it all down in black and white; it's one of those things, where we do what we think is best and it will never feel like enough (because it will never fix it or make sense of it.) and we pray. Prayer is powerful, and God will help you when / if the time comes to talk about it more. Prayers for you today.

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  11. I'm so very sorry. That is something that I can't imagine having to talk to my children about yet. Praying that God will comfort you and your family through this time, as well as his. Blessings....

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  12. So sorry to hear this. I dealt with the suicide of my grandfather almost 3 years ago. It isn't easy, and creates many more questions than a natural death for the people left behind. I hope that you and your children are able to find peace in such a terrible situation. My sister and mother grieved for a pediatric eye doctor who helped my sister with serious eye issues after he passed away from cancer. The relationships we have with a doctor can be so complex and deep, so don't let anyone tell you that you're overreacting.

    I am praying for your family and your doctor's family.

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    1. Thank you so much Michele, for the words and for the prayers.

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  13. I am so sorry that you had to go through that. No, I have not had to aaproach this subject with my children. I pray for healing hearts for you and your family. Thank you for posting at Leaving A Legacy.

    Blessings~
    Shari

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    1. Thank you so much Shari. Blessings to you

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  14. I'm so sorry for your family, and for the dr's family too. That's a talk I've never had to have with my kids (yet, hopefully never.) Blessings to you!

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  15. I honestly don't know how to really explain this to a little one, except that a loved one needs to be with God, right at that moment....ah, prayers surrounding this family and extended family in your town....

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  16. This is such a tragic thing to happen. How sad. Your post was touching.

    Thanks for linking up at Haven of Rest this past week.

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  17. Good thing you had this talk. When your kids figure out how bad you have brainwashed them and when they start to hate you (and themselves) for wasting their life praying to a fake god, thisr is the route they are going to want to take.

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    1. Dear Anon, If He were a fake God, you would be right. But Jesus died and rose again for me, for them, and for you. So there is hope, even in the doubting and suffering and darkness of this life.

      Prayers for you today.

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