One For The Road

2018 May/June

In the past three years both my sons committed suicide.

In the past three years both my sons committed suicide, and now I constantly hover over my young adult daughter for fear she’s plotting to do the same. I’m angry with God, worrying that He may have killed my boys to test me the way He killed Job’s children to test him. What did I do to drive my boys to take their own lives? What can I do to keep my daughter from taking hers?

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I am sorry you have had such heart ache. I cry with you. You are not alone. Many of us have lost loved ones to suicide or struggled with suicidal thoughts. All who lost a loved one to suicide or have suicidal thoughts struggle with self-blame. Find these people and share your heartache. Your shared stories grow in to something better, farm more than the sum of their parts. Encourage the same for your daughter. Find grief counseling immediately for you both. Insurance should cover this, if not, please share your story. For free you can YouTube grief therapy and grief survival. Remember your children and find ways to do so through art and expression. I journal and collage and I tell all sorts of stories. Ask your daughter for stories when it’s appropriate. Move. You have a deep love and a deep loss. Your life will still be reach and meaningful. Aloha from Hawaii, Abby

Westminster, Maryland

God loves you and your sons and did not kill them.  More likely, He is mourning along with you.  You did not drive your boys to suicide.  You may have been a perfect parent and the same tragedies would happen.  Not all causes of suicide are known, but chemical imbalances in the brain and deep depression are some of them.  Talk to your daughter, and if she is depressed, get her professional help.  It is better to openly discuss the deaths of your sons, no matter how painful, rather than avoid the subject.  There are support groups for parents whose children have taken their own lives, and you might want to seek one out in your area.  A small book, not about suicide but about God, has brought me great comfort.  It is "Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God" by Brian Zahnd.  May your beloved sons rest in precious memory.

Boston, Massachusetts

OMG  I am so sorry  suicide is the worst kind of death.  My heart breaks for you.  I would be mad at God as well and feel like "What did I do? and asking God "Why are you testing me so greatly?"  My boys dad committed suicide and I worry every day my sons will do it.  I feel your pain.  Have you ever read or studied Buddhism?  I wouldn't give up on God  He is calling you to be closer to him.  I don't know what for and i am sure it is very difficult for you but please call out to Him.  Yell and scream if you want.  Be mad at Him too if it makes you feel better. But don't give up.  I used to scream as loud and long as I could when I was in my car.  It helped. Love and God Bless you.

Ottawa, Ontario, CA

First, I am very sorry for your loss. There is nothing I can say to bring back your boys. Please remember that the Bible is a book of stories written and translated by humans. God is not testing you. I believe that God wept when your boys ended their lives, but held open his arms to bring them home. Do not blame yourself. No matter what, when someone makes a decision like that it is hard to change it. For your daughter - talk to her, let her know your feelings, your sadness, your fears and your worries. Open communication is the best way to help each other. Let go of the anger and remember the good things from the past. Move forward, with your daughter, sharing and caring, openly. God bless.

Leawood, Kansas, US 

I can't tell you about the mind of God, but as a suicide attempt survivor, I can share some thoughts on suicide. If your children are like me, there was no malicious intent behind their suicides, only a great deal of pain, pain beyond the reach of rational thought or hope. Blaming them may make you feel better in the short term, but it won't help others struggling with suicidal thoughts. We look for reasons behind suicide, but suicide isn't really reasonable. It's understandable in the context of pain, but I've never found ascribing fault for suicide to be helpful. That said, the fact that both your sons have died by suicide (and it's more correct to say 'died by' than 'committed', as suicide is not legally a crime) points to a possible genetic link of mental illness, or perhaps a shared trauma. It's possible your daughter could benefit from therapy. Above all, I would ask that you please take care of yourself. This is traumatic. I hate to think of you shouldering this pain all on your own. How are you coping? You've mentioned anger; are you okay? Have you considered therapy? Do you have support, people to talk to about your experiences? Are you doing things that make the pain a bit more manageable for yourself?

Beaverton, OR

I am very sorry for the loss of your sons. BE THANKFUL. I know it's not easy and I know it's easy to say and difficult to do. We are not in charge of anyone but ourselves. We can influence; we have no control. You had your boys for a specific number of years and you have ALL those wonderful memories; both good and bad. It could have been that you couldn't have children; instead you were blessed with a number of them and have 3X the memories. Control what you can and be thankful for everything else. Keep yourself busy and handle it in the way that WORKS FOR YOU - be it screaming when you drive down the street or making certain you speak of it often to release some of the stress involved. Certainly, cry when you need to - it is such a healthy release......all while BEING THANKFUL.