Recently I learned that a coworker lost a child to suicide and it hit me hard. I’m not going into details here about his loss, but I want to reflect briefly on it.
Truthfully, I can only imagine the grief and the depth of his pain. I’m sure my imagination doesn’t capture even a fraction of it, though I think it lands sharper now that I am a parent–now that I have begun to travel the wide landscape of love I feel for my own child.
The very thought of losing my son brings me to tears; there is nothing within my power that I would not do to prevent such a thing. I’m sure my coworker felt the same. Yet I also know intimately how love is not enough. Like many Americans, I struggled with a very serious bout of depression in my teens and twenties. And although my parents loved me endlessly, it could not touch the illness inside of me. Only therapy and hard work and time and effort and support could heal it.
And for those things, I am eternally grateful, because they got me through and they built me a bridge to feel that love again.
Whatever factors contributed to my coworker’s son’s death, I want to state that if you are suffering, treatment is out there for you. Suicide can be prevented. You deserve to feel better and help is out there, I promise you.
So let’s pause here for a couple resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 (USA)
- Mayo Clinic: Are you thinking about suicide? How to stay safe and find treatment
- Samaritans (UK)
I like to imagine that nothing bad will ever happen to my own son. I like to imagine that he will never die, in fact. His happy, full life stretches out endlessly in my mind like a field of gold.
The truth is, I will have to let the world in sooner than later. As he takes his first steps and says his first words, my role becomes not just to nourish and protect but also to teach. I have to teach him how to meet the difficult, bad things he will inevitably face and how to overcome them. Whatever comes, we will face it together.
But for now, I just want to hold him sleeping in my arms a little longer. I want my arms to be a bed enough for him. Just a little longer. Let me be enough.