#WeAreAllJustWalkingEachOtherHome #TheHealingIsInTheHearing #LiveLikeThat #WeWereMeantToBeCourageous #AskQuestions #LoveIstheAnswer #SpeakLife #SpeakHope #SpeakLove
Beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams received his wings a little over a year ago. His sudden and highly-publicized death unleashed a popular “seasonal flurry” of personal and public grief, awareness, debate, and opinion about suicide which so often in today’s society and culture follows on the heels of a suicide of a celebrity. And such public-opinion storm following Robin William’s suicide might have had the highest “snow totals” of any of such seasonal flurries owing to the prolific use of social media and the ease of digitally publishing or sharing one’s thoughts and feelings with others. Even sharing the thoughts and feelings of others with others – just click “Share.”
The beautiful thing about the heightened attention surrounding suicide during such storms is the sincere outpouring of love, gratitude, and sympathy. The fresh awareness and truly outward-focused and empathetic sharing about the pervasive and devastating place and impact of suicide in our world, nation, states, communities, and even families, can be comforting to those of us who are struggling with some aspect of suicide.
This sharing and awareness has the effect of creating a sort of cultural or societal consciousness and dialog – even if very short-lived until the next seasonal flurry moves our attention elsewhere. But nevertheless a dialogue commences promoting more-transparent, more-vulnerable, and more-widespread conversations. And the byproducts are hope and comfort. Even healing in some instances. But maybe most-importantly, people feel heard. They feel their stories matter. They feel that they matter.
Our challenge – our great opportunity – is to sustain the dialogue. Sustain the love and awareness. Sustain the telling and hearing of the stories. Because for many, the healing is in the hearing. Because the pain and heartache of those impacted by suicide lives on long after the latest, popular “seasonal flurry” of attention.
How do we sustain the dialogue? We just keep talking. We just keep listening. And, we just keep loving.
For a number of reasons, the subject of suicide has become a real part of my family conversation, including my own monologue. Over the past two years, we, my family, experienced two suicides in an eight month period. One of which was generational and a double-murder suicide which took three lives. I cannot even begin to process the grief, pain, and loss of those most-closely connected. But I think about it. And I care. And I am going to talk about it. My pain and yours.
I don’t believe that we can understand, let alone even begin to judge, another who is contemplating suicide or has committed suicide without first truly knowing and understanding such person’s individual pain, thought process, heart, spirit, history, fears, frustrations, relationships, intentions, circumstances, physical health, mental health, emotional state, and perceived alternative options to suicide – to name just a few considerations. And how many of us really know and understand those dynamics about another? Even someone who we are “supposed” to be close to? How many of us are that close? That interested? That mindful? Take the time? And especially in the case of those who attempt or commit suicide, because isn’t the response, our response, invariably, “If I had only known he was feeling that way … “
In my own life I cannot count the number of times that I wish someone else would have known. Would have cared enough to notice and ask. And especially, would have cared enough to listen and sit with me in the ashes.
And since I know how that feels, maybe my responsibility to others who suffer is greater. And maybe part of my meeting that responsibility is not only to sustain the dialogue myself, but to encourage others to do so too. Like you.
At work. In our businesses. In our families. In our communities. In our congregations. With our friends. The distress is so much closer than we think. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages. There is one death by suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes. Yes, every 13 minutes.
If you want more information, or want to join me in sustaining the dialogue, or just want to be heard yourself, please reach out to me (ChaplainJayWTaylor@gmail.com). I have the time and inclination to meet you where you are. Let’s talk. Together we can make a difference. Because in the end, no matter our differences, we are all just walking each other home.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn. You can read it and share it from there at http://bit.ly/1O0L1iR