It occurred in the summer of 1972. The symphonic music of machines working together in rhythmic form echoed throughout the building. The business, though small, paid the bills for the family. On this morning, the father and son were working together, moving the merchandise on the first floor. Around noon, the father noticed that his wife had not come down from the upstairs apartment.
At that time, he continued to work, but sent his son upstairs to check on her. As the son entered the apartment, he called out his mother’s name, but there was no response, only a strange noise emanating from his parents’ bedroom. Upon entering the bedroom, he saw his mother lying in bed with a seemingly eerie rattling sound emitting from her. Sensing something was terribly wrong, he called her name, but was met with no response. Then, he immediately captured his father’s attention. The father entered the bedroom and was yelling her name, while attempting to shake and awaken her, to no avail. Frantically, the ambulance was contacted, and she was transported to the local hospital, where she was revived.
Later, it was found to be an intentional overdose of medication. The darkness had enveloped her to such an extent that life was no longer worth living. You see, for decades suffered from deep depression and grief (from losing her first child in childbirth and a second in a tragic accident) with little respite and reached a point in her life where she suffered from the self-banishment of hope. Through intensive counseling and family support, she was able to acknowledge that there was much to live for, and that God had more missions for her. Through the years since then, she helped to initiate a suicide prevention group, along with a Right to Life group, and in doing so, touched many lives.
Suicide, whether attempted or completed, leaves an indelible, emotional, and psychological effect on both friends and family. According to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, “Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can’t predict a suicide attempt, but they’re important to be aware of.”
The following are some of the possible risk factors:
1. Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders
2. Feelings of hopelessness
3. Family history of suicide
4. Lack of social support and a sense of isolation
5. Alcohol or substance abuse
6. Extreme mood swings
The following are some of the possible warning signs:
1. Expressing feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live
2. Verbalizing about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
3. Communicating about being a burden to others
4. Withdrawing or isolating themselves
5. Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
6. Sleeping too little or too much
The young man at the beginning of the story was me, and throughout the course of my life, suicide has taken the lives of members of my family and friends. Please keep all involved in your prayers; if you know of anyone who exhibits some of the above risk factors, please seek professional advice, contact local help lines, or call The Suicide Crisis Lifeline at 988, or the website: 988lifeline.org.