I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was sitting in the computer lab at my elementary school when I heard sirens coming from an ambulance. I looked up and turned my head toward the window to see the ambulance speeding by. It may have just been a coincidence, but in that moment a really weird feeling went through my body.
I didn't think about things as deeply as I do now, so I just went on about my day. Whether that ambulance was actually heading to my house or not will always be a mystery to me. That day changed my life forever. Some days it just doesn't feel real. My mom wrote a suicide note, loaded a gun, put the gun to her head, pulled the trigger, and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte.
My mom took her last breath at the age of 27. My mother committed suicide.
It's still a little crazy to think about sometimes. You never think something like that could happen in your family until it does. It just proves you never really know just how much a smile can hide.
I think the biggest question I have is not really why she did it, but rather what exactly went through her mind leading up to that moment. Did she regret it? Did she feel a severe amount of pain? Was this something she had been planning for a long time or was it a sudden feeling of worthlessness? But like I've stated in a previous article, some things we just don't get the answers to right now.
So, this note doesn't really answer any of those questions. I do know she felt as though she was a failure.
In reality, she was the exact opposite of that. I remember my guidance counselor meeting with me throughout the weeks and we filled out a memory book of my mom. I know she was just trying to help me grieve, but I think that book just kind of made things worse for me.
I was young and very unaware that my time with my mother was limited.
I hadn't taken the time to remember every little detail about her. I hadn't taken the time to notice her favorite color, food, or television show. So every question that memory book asked only reminded me how little I really knew about my own mom and how I would never get the chance to learn these things.
One thing I did notice about my mother was her strength. She had me when she was only eighteen and so her life was sort of forced to be put on hold. Despite her age, she was still an amazing mom. Whatever she put her mind to she accomplished. She was a CNA with the hopes of becoming a nurse.
She came when I called and pushed through anything that may have been in the way of getting to me. She never showed any type of weakness in front of me. She was a fantastic mother that I loved very much and I wish more than anything I could have reminded her of that before it was too late.
In her note, she says she knows I don't understand why she committed suicide. Well at nine years old of course I didn't understand why she would do that. I didn't even completely understand what exactly happened.
However, there's a reason I said I don't really question why she killed herself anymore. I've become aware of the things that happened behind the scenes of her life that answered a lot of questions for me.
I've struggled with suicide myself, so I don't judge anyone that feels like suicide is the only way out.
And if you do, well I hope what I'm about to say will change that.
I understand the feeling people get when they become consumed with a sadness that they feel only the pull of a trigger, overdose, hanging, a little deeper cut on the wrist, or step off a bridge could cure. At the moment leading up to the act of taking their own life, I don't think people really want to die. I think they just want that sadness they're feeling to end. And if you've never felt this kind of sadness, then I can't explain it for you, but it's a feeling like no other.
A lot of people call suicide selfish. I completely agree with that. However, the people trying to kill themselves don't see that.
They think the world would be better off without them.
They don't think about the times that will come when their mothers will be forced to quit their jobs and spend the rest of their lives cradling a picture from their child's sixth birthday while they sob on their bedroom floor.
They don't think about the times that will come when their fathers turn into alcoholics trying to fill their emptiness with liquor and start sleeping with other women. They don't think their siblings will eventually learn why their big sisters or brothers had to go away, and now they cut their wrists trying to numb the pain.
They don't think their friends will sit at their lunch tables staring at the empty seat, wishing their best friend was there to fill the silence with laughter. They don't think anyone loves them enough to be affected by their death.
They think they're alone in this world with only the company of these destructive thoughts.
They don't see the hurt they'll cause.
Instead, they'll tell you of the times that will come when the earth will still rotate, the seasons will still change, and the stars will still appear whether they are there or not. They don't understand that without them, none of those things matter to the people that love them anymore.
So that's why I don't really question why my mother committed suicide. I know from personal experience that those thoughts are a heck of a lot stronger than you think and everyone isn't always lucky enough to overcome them. And even when you do feel as though you've won the fight they still manage to creep back into your mind at very random times throughout the rest of your life.
Suicide is a touchy subject to write about. Everyone has their own opinion about it, but until it hits home for you personally I think you should keep your opinions to yourself. It's one of the saddest and most unfortunate ways someone could leave this earth.
Forgive the person and if you get the chance to say a final goodbye please let them know how much you love them. They didn't want to die. They just didn't know how else to end their pain.
All they really want is your love and forgiveness as you can clearly see by what my mother wrote to me.
So if you know someone that's been a little more quiet than usual lately, take notice. Silence sometimes says more than words ever could.
If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there and you are not alone.