A few weeks ago I attended the funeral of an old friend. One week prior, he died as the result of suicide.
Soon thereafter came the questions and for some, judgment. Why would he do it? He had a good life. He was always so happy. How could he do this to his family? How could he commit such a selfish act? For some, the determination was already made, he was selfish. Unless you take the time to learn about and understand suicide, it is best to limit your comments to “I am truly sorry for your loss”.
Suicide is the result of a mental disorder that leads a person to a dark place where light cannot penetrate and death becomes the only option. Death becomes the only way to relieve the pain. No one chooses to die. No one chooses to destroy the lives of the people they love and adore. Suicide is not a choice. My old friend did not come home that day with the intention of destroying everything. He did not choose to forever cause his children to question why. He was in a dark place and in that moment the demons were in control. The only way to get rid of them was to end the life that was filled with excruciating pain. The love of family was strong enough in the past, but it could not overcome the demons this time.
His wife stood before the congregation and talked to us about her husband. She said he was a loving person that adored her and his children. She wanted us to understand that the person who took his life on that day was not the person we had known for so many years. The person they knew and loved was overwhelmed by something that those of us who see the light at the end of the tunnel do not understand. Most understand that the darkness will pass and that the demons will be vanquished but what if our mind prevents us from knowing, then what do we do?
I ask you all to pray for those who cannot see that light or don’t know how to vanquish their demons. Understand that it isn’t them when they find themselves overwhelmed by the pain and in that moment the only way to remove their anguish is to end their life. Never forget that our merciful God embraces all of us and it is only He who truly knows our hearts. I believe that anyone who dies with the love of Christ in their hearts is seated at the table of our Lord. May God bless all who mourn for they will find comfort.
Andrej N. Lah