Reflections on a Life Taken

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Reflections on a Life Taken

by Susan Regisford
by Susan Regisford,
Suicide Death Mourning Grief

Editor's Note: We understand the subject matter of this article is very sensitive. For that reason, we insist readers exercise the caution necessary to keep themselves safe.

Suicide- the topic no one likes to talk about.

Everyone says that the signs were there if you looked for them, but no one is ever prepared to look for such signs. No one wants to think that a loved one or family member is in such pain that taking their own life seems to be their only solution. Frankly, it’s almost a taboo subject and sadly if you never think about it, you can and most likely will miss the signs. I know my family did.

Suicide is what other people did, we as “West Indian people” do not resort to such drastic measures. Never mind the stigma of taking one’s life. Unfortunately, suicide is not biased; it does not discriminate and avoid some ethnic groups and plague others. Every race, gender, socio-economic and ethnic groups have been touched by suicide.

Suicide rates have been on the increase since 2000 as per the CDC. Men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. Native American and whites are 2-3 times greater than any other groups.
While you do not want to think about it, we should educate ourselves about the signs, we should talk to our friends and family members and perhaps be blunt if we think that they have had a lot of stressors recently that may push them in that direction. I am almost tempted to say that even when we do not see the stresses, some people may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed and may benefit from a close friend or family member reaching out and asking them if they are feeling okay, if they are thinking about hurting themselves. Yet, many may think this is an infringement on their privacy; however, if being nosey and pushy would have saved my brother, I would have gladly welcomed someone prying.

Some signs to look for: the topics a person talks about (being a burden, feeling trapped, having no reason to live); changed or new behaviors (increased use of alcohol or drugs, reckless behavior, withdrawing from activities, sleeping too much or too little, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, giving away prized possessions); and their mood (depression, rage, anxiety, humiliation).

Suicide is a final solution for the one suffering; however, it leaves behind a lot of unanswered questions and hurt. There is a predominant feeling of guilt and that is often present with anger. Guilt because friends and family members wonder how they could have missed the signs and anger because you wish the person had not ended their life so drastically. You are angry that they did not trust you enough to ask for help.

While many may think that suicide is the only answer, I would plead with everyone contemplating suicide to take a moment to reach out to loved ones, a trusted authority figure and most importantly talk to God. Ask him to bring peace and clarity and leave your burdens and worries at his feet. God clearly states in the Bible that he will NEVER give us more than we can bear. In the midst of your emotional state you may not be thinking clearly, BUT remember there are people who love you, want to help you and there are other solutions besides suicide.