Finding a Way to the Light after 1988

I was rummaging through an old file in my office labeled, “Reflections,” and found a poem among the papers. I noticed the date, March 1988, was written on the bottom left corner of the page.

Please, let me go

Let me vanish into a place

Where my spirit will flow

Far away, into a never-ending tomorrow

I have had enough of trying to try

Laughing when I hurt

Giving and Giving

Just more work.

Please, let me die

For I am but a burden

To those who have listened

Only to cry.

I’m only getting worse

May I go?

My life’s a curse.

I know you will forgive me

If I interrupt you plan

And let me go by my own hand

I fought the fight Now I’m tired

Let me retire

Into your soft night.

Oh, my plans!

You always win

Finding a way to

Give me hope again.

You saved me; heaven knows why

To find purpose, rhyme.

You carried me when I couldn’t

Thank you, God,

For loving me

Even when I didn’t.

When I read what I wrote in 1988, years slipped away, and I recalled the feeling of being on the inside of clinical depression and darkness. I realized most people only view suicide from the outside looking into those lives who see only blackness. The voyeur cannot begin to understand what sorrow lies in the heart of those who take their own lives. Most people cannot understand those who live in a world where sadness is so profound and feel happiness only belongs to others.

When suicide seemed to be the only way to find rest for myself, I believed the world would be a far better place without me. My depressed mind thought my family would be free from my tears and their worry about me, gone. I felt I bothered the world, bothered my family, and I was a bother to myself. I hated being me.

My world was depression, and when God showed me a glimmer of hope, I took it. I worked hard to walk away from the cliff beckoning me to jump, and instead, climbed up the mountain to find life, not death.

I am one of the ones who survived the tomb of the lost. Its darkness does not discriminate between the young or old, rich or poor. Clinical depression isn’t the only reason on can enter the tomb. Situational depression from a tragic loss, physical illness, financial distress, failure, addictions, mental illness, bullying, pressure, resentment, and a myriad of other reasons can place you among the lost.

When we lose a famous person to suicide, we don’t quite understand why, when they seemed to live the dream, they would choose death. The truth is they weren’t living a dream; they were lost in a nightmare.

Since cases of suicide and mental illness are on the rise, it is way past the time for us to reveal who we are. It is time to share, to care about each other and be brave enough to talk about our struggles to the others understand they are not alone.

Plus, this idea that mental illness is a sign of failure is archaic. Everyone needs to trash judgmental thinking because too many are suffering and dying, including our children. Let’s love one another and show compassion. Let’s stop the whispering and start listening.

If I could be in the same room as the person who is ready to fall off the cliff from life to death, I would grab them by the arm and tell them the story of me.

“There were times in my life when I needed to fight to keep from jumping off the cliff just like you. Times when loneliness and fatigue multiplied my depression. Times when I worried about money, weariness from jobs, and when sadness followed me around like a shadow. The good news is that I am standing with you now to you away from the edge.

If you fall, you will miss seeing what is awaiting you tomorrow. I found help, I talked, I shared, I prayed, and because I did, I was able to see my children grow into beautiful adults. I saw a precious granddaughter join the world. I fell in love, I continued giving my career all I could, and when it was over, I began my dream of writing. The bullies will move away, and loss will ease with time. So, don’t die, let me take you to see the light of tomorrow.

Tomorrow will turn into weeks and with work, weeks will turn into the future and one that will feel sad if you are not there.

Every single person on the planet is vital and has a reason not to give up. God showed me purpose, gave me a voice and the courage to live long after 1988.