This entry is part 21 of 31 in the series The Hope Toolbox

A Room Full of Love: Thoughts after a Loved One's Suicide

A Room Full of Love

Thoughts After a Loved One’s Suicide

by Faith RaiderFaith Raider Brother

Winter, 2009, in a Church Pew

I sit next to my husband and sisters at my baby brother’s memorial service. At only sixteen years old, he committed suicide. It is such a shock because we didn’t know he was struggling. We thought he was doing great. In this moment I look around at the packed church. I see tear-filled eyes and love-filled faces. Later I get hugs from neighbors, from the moms of his friends, from people he went to church with.

Every single one of us would have done anything to save his life. We would have let him crash on our couch. We would have listened to his struggles. We would have prayed with him and for him.

Faith Raider Flowers

Spring, 2010, on the Kitchen Floor

I’m lying on the kitchen floor sobbing; I have no idea why. I try to let the waves of emotion and horrible thoughts crash over me. I know that if I just wait this will pass. I look up at the four concerned little faces of my children and all I can say is “I’m so sorry”I say it over and over. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I don’t know why I can’t pull myself together.

This aftermath of my brother’s death is one of the worst things I have ever experienced.  I am filled with thoughts like, Why didn’t I see it coming? What could I have done to prevent this?I blame myself for my brother’s death. I want to reach back into time and scoop up my little brother and carry him with me to safety.

Today I miss my brother so muchMy kids adored him, and I hate that he never got to know my boys. He died when my oldest son was still a baby but I know they would have gotten along spectacularly.

I realize something important. We all have a packed-out standing-room-only church full of people who would do anything to save our lives. Depression tells me I’m alone, that no one really cares about me, but that is a lie. There are people, a lot of peoplewho would let me crash on their couches, who would listen to me and let me cry on their shoulders if they knew I was at risk for committing suicide. That friend from youth group, that teacher, that neighbor, that mom I used to go to church with — if they knew what I was thinking about doing right now, if I could somehow find the words to ask for help, they would try to find a way to help. I know they would.

Faith Raider Flowers 2

Fall, 2015, in the Sunshine

I continue to struggle with suicidal thoughts from time to time, though not with the intensity of the moments on the kitchen floor. I have a better support system around me now than I did then. I have friends I can be honest with when I’m struggling and who I can reach out to on a hard day. They text me when they know I’m struggling. I also know to respond better when I start a depressive spiral.

But can I be brutally honest here for a minute? You don’t get a do-over with this. I may feel like a crappy mom right now, but a crappy mom is better than a mom who killed herself. I may be having a bad day or a bad year, but as long as I am alive there is hope. Today I might feel like my family would be better off without me, but I refuse to put them through the pain of grieving my suicide.

I might be miserable right now, I might feel irrevocably broken, but life changes and it’s amazing what something as simple as going out into the sunshine, taking a walk, getting a good nap, or even eating a good meal can do to help me feel better — even if just a little bit, even if just for a little while. It’s breathtaking how, as time has moved on, God has healed a lot of the broken places in my heart and filled my life with beauty that I didn’t think could co-exist with the pain.

In my hope toolbox I carry the image of that packed-out standing-room-only church in my heart. I remember that room full of people who would have helped my baby brother if he had asked. I sit in the front row. I would have helped him, I would have done anything to help him if he had asked. I would have been there for him if I had known. So would every other person in that room.

You have that same room full of people who would help you if asked. You have a room full of love.

Faith Raider Fall

All photos by Faith Raider. Used with permission.

Faith Raider Fall

Faith RaiderFaith Raider is a Jesus-follower, writer, photographer, wife & mother to six, living in Augusta, GA. Find her at her popular blog or on Instagram.
Sara’s note: Faith has a really neat Zazzle shop with cool stuff! Here is the link. She also offers beautiful photography e-classes. Check those out here!
After a Loved One's Suicide: Finding Hope and Healing

The Hope Toolbox

NEW! We listened to customer feedback! We’ve updated the My Hope Toolbox Printable Kit. For the same price, it now includes 20 beautiful pages (up from the previous 9). It includes a daily journaling page and much more. Check it out here.

New! All The Hope Toolbox Resources on one page for your convenience. Bible verses, daily journaling prompts, clickable links, free printables: The Hope Toolbox Resource List

hope for depression

Today’s Bible Verse:

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

Romans 8:24

Today’s Journaling Prompt:

Do you have times when you feel hopeless? Write down 5 things to think about that give you hope. They can be big or small.

Resources:

Joy Returns: Hope During Grief

Life in the Spacious Place: Healing from Abuse

Life+Grace: 31 Days of Grief

Tlmashburn & Gifts of Grace: 31 days of Surviving Chronic Illness: Surprised by Grief

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