By Kaitlin Jandereski
A lot of normality goes on in this world.
People wake up, fix their daily cup of joe and read their Treasury of Daily Prayer. Then they brush their teeth, comb their hair, clock in and end the day with tired feet.
It’s all in the day-to-day grind.
Except when it’s not.
Except when something is off, when your stomach turns before you know why, when your day-to-day life isn’t like any other day anymore.
I had a day like that and I think it’s important that we talk about it.
On a winter eve, a friend of mine had asked me to come to his room at six and when I did, I walked in and found his body lying lifeless over a cold and hard green tiled floor.
According to the papers, he was just another teenage suicide statistic. By the next couple of pages, reporters gave the weather as if nothing traumatically terrible was stated pages before. And the days moved on, too, but I didn’t. At least, not for a long while.
I fought a daily battle each morning to unroll my covers, step out of bed and face the world as if things were back to “normal” again. My normal became nothing feeling normal.
My boss had me see a counselor. My mom wanted me on depression medication. My friends called me to talk, and my coworkers asked me to go on walks. Everybody was looking out for me, but I still couldn’t shake off a feeling of despair. Did this really happen? Why? Was there anything that I could’ve done to prevent my friend from taking his own life?
The answers to these questions seem like a foggy expressway drive – fast, but too unclear to make sense of where I was going next.
I needed answers then and, if you’re going through this, you need answers now. Because if you ever felt the stinging zap of seeing a hopeless body sprawled over a cold and hard tiled floor, ever lost a friend, a family member, a coworker, ever cried yourself to sleep from pain, ever wondered why this would happen to such a good person, ever felt breathless under a hefty pile of stress, ever pulled the covers over your head because you detested daylight, ever suffered, ever hurt, you know that the loss of a loved one to suicide is all too real.
Take a deep breath. There’s hope, my friend.
I know. The pain is strong, unbearable even. And you know that I’m going to say that the answer to your pain is Jesus. Isn’t that how anybody’s story goes, though? When anything goes wrong in life, people are always talking about them turning to Jesus for help.
What kind of help is Jesus, though? What kind of help was Jesus to me? My friend is dead, and was lying on a bathroom floor. He took his own life. My pain, titanic. To answer that question, though, my Jesus is not a Jesus that waited for me to turn to Him for help. My Jesus — and your Jesus — is a Jesus that turned to you before even your great-great grandparents knew you were going to exist and, thus, be in need of a help. Jesus didn’t help us by floating on a high cloud and waiting for us to turn our hearts to Him. Instead, He turned His heart to us by coming down from His heavenly throne, being born of a virgin, suffering, dying by crucifixion.
Through my own experience with suicide, I learned the pain will always be there, but you learn to deal with it. It doesn’t lessen the pain, and it doesn’t get any easier. But you can keep on living, because you know your future in Christ. I’m sorry if you wanted me to tell you your pain was going to go away. As far as I’m concerned, it may not. But, always have your eyes fixed on the cross where the deepest pain of all was conquered for you. That is the location where your hope lies and your pain is crushed like a skull being struck multiple times.
Having hope in Jesus may not make things better now – or even ever – on this earth. Having hope in Jesus won’t erase the day the suicide happened or the lonely nights you spend crying in your room where nobody can hear you.
Having hope in Jesus, though, does, indeed, make all things better. By that, I mean, you may find rest from your burdens in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the grief of the world, the aches and pains of the world. Having hope in Jesus is not a temporary fix, but an eternal fix.
So, yes, losing a loved one to suicide is tough. And knowing that the pain may not lessen on this earth is even tougher to have stored in mind. However, because of His dying on the cross for us, we are not left in this despair. We are left in hope to wait on the day we are called to our heavenly home of paradise for rest from our earthly burdens. We are left to wait for the day of strength grows back inside of us, the moments we feel comforted again, the hope we have in Christ as “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
All glory be to Christ alone. Amen!
As one body in Christ, we are able to suffer with each other and talk about our burdens with our moms, brothers, bosses, counselors, coworkers, sisters, friends. If you or someone you know has met somebody that has now committed suicide, reach out. Even if your friend is suffering terribly and you have no idea what to say to them, reach out. Find a counselor for your friend, call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), listen.