It’s been a little over four months since my son went into his room and attempted suicide. A little over four months since I noticed the house was too quiet and my heart began to pound as I rushed upstairs to only to find him unconscious and blue with a belt wrapped three times around his neck. How I wish I could report to those of you, who have followed my blogging about our journey through these darkest of days that we are strong and whole again. Truthfully, though, month four in many ways, has been more fearful that the previous three.
As our family walks the tender road of healing, none of us go the same pace, direction or even have similar needs at the same time. When one is raw, others are numb. When some want to talk, others are shut down. When one fights for control, others want freedom. Healing is messy. Like a vase that has been dropped on the floor and shattered, our family structure no longer fits together like it once did. We are broken – searching for a tie to bind us together.
The easier road surely is to blow apart; to tune each other out and walk separate paths. It’s easier to become enmeshed in our own individual things instead of carrying each other’s burdens. Choosing to tune into each other is much harder. After all, when I’m still so overwhelmed by the memory of seeing James unconscious and blue, it’s hard to stop being fearful and tend to Phillip, my love.
The World Doesn’t Always Stop to Let you Heal
As I write, tears stream down my face. This world just keeps on going. There is no pause button. No break or time out. Bills must be paid, and our taxes must be filed. The kids have to go to school, and whether my daughter feels emotionally able or not, she has to finish her senior year well so she can move on to college in the fall. If asked, all of us would say the very thing we’ve needed the most the past four months is the single thing we can’t have. A time out; a break; a breather; a reprieve.
We are exhausted. Stretched thin and sore all over. Just yesterday, my daughter had a panic attack at school over something we all know might have irritated her four months ago. Now, however, it sent her to an overwhelming, fearful place where she couldn’t cope. As I rushed to the school to help, tears streamed down my face. As I sobbed, I asked the Lord if our lives will ever feel normal again. Will we ever sit around the table and laugh again? When will I be able to confront my son about him not cleaning his room without the fear of him hurting himself? When will my husband and I have the energy to even think about intimacy? When will simple joys return? Heck, I’d even just take boring right now…
The Heavens didn’t part as my tears ran down my cheeks nor did a booming voice answer my questions. There wasn’t even a still quiet voice that came and brought comfort. When we are hurting, and are met with God’s silence, it is indeed painful.
Does that mean I toss in the towel? Is it time for me to throw my hands up in the air and curse the God I have boldly said I love?
Of course not.
My thoughts go to the story found in Mark 4:35-40
The Disciples Were Fearful Too
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Right now, my family is engulfed in the biggest storms of our life. There are times where the fearful circumstances of what happened to us consume us. Whether that results in panic attacks, tears, anger or isolation, in those moments, our fear is greater than our faith. Instead of trusting the one who has carried us through four miscarriages, critically ill preemies, an autism diagnosis, four job losses, many seasons of illness, the cycles of bipolar disorder and countless other struggles, in this 4th month of recovery after James’ suicide attempt, we’ve lost our way. We’ve taken our focus off of Jesus and instead, focused on our fears. The monster of, “what ifs” have become our master and the peace of God has slowly slipped away.
Where Do We Go From Here?
So, humbly, I write you, my dear friends, to say we’ve got a lot refocusing to do. Thankfully, God in Heaven is merciful, long-suffering and full of compassion. He knows our frailties, and promises,
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:24
So, though the storm is still raging, I have faith that the Lord is going to carry us through. I have hope that He will gently take the shattered pieces of us today and slowly put each piece back together into something lovely, beautiful and good. Why do I believe these things? Because HE IS GOOD and HE is FAITHFUL ALWAYS.
Until next month – Clinging to Him
If you have not read my previous blogs surrounding my son’s suicide attempt you can find them here: