When I first heard Charles died by suicide, I took it personally. I could not figure out how he could leave us like that. Wouldn’t he know we’d be devastated? Didn’t he remember how awful he felt when Cal died by suicide?
But it was not about me. It was not personal. And it took me a long time to realize that.
You’re wondering how could a parent, in this case Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, not realize what their death by suicide might do to their child? The truth is, they just couldn’t because that moment of suicidal ideation is so irrational and intense. That moment is not selfish. It’s desperate.
So I’m going to put an excerpt from a letter left from a mother who died by suicide to her daughter. It might help you understand how intense, irrational, and convincing that moment is for the person suffering.
“She deserves so much better than the mom I can be for her. How can l explain that the worst possible thing I can do to her is the only way to give her the life that I had but couldn’t hold onto…..She deserves so much more.”
This one from Debbie.
“I have suffered from depression since I was 19. I’m 45 now I can not go on like this any more I’ve got a 13 yr old son who has autism adhd. I’m a rubbish mom I hate myself….i do feel he will have a good life without me. Cruel i know but it’s not fair. if i tell my mental health doc they will take him. I’m not emotionally fit …. He deserves to be with a good family”
This from a young man with whom I corresponded for a while and finally got help and is doing better. The nature of the disease and our culture often prevents the person from seeking help but I’m glad he did.
“I see suicide as bad but I’m starting to see why it’s like at some point I won’t be able to care anymore about how it would make my family feel. It doesn’t matter how tough I think I am. It just gets to you and I feel like I want it to stop so badly I’ll do anything in that moment.”
I want you to know that moms and dads don’t “do this” to their children. They do it to themselves and in that moment cannot fathom what it would do to others. Tunnel vision takes over in that moment of suicidal intensity.
You may not ever be able to fully understand. And thank God for that.
But I’m asking you not to judge or to blame but to learn more and talk about it. Only then will people suffering be more willing to ask for help. Only then will we be able to prevent children from losing a parent or visa versa.