When my son died by suicide and I read all of his rap lyrics, I wanted to be with others who’d lost a child or someone to suicide. And I also wanted to talk to those with lived experience because I wanted to understand.
I scoured the internet in 2015 but there was not a lot of information. Not as many stories from those who struggled.
I never held to the belief that suicide was or is selfish. And from pages and pages of Charles’s notebook, I could feel the despair. Reading his lyrics would drain me and I had to limit reading to one or two songs. It was simply too painful to see how much he suffered and how little I had known about his darkness. And then a friend of mine shared a video from NC State where a few people with lived experience shared their stories. That helped. It was candid and emotionally naked.
I then went on Out of the Darkness walks including the overnight walk in Washington DC. I met others who were there because they struggled with thoughts of suicide and we talked. These people were so candid and I listened and never judged. My conversation had to come from a place of understanding and compassion and I was honored so many shared so openly.
From the beginning, this website has been a place where judgment doesn’t live.
I was never angry with those who struggled or had attempted. There was never any implication that those who suffer “didn’t think of their loved ones.” I understand that having suicidal thoughts is like being on fire and the actual suicide is a bucket of water to stop the pain of being burned.
We put stories here about our loved ones who died by suicide or overdose. And we also have stories about those who struggle. I have never separated the two because I want each camp to understand the other. No story is ever published to “guilt” anyone or make them feel less than.
It’s important that those who grieve a loved one lost to suicide or overdose understands someone who struggles with those thoughts. It’s important that we understand addiction from the family’s point of view and the one with substance use disorder. And conversely, it’s important that those who live with these thoughts understand our pain. Because together is where we connect and learn. Mental health needs to come out from under the rug. And we need to understand all sides of it.
So no matter where your hurt originates, we are here to support you. And we are OK no matter whether you are laughing or crying.