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Author: toni

~ 12/11/09


We recently learned that we lost a family member to suicide. Without going into the details, those closest to him did not see it coming. Although I’m sure they are looking back over every memory, every moment with him to see if there was something, anything that indicated he was heading down such a path. He was going through a divorce, but lots of people go through divorces without resorting to such extreme actions. So there had to be something more. But we will never know because he’s not here to tell us.  

He left behind three beautiful, adoring children. And as a mother, I simply can’t imagine that. He was such a wonderful and kind and loving human being and a terrific and devoted father. It is hard for me to imagine that he would make such a choice knowing what it would do to his kids.

But as a human being… one who has gone through a deep depression at one time (I have referred to this before as The Year of my Great Depression)… I can understand the kind of pain that can bring someone to this point. Because that psychic pain can be so agonizing that it is actually physical pain. Truly it is. More painful than anything I have ever felt. And it is relentless and can certainly drive you to the point where you think you cannot live with it another minute.

What kept me from going over the edge?  My brother John. Knowing how connected we were and how much he relied on me, and we on one another. Knowing what it would do to him to leave him behind in such a way. So it was thinking of HIM, not myself, that stopped me from going the distance.

And I’m glad I did, because you know what? Things got better. I never believed they would because when you’re in the midst of that kind of pain, you simply cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. And what a long, dark tunnel it was.

It took a while but slowly, eventually, the pain started to subside. To my amazement, time was indeed the healer. And eventually hopelessness was replaced by hope. The world around me, which had literally lost its color, began to come to life again. And as it did, so did I.

And I emerged eventually from the darkness, with the help of my brother and my good, good friends who were there for me every step of the way, without judgment and with great love. (I love you all. You know who you are).

And when I came out of that dark tunnel, I was a stronger person. Rebuilt from the ground up. I know it sounds cliche, but I was truly a Phoenix, arisen from the ashes of my former self.

And because I hung in there and didn’t take the dark step, I was able to move to a better and stronger phase of my life. I was able to open up my heart and that’s when I found Randy the perfekt husband. He had been there all along as my friend and because of what I had been through I could finally see him as more. We got married and had a beautiful daughter JULIA. And I have never been happier. And I now look back on that blackness with disbelief. Because I cannot imagine that I almost gave all this up.

And this is what I want to say to anyone out there who is feeling that shroud of sadness envelope them. Who is feeling hopelessness and desperation (which can be especially painful during the holidays).


Because it does. If you can hang in there, you WILL emerge. It doesn’t last forever. I promise you.

But sometimes you can’t do it all alone. Sometimes you need help. So reach out. Please. To friends, to family, to clergy, to strangers at hotlines. Whatever it takes to help you through. They will understand, they will help. They will not judge you. They love you. Do NOT keep it to yourself.

And if living for yourself isn’t enough of a reason in the moment, then think of living for others. Think of those whose hearts you will break with your selfish act. Because it is the ultimate selfish act. This is just as valid a reason to live. And it can help get you through the toughest of times until the pain fades. AND IT WILL FADE.

It’s true, that other old cliche that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t mean there won’t be scars. We all carry them. Physical ones. Psychological ones. These scars are our war stories. And there is no life that is lived without encountering some battles. And the scars from those battles are what define us as individuals. And as human beings. It’s part of the symmetry and the beauty that is life.

So I just want to remind everyone out there, as a survivor of sadness…Hang on. Please.


I wish with all my heart I could have said this to our family member. I don’t normally talk openly about such things so he never knew this about me. But I’m talking about it now in case someone else out there might benefit from my experience.


And if you need help, if you’re feeling desperate, alone or hopeless

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at


A free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.
Call for yourself or someone you care about
Free and confidential
A network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide
Available 24/7

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