Since the suicide of my son in laws son Patrick…my step grandson, I have been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve attended many funerals over the years but never one of a suicide victim. I was filled with deep emotion as I looked at this 18 year old teenager laying so still in that casket. The room was filled with things that pertained to his life…Boy Scouts…altar boy…even his baby blanket was there. The reason why I was so stunned was because I really got a look at the devastation caused from taking ones own life. I saw what it looked like up close and personal. I was looking at what my life was almost going to be like many years ago. I tried to commit suicide the first time when I was 12 years old. Would my family have put my things out like that I wondered? Would anyone have really cared that I was gone?
From the massive amount of people at Patrick’s wake and funeral service I would have to say…”oh my goodness thank God I didn’t succeed in doing that to myself”. His parents, close family, friends, many children and teenagers who were there were so deeply affected. I sat and watch everyone’s face as they came up to view Patrick and greet the family. Everyone was so grief stricken.
I tried to commit suicide again when I was about 30 years old. I was married and had 3 small children at the time. I saw through Patrick’s decision what I might have done to my family and I was shocked by the overwhelming grief that I might have caused. I didn’t know or consider anyone else’s feelings at all!! It never crossed my mind! Sadly… I only cared about my own suffering at the time.
The morning of Patrick’s funeral was a beautiful day outside. As I entered the church I was so overwhelmed with the massive size and the beauty of the building. I’m sure there have been many stunning weddings and happy baby christenings there. But not on this day. This day a father, a uncle and Patrick’s friends would usher him down the aisle with their eyes filled with tears. The Priest tried his best to say encouraging words to the family and his words were comforting but the sting of the situation was still burning deeply in everyone’s hearts. I couldn’t conceive of what could have been my family’s fate had I done this.
On our way to the cemetery, I think there were about 2 miles of cars following the police escort and the hearse. As I walked up to the tent covering the casket, flowers and chairs set up for the family I was like “no no, this just can’t be!!!” It was like I was Ebenezer Scrooge from the novel “A Christmas Carol” watching my life as it could have been. I just didn’t know that it would be this bad for those who were left to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and my life that I had left for them to deal with.
I want to let everyone know…when a person makes it up in their mind to do this that we have no idea…no thoughts on what this will do to anyone at that moment in time!! We don’t do it to get back at anyone…we just want out of our torturing pain…that’s all. We feel so much excruciating pain and think there is no help or cure. There is NOTHING…NOTHING…NOTHING that anyone can do to stop what we want to do to ourselves at that moment!!! We would have needed to be watched 24 hour a day 7 days a week and that was only if you knew what was in our head before hand. I had help…I had counseling…I had medication…I had a wonderful caring husband…but my heart was completely crushed from my mind being completely diseased by mental illness! My husband would have blamed himself and my kids as the got older would have blamed me for leaving them.
People who knew me would have never suspected that I was in this deep hole. In public I looked OK. This illness is invisible to the naked eye. Nobody can see what is in the deep recesses of anyone’s mind.
I was spared from putting my loved ones though this because…because…because…umm… I don’t know why. I do know that I did attempt to get help that’s why I signed myself into a mental institution for a month. When that didn’t work I begged God to help me…and He did! It was a battle between a part of my mind telling me to take my life and my heart saying don’t do it. It was torturous to go through this battle all day every day and even through the night. You get very weary from the stress of dealing with your feelings of gloom. All it takes is a time of deep sadness and gut wrenching crying to be pushed over the edge. When you’re feeling worthless and extremely hopeless before you realize it you’re in a very deep, dark trancelike state and you quickly make a decision to end your PAIN. People could have tried talking to me and that would NOT have helped me at all. I guess you can say that I was NOT in my right mind.
Most people have a will to live and when you lose that will it sets off a malfunction in the brain or in other words mental illness. Brain malfunction is where the cure needs to be focused. The brain is made up of chemicals that control our emotions and feelings. If those chemicals get off balanced then there’s a problem.
As long as people feel that mental illness is embarrassing it will stay in the closet in a person’s life. It has in the past been thought of as a person being possessed by evil and others negative things so who would want to tell anybody they are suffering from this? Some people will talk about there desire to commit suicide and others hide it completely. I was very very embarrassed about having this disease! I felt so ashamed of feeling like a total failure and that I was possibly out of my mind.
I want to say to families left behind by this please please please don’t blame yourself!! Getting a look at this from my point of view from have been on both sides of this… as an almost victim to one of those left behind…it was out of your hands…out of your control!!! It was negative thinking in our distressed and severely dysfunctional mind. Be mad at cancer, be mad at diabetes, be mad at MS, and be mad at mental illness.
The priest at Patrick’s funeral gave this wonderfully helpful scripture verse that I want to share with you:
Matthew 11:29-30 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
I told Patrick’s mom that I was praying for her and she said that God gave her strength and she felt peace come over her. I know this scripture verse is what happened to her. When you are a Christian the scriptures which is God’s words to us will help us get through everything we may go through in life. Life is hard and we are going to need help. The bible says that we will go through difficult things. 1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. It also says that God will be close at these times. Psalms 23:4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Because I’m still here I feel I must tell others about Gods love. I want to spread the good news of Jesus Christ so that others can have the help and love they need for their lives. I want to encourage as many people as I can through my music and my blog. I have been speaking out about my experience with depression and suicide and will continue to do so even more in memory of Patrick. This is my mission now.
I want to leave you with this powerful scripture: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This blog is dedicated to Patrick Connor Merrick 1998-2016.
We celebrate all the wonderful memories that we each had with him in his life. We celebrate all his milestones and achievements. And we will be thankful for all the lives who will be touched by his story and hopefully will lead to many lives being spared through “Suicide Awareness” a life threatening illness.
May God bless all those who made their way to this blog for one reason or another.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Provides help to those in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 1-800-273-8255
Help and prevention is possible!