Honestly, I promise, I wasn't going to write here about suicide or grief for awhile. Enough, already. I know that Lent and Easter, like Advent and Christmas and like the end of summer, when all my children's birthdays are, make me just a little crazy with sorrow. And Holy Week sends me right over the top, what with the reliving, over and over, the grief of a mother while at the same time preparing to proclaim resurrection. But, really, who cares?
There are plenty of other things I could write about. Ministry supplies an endless variety of intriguing topics, if one can but figure out how to disguise people and events adequately so as to explore the dilemmas without revealing identities or inadvertently hurting congregations.
But over the week-end, three people known to friends died of suicide: a young man about the age my son was, and a youngish-couple, parents of young adult children.
Or do I even feel like yelling?
I feel . . . depleted. Deflated.
I have learned so much about suicide in the past four years that I automatically begin to contemplate the final minutes in the lives of each of these individuals, all of them unknown to me, but each of whose pain was searing and then, ultimately, numbing. My friends and I who have lost children, we have discussed their final minutes with one another in considerable detail. After such knowledge, what forgiveness?
And I also imagine the days and months and years ahead to which the surviving loved ones have been consigned. There will be no resurrection morning at an empty tomb, not in this lifetime. And who knows about the next?
I remember what my friend Lisa once said: You think you cannot survive for another minute, and then one day you look back and it's been years.
What would I say to all these new survivors?
Minute by minute.
They could not do this, but you can.
For now, just hang on to the minutes.