Saturday, June 14, 2014

Too Much

Yesterday the Huffington Post published a piece they'd invited me to write in response to a TED talk about suicide.  I decided to write about things I thought might help survivors -- not a religious post, not a post filled with pastoral reflections or exhortations - just a post about some of what I've learned, written by a mom survivor who happens to be a pastor.

Positive responses poured in.

Among them was a repost by a former teaching colleague on a memorial FB page for a former student of ours.  Unbeknownst to me, he had died of suicide two days previous.  Twenty-four years old.  What I remember is his relentless sense of humor as he failed, time and again, to turn in his work.   Jewish funerals take place within 24 hours of a death, so I missed that, but she and I will go over to the house together on Monday.

Another response came from a high school classmate, about a series of suicide-attempt related losses all those years ago.  I did not know about those events, but I recognized the emotional landscape of which she wrote.

Then, today, the wedding of our next-door neighbors' middle daughter.  I tried; I really did.  I do not want to be like the father who wrote the column a year or two ago about not having attended a wedding in the eleven years since his son died.  I want to help my friends celebrate the great events of their lives.  This was our fourth try.  We haven't made it all the way through a single reception.  Tonight's final straw came when the bride's two sisters and brother sang "Here, There, and Everywhere" to her.  Before dinner, I might add. The seven children of our combined families played together for years; both families were filled with joy and laughter.  Theirs still is.

A new friend is doing the Overnight Out of the Darkness Walk in Seattle tonight, in honor of her son who died just a year ago, on the morning of his high school graduation day.  I had toyed with the idea of going to that walk (in one of my favorite cities) - until I broke my ankle.  I wish I were there anyway.

I am completely depleted.  Whatever I wrote about finding hope, whatever courage people saw in that   piece . . .   . Not tonight.  I just want my son back. That's the only thing I ever really want.

I can't imagine how I am going to lead worship tomorrow morning.  One of these days I'm going to have to preach so far ahead of myself that I'm going to fall flat on my face.


  1. hugs. I hope this morning was bearable.

  2. Maybe time to rein it in for a day or two... Rest.