Not A Day Promised

Battling mental illness through education and resources. "Let the wise hear and
increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:5

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Day Forever Etched (6 Ways to Experience Life After Suicide)

The following blog was first posted September 24, 2013 on the Mental Health Grace Alliance website:  I wrote this from my personal point of view, about losing Carson to suicide, to offer hope and encouragement to all who take the time to read it.

by Julie Brooks

July 12, 2010 will be a day forever etched in mine and my family’s memory.  That was the day our 18 year old son, Carson, took his life (committed suicide).  He suffered from chronic Bipolar disorder.

There are no words to describe the pain of losing someone to suicide, especially your child. Parents are supposed to die before their children; not the other way around.
God’s custom made, unmatchable grace is the only reason I can say I am moving forward three years later.  God’s grace has given my family and I the energy needed to persevere, until we see Carson again, some day in Heaven.

Some of the ways I have found helpful to adapt to life without my son are:

1) Being Transparent – From the day we learned of Carson’s suicide, my husband, Todd and I, and our four children decided we would allow others to move through the grieving process with us.  We have been and are still forthcoming about the facts of our loss, our struggle without him, our lives when he was still living, and the hope we have in Jesus Christ that assures us we will see him again.  Carson suffered from a painful and unstable mental illness known as Bipolar.  He suffered painfully for so many years, from adolescence into his early adult life, so much that he felt he could no longer endure.  Our family never claimed his passing to be other than what it was: suicide.  We trust that Carson’s life was saved for eternity when he trusted in Jesus Christ at the age of seven.  We were and still are not ashamed that our child committed suicide; hurt, but not ashamed.

2) Realize – My life will never be the same.  I carried this child to his birth, cared for him as a baby, grew with him through life changes, suffered with him in his despair, and now, I’ve outlived him.  It’s as if his death became a pulled thread in the fabric of mine and my family’s life.  That thread extended into areas of our family blanket that to this day we are still having to pull, stretch and adjust to.  At times, that pulled thread moves in concert with the rest of the fabric; all is well, and I remember joyful events.  At other times, that pulled thread has affected other threads, that have pulled other threads, and so on, and, it’s like a cold chill, a dark reminder that he is no longer with us.

3) Educate and Be Available to Others – God has given me an opportunity to give purpose, hands and feet, to my sorrow.  I no longer need to help Carson because he is in Heaven – healed from his pain.  I can use my experience to touch others.  God has given me a passion to educate others about mental illness and suicide.

4) Tears – I allow myself to cry whenever I need to.  I will continue to grieve the loss of Carson’s life, until the day I see him again in Heaven.  Three years later, my husband and I still (and will continue to have) what we call “Carson Moments,” where out of nowhere the pain of him not being here floods our thoughts.  Realizing that will happen, I endure, cry and recover my thoughts to God’s present day blessings and plans.

5) God’s Miracle Minutes – As we raise and support our youngest child, who also suffers with Bipolar disorder, God gave me a word picture.  There are 1,440 minutes in each day.  We can choose to see our completed day as “all good” or “all bad.”  Or, we can choose to live in the minute and look for God’s miracles – the ones we normally wouldn’t recognize without being consciously aware and on alert to see.  Acknowledge God’s work in the miracle of that minute, and as a bonus, bind the enemy, since he can’t occupy your thoughts when you are praising the Lord.

6) Live Without Regrets – Hug.  Tell a loved one you love them.  Encourage someone.  Pray for someone.  Make that phone call to someone now, because “Not a Day Is Promised.”
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