The infamous question we as survivors of a suicide loss ask ourselves, “why?” “Why would they do this?” “Why would this happen?” “Why didn’t anyone prevent it from happening?” I could write an entire book on the “why” questions that I have asked since losing my dad to suicide. Problem with “why” is that there aren’t any concrete answers. There is no magical equation that will give us a definitive answer. The one and only answer lies with the one person who is no longer here. That is often a difficult concept to grasp.
I remember the days following my dad’s suicide. We searched every area of his house trying to establish what led to his decision to end his life. We found clues, insights into the pain that ran deeper than we could have ever imagined, but no answer to our, “why.” I remember eagerly checking the mail every day thinking that maybe today would be the day that I would get a letter in the mail, detailing why he decided to leave us all; but no such letter arrived. A simple email to a friend noting that he decided to end his life was all we were left with. So the quest to uncover the “why” began.
I wish I could tell you that on my quest I discovered all of the answers I was looking for. Truth is, I don’t know anymore today than I did six years ago when he ended his life. Sure, I have ideas, but nothing definitive by any means. What I have learned is that there is no journey when we are stuck trying to figure out “why.” Trying to find answers is like watching a hamster on one of those little wheels; you just keep running but don’t go anywhere. You go around and around until eventually you become so tired you stop, feeling defeated by your lack of progress. So let me let you in on a little secret I learned on my journey. It isn’t about finding the “why” its about figuring out what to do with it. That is when we get off of the hamster wheel and begin to make forward progress. For me, the forward movement began when Becky and I started this blog. Helping others navigate their pain, was what I decided to do with mine. I hear stories everyday about what others did with their pain. With each story I am not only inspired but humbled by the fact that I get to know their story. I will forever be grateful for that.
As you all know my goal for 2018 is to not only be more grateful, but to express my gratitude. I want to thank you all today. Not only those who have reached out to us, or shared their story; but also to those who read our blog weekly in an effort to find purpose in their pain. You all inspire me, and continue to validate the purpose I have found in starting this blog. If you would like to share a story of how you found your purpose, please comment below. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured as a guest contributor. Get off the hamster wheel and start the journey. I promise you it will be worth it.