What to Do When You’re Stuck in a Hole So Deep
Suicide is not the only way out
I almost became a widow three times. I don’t say this lightly. I have had to work through layers of anger and resentment. But God has helped me do just that.
How could my husband do this to me, knowing I have my own abandonment issues?
How could he even think of it?
No. I already knew the answer to that one.
Often we become like those who gave us life, whether we want to or not.
I remember when Mike shared his story with me.
“One day one of our friends ran up to my brother, David, and said, “Hey, there’s a black man in your car.”
Our garage door kept flapping in the wind, but I had to check this out. So I ran outside but then decided to just walk up slowly towards our car. I didn’t have a plan, I just needed to know what was going on.
We lived in the North side of Chicago and I figured someone just got inside. I didn’t know what to think, I was only 19.
Pressing my hand against the window to stop the glare, I looked in.
That was the moment my life changed forever.
It wasn’t a black man at all. Inside sat the man I had loved my whole life. The one who would come and hear me play my music. The one who bought me my first guitar. My dad. He had been in there four days. We thought he left after an argument with mom. We were so wrong.
I don’t know how long I stood there, I think it was till someone pulled me off. When they came to take him away. I don’t remember. I just remember I didn’t want to leave him.
There was no place for me to go. How could I live in a world without my dad?”
My husband’s words pierced through me, reminding me of when I was a teenager and stood at my own mom’s coffin. Sometimes life is so unfair.
I remember crying as I heard his story. My heart hurt.
But there was another part of me that thought, well, knowing how it scarred you, knowing how you had so many hard years because of his decision. How could you then follow in his tormented footsteps? How could you think of doing this to us? And never mind me, what about your kids?
Mike looked down without any emotion, he simply said, “It’s like I was in a dark cave and I couldn’t get out — a hole so deep.”
Not that long ago, millions watched the news report the suicide of Robin Williams. A wonderfully creative person who gave the world so many laughs, ended his life with real-life drama. No one would be laughing now.
I remember watching and looking over at Mike. Curious to hear what he would say when the newscaster spoke about Robin’s family. Curious, because it’s been puzzling to me, how a person who is loved, and part of a family could go down that path?
Mike said,“Wow, that is so heavy for his family to have to go through that.”
No, I didn’t blurt out, “What about you?”
Maybe I would have in the past, but living with someone who struggles with depression has slowed down my quick remarks. At least, right then.
I just listened.
Always an option
Those who choose suicide always had that option in the back of their minds. It just sits there waiting.
Depression in two generations. But would it continue?
I remember getting a phone call. It was before there was caller ID. Each call was a surprise.
“Hi Anne, is Nathan there,” Kyle asked quickly.
That wasn’t like Kyle, my son’s youth Pastor. There was usually a little small talk, a little levity. But not this time.
“What’s up Kyle?” I asked.
“Anne, I have reason to believe Nathan is going to hurt himself.”
I froze. And then I began to live the longest couple hours of my life.
“There are a couple people out looking for him right now,” Kyle offered. “And we’re praying.”
I paced back and forth. The same kind of pacing I did when my brother called to tell me, “The baby is blue, please pray.”
And that prayer didn’t get answered the way we wanted, would this one?
Funny thing about hard news. Sometimes you think it will draw you together as a couple. And sometimes it does. But there are other times, you just have to process it alone.
My husband had his own demons to face in those two hours.
The waiting is over
We got the call. But maybe it’s best if I let you hear Nathan’s story.
So why am I sharing all this?
Because we need to have compassion for those who suffer. Sometimes all we can do is be there for them.
For weeks after my husband’s last attempt a friend, Dick used to come over. And if Mike was in bed, he waited and got him out of bed. His intent? Just to let Mike know he was there, and that he cared.
I felt a million miles away, though I was in the same house. I was stuck thinking of how close we came to being without him.
Suicide is not a simple choice people make. And though you’ve heard it said, “How selfish that is to take your own life.”
Some people contemplating suicide genuinely believe they’ll be creating a better life for those left behind. They see themselves as a burden to those they love.
Those contemplating suicide just want the pain to stop. The pain they feel and the pain they cause others. It’s that dark, deep hole they can’t seem to get out of.
My heart goes out to any family who has lost a loved one to suicide. It is a long, lonely road back to feeling normal.
So unless you have seen the ambulance pull away as attendants shoot questions at you in rapid fire. Before you judge the actions of these suffering people. Why not pray?
Pray for the family. And pray for those who may be in that hole so deep.
Maybe, just maybe we can get them out. We have to at least try.
Call to Action
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, or talking about how life would be better for everyone if they were just not around, get that person help. Let them know you care about them and you’re not going anywhere.
Write this number down and give them a copy as well. 1–800–273–8255.
Has your heart been broken by someone you lost to suicide?
I’d love to hear from you.