Over at Parchment & Pen Michael Patton has posted a couple very personal posts within recent days about the suicide of his sister Angie and the toll it has taken on members of his family. I would recommend reading them as well as previous ones that provide more of the history.

Why do I recommend them? It is something I don't talk about much but my mother committed suicide when I was 10 years old (1980). I didn't know this until years later but my mother had been diagnosed with brain cancer. She went to the doctor alone and nobody knew about the diagnosis until after her death. Her rationale was that she didn't want to be a burden to her family.

I don't resent God and really have never found myself asking him why. Of course I have tried to understand why she did it (other than the reason she gave) and have wished on occasion that she was around to witness the big events of my life. However, I have never once felt bitterness toward God or hatred toward my mother, even during times when others around me may not have felt the same way. I give God glory for that and do not pat myself on the back.

Another reason I recommend these posts is because of the personal nature based on first hand experience. He is a good writer and you can feel & see the results of such a tragedy in Michael's writing. Patton has laid bare in detail how his sister's decision has impacted each member of his family in the years following her death.

My concern is that the church often ignores the reality of mental illness and the person falls through the cracks. It is obvious, Angie's case is a good example, that there are times when even our best efforts cannot prevent someone from taking their life. But, I pray that church leaders and laypeople alike will educate themselves on this issue and realize that mental illness isn't the plague or leprosy.

Finally, maybe you or someone you know is considering taking your life. I would urge you to seek help because there are many people who care even if it doesn't seem like it. Here are some helpful resources:

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255) - 24 hour help line for immediate assistance.

  • CLICK HERE to find a trained biblical counselor near you.
Grace & peace to you!

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