I am continually trying to reinforce to my children that for each action there is a reaction, for each decision made there is an outcome that can be positive or negative. I want them to understand that these reactions and outcomes do not just affect them but in some instances everyone who knows and cares for them and even possibly a stranger. It is an ongoing lesson, sometimes easily remembered, sometimes not.
We have no issues with talking about a story from the news to reinforce that listening to your parents, following the rules and thinking through the decision and possible outcomes is what is best for them. There are no topics that are off limit here. We discuss everything within the ability of the child to understand. If they have questions, we answer them or help them find the answer so they understand.
One of the topics that we have discussed on occasion is suicide. My oldest daughter had a friend whose uncle killed himself a few years ago. Kaelin knew him, but not well. She was sad because her friend was distraught over her uncle's death. Although, it was sad that Anna lost her uncle, it was by his choice and not by chance. We needed her to understand that he had made the decision to kill himself, that it was not something that just happened to him.
I could not let my child waste another moment feeling sorry for this man. I wanted her to realize that (her) life is a gift and that each moment should be treasured and lived to the fullest. I wanted her to understand that no matter how difficult the situation or desperate someone felt that there were always options and suicide was not one of them. We discussed how choosing to end your life is indeed your choice, but how this decision affects all the people who know and love you. Each life is entwined with the lives of so many people...family, friends, friends of friends, co-workers, even people you never met. We wanted her to be aware that it wasn't just about her that so many other lives are changed forever in one moment. The impact of this decision affects more than just the person who kills themselves.
It saddens me to hear of someone committing suicide. I honestly cannot imagine the grief, the pain, the unanswered questions of those who knew and loved the person who made this devastating choice. I do not know how a widow would be able to pick up the pieces of her life, to try and heal her heart and continue on. It seems it would be horribly challenging, nearly impossible. Even more challenging, would be to be a widow and a mother. How do you begin to deal with your grief, find peace and care for children who have lost their father and are hurting, too? How do you help your children grow up knowing their father and yet, help them understand that their father chose to take his life? How do you help them grieve, heal and grow up to be all that they can be?
My heart goes out to all who have had a loved one make this devastating choice.
Suicide is a decision I do not understand. :(