Today I will be teaching law enforcement about suicide prevention and postvention. The irony is that eight years ago today I was sitting in my living room waiting to hear from the police as they searched for Michael. I’ll never forget seeing the priest standing in my doorway. Just seeing his collar told me that what I’d feared the most had come true. Michael was gone.
I had to go the next morning to meet with an investigator. I couldn’t understand why I had to meet with her. The police knew I had been at home all day. They had been in and out of my house during the search. Hearing details regarding his death was almost more than I could bear…
One question plagued me — why?
Every person I’ve ever met who lost someone to suicide asked the same question. In preparing my talk, I read about an analogy by Iris Bolton (who lost her son to suicide) that helps to put the “why” into perspective.
We all have a cup, a place deep inside us, where stress and hardships are collected. A lost job, a friend’s betrayal, divorce…all add drops to our cups. Some circumstances add multiple drops. Some add just one. It is the last drop that seemingly causes a cup to overflow, but it is really a compilation of all the drops. The last one just put the contents over the edge. We all have to learn ways to empty our cups in healthy ways. We can talk to a counselor, a pastor, or even a friend about our struggles. We can pour out our hearts to the Lord. We can eat healthy and exercise. When we take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually, We have to empty our cup or disaster will strike (mental breakdowns, suicide, homicides, etc.).
I encourage you not to let your cup fill to the brim. Take time to intentionally empty it so that your cup won’t flood.
I praise God for bringing me to a place where I can openly share my past hurts in an attempt to encourage others — He does this by continually emptying my cup one drop at a time.