Live every moment

We had a death in the family last week. A suicide.

Unexpected deaths are always difficult for those left behind, but suicide takes on a whole new dimension. It is not accidental, nor is it unavoidable. It is a conscious choice that is often a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I believe suicide is very selfish, not taking into account how it will affect others. Even when someone feels others would be better off without him, moving away rather than killing himself would be better. Suicide affects others forever.

No one knows exactly why this person made the decision to end his life, or what pain he was enduring that cemented the decision. That is what makes it so difficult for family and friends. Questions move from “why” to “what could I have done?” “If only” becomes part of the vocabulary, and a variety of scenarios fill the mind trying to make sense of it all.

I am angry! Angry that he chose to put our families through this. And at the same time I am sad that he was in such pain that he felt death was the only solution. No one can truly understand the pain, physical or emotional, that someone else is enduring. We can empathize, sympathize and even have been in a common place ourselves, but each person’s pain is only theirs. And EVERYONE endures extreme pain of some kind during their lifetime.

Years ago, I fell through a roof and landed in machinery, injuring a muscle that gradually pinched my sciatic nerve. Within a few months, the pain was unbearable at times making it impossible to even crawl across the floor. It took a year to get it under control. I prayed for release of the pain, and now I know that the incident forced me to stop taking care of everyone else and trying to fix everything at the detriment of myself. I needed to step back, take care of myself, and really look at how things were going in our family. It prepared me for the struggles ahead that I would not have been able to deal with had I not done that.

Emotional pain is something else entirely, and can be even more excruciating…

The choice he made really took me, and many others, by surprise. He hid his pain well. On the outside he appeared to be strong enough to charge head first into life. His intelligence and sense of humor made him fun to be around, and debates about politics were a blast.

I think one of the things I will miss the most is the way his infectious smile lit up his eyes.

Needless to say, it has been a difficult week. One thing that came out of it is the reminder to live every moment to its fullest. You never know what will happen tomorrow. One day you can be surrounded by family, enjoying a spectacular Easter gathering, and the next day, a family member is gone.



  1. Lee Lenertz says

    Dear Gail – I almost never comment on anything, I just enjoy seeing kids, grandkids, etc., and smiling at most of the stories. I didn’t smile reading this story of your today. I can’t agree with you more about any of your comments/thoughts, but your story is part of many people’s life, and you expressed that so very well. Thank you for writing on such a difficult subject especially while you obviously are suffering from such a heavy heart. Your advise is excellent, reminding us all how very fragile life really is, and to enjoy each moment. Love, Auntie Lee

  2. Terry Hasenfuss says

    I am so sorry that this happened in your family, or in any family. I cannot imagine the pain that he went through or the pain his family if feeling at this time. May God Bless the healing process of those those he left behind.

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