Surviving the Stigma

I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors ~ even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me on the street, they run the other way.  Psalm 31:11

I know David is writing about his personal enemies . . . and I never thought I had enemies and perhaps I don’t, but there are days when I feel just like David. It seems that every person I meet runs the other direction.

Society may show more understanding and acceptance than it did in previous generations, but we still feel sort of contagious. There lingers a stigma about suicidal death. Perhaps there also lingers the “stench” of death causing doors to shut, blinds pulled and strict adherence to social codes and comfort zones. Am I meddling a little?

Not only have we lost our son to a tragic death, but we have also lost family, friends, and acquaintances. Family members disagreed with our choices and chose to step outside the family circle ~ maybe due to their sorrow and confusion, but what about our sorrow? We lost our son! Our youngest lost his only brother! Why blame the parents? Why blame anyone at such an awful time?

I lost my precious son. The grave swallowed him up. All that remains is grief, pain, suffering, sorrow, and now we are forced to face guilt and shame? Yes! Shame for the way he died. It’s as if the enemy, through familiar voices, shouts at us:

Shame on you for allowing this to happen! Why weren’t you more watchful? Couldn’t you see that he was about to snap? Why didn’t you call in the professionals? Don’t you know the grave does not release those who kill themselves? How could you embarrass us this way? You are no longer welcome in our family. Stay away!

Waves of pain roll over me as I write these words. Remembering puts a bitter taste in my mouth and brings tears to my eyes. How could family members ever treat grief-stricken parents and siblings this way? It’s unthinkable, but it happened and it happens to others too.

It’s as if satan squeezed the life out of our child and then went on the war path to bring anger and bitterness into everyone who should have been there to comfort us in our time of sorrow.

Lord, thank You for allowing me to vent these wretched feelings to You. Only You can take them away forever. I have forgiven those who hurt us and I choose to continue to forgive them . . . the pain and disbelief of it all runs deep. I am not responsible for anyone else’s well-being. However, I must respect their disapproval and keep a safe distance out of respect for their wishes. But I am curious.

Are we all going to live in the same neighborhood in heaven? Will we attempt to take our hard feelings with us so we can continue to debate who was right and who was wrong? What matters to our tight, little family is that our son will soon rise to meet His Creator, no matter what others may say! And when we see him in the air, we will join him! We will be ecstatic with joy! Our sons are together again!

Our earthly family will be recreated in the twinkling of an eye! We will be hugging each other and our God and King who made it all possible, and that will be enough for us. Just being together again in a perfect heaven.

God, You are an awesome Friend and Teacher. It is amazing how You listen without condemnation and You love unconditionally. May we be willing to follow Your example. And please come soon. I love and trust You so much. Thank You for being my Everything.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  Isaiah 35:10

~from Shattered by Suicide

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