Typically, the focus of my blog is about overcoming food addiction in order to live free of preventable diseases. But today is Mother’s Day, which triggered a tsunami of emotions that I had to uncover in order to live in continual freedom from the addiction. Maybe there is someone reading this who will benefit from it. If you don’t like reading about mental illness or suicide loss, you won’t hurt my feelings if you skip it!
I can’t sleep.
It’s Mother’s Day.
I attended my first Mother’s Day service for the first time in seven years.
And I did okay, until after a baby dedication at the beginning of the service.
Several families brought their little ones to the front altar, and one of the pastors spoke words over those children and their parents and prayed for them.
And that was the beginning of the unraveling.
I tried my best to hold it together, but I could tell that the tsunami was about to hit landfall—so I quickly exited.
A couple of younger moms, who I trusted wholeheartedly, prayed for me in the foyer before fleeing to the safety of my car.
As I sat in the car--in a puddle of tears--I texted my husband to let him know where I was and then pondered why I got so bent out of shape.
I hadn’t been triggered in more than nine months.
But if any day will trigger the complicated emotions of mental illness and suicide loss, Mother’s Day is the perfect firestorm. For many mothers, that’s the day the ideals of motherhood collide with the realities of life.
Then, tonight the answer hit me.
I felt so betrayed by the young man whom I sacrificially gave some of the best years of my life for, whom I loved unconditionally beyond words—for more than 21 years—who then brought unimaginable pain and suffering to me and my family.
I trained him better than that.
He knew better.
There are no excuses in my opinion.
I’ve been told that mental illness changes the brain. Deliriums create irrational thinking. Hallucinations bring on the unthinkable.
I know all of that.
But I still felt betrayed.
I don’t have the answers. Nobody does. Nor will even the experts who study the brain ever have it all figured out.
Today, I’ve decided to continue to choose to be an overcomer. . .not just a “survivor of suicide loss”. . .but an overcomer.
And the best way I can do that is by continuing to walk in God’s healing for me and my family. . .and help other families who are walking through the nightmare.
I never chose to be an advocate for this topic.
I would’ve rather been a spokesperson for parenting well behaved children. I would’ve rather been making successful parenting videos than to be a part of a suicide loss video. (Yes, that’s what I’ll be doing next month for a mental health/suicide loss initiative for churches in my region.)
I choose to believe that God sees the bigger picture.
I continue to forgive my son’s very sick mind and the swath of destruction it created--even though as a mother I will never understand it.
The month of May continues to be mental health awareness month.
If you live in Northeast Indiana, please mark your calendar for October 7th to hear Kay Warren and others speak at an all-day Conference on Mental Health and the Church at the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. And if you live in another part of the country, it’s only 15 minutes from the Fort Wayne International Airport. It will be well worth the effort to attend. (Details will be posted soon at www.thelutheranfoundation.org.)
The stigma of mental illness and suicide loss creates shame for many people.
Shame fuels isolation.
And isolation only makes challenging situations worse for everyone involved.
We can’t totally solve mental illness, but we can ban together and support one another through it.
We can also get educated and equipped in order to help families living with mental illness or experiencing the aftermath of suicide loss. They live down our streets, attend our kids’ schools, and worship in our churches.
We get well in communities of support.
We are better together.