Grandma Wanda… Beyond Brilliance (part 4)

Grandma Plinsky

As months passed (Defining Time) after everything changed, our house needed some remodeling, so our mental and physical focus preoccupied us and lightened the press of heartache.  We still miss Jamie, and we always will.  And our concern for the our whole family’s response to his death remains.

A pastor at a funeral of a Godly man who committed suicide once said, “God didn’t call him home, but He welcomed him.”  Some days we may feel sadder than others.

Questions still arise.  Does the hurt ever really go away?  No, we do adjust to it.  We wish Jamie would have had a longer, fuller life.  Yet, we must remember we still have a life to live.  Hopeful living is a gift and a choice.

At every family occasion, we always feel the missing.  But I’ve felt we ought not overly focus on Jamie’s absence at the holidays or at our other grandchildren’s special events; otherwise, we let death overshadow the living.  Whether we say anything or not, Jamie is always missed.  Yet, we must also be careful to go on enjoying life without restraining one another with added guilt and unearthing grief.

We want to be there to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.”  Not with divided hearts.  Rather, we choose how we adjust, remember the dead, and encourage real living.

Has God used all this for good?  I’m sure He has in countless ways we cannot see.  I am grateful for the ways He’s allowed us to see good.  For example, one of our daughters, Gretchen worked at a bookstore.  When customers inquired after books on suicide, her colleagues referred to her.  Her assistance helped them find what they were looking for, but more than that her compassion encouraged them as well.

Our other daughter, Lori,  and I had the opportunity to share our experience losing Jamie at Wichita State several years ago.  After we shared our story, several young people approached us with tears.  They thanked us for being willing to talk on the subject.  Several were grieving losses, including some whose families decided to pretend the suicide away.  Acknowledging death is one thing, but accepting it was a suicide is another.  This denial was much more common in the past; however, this class helped me realize it is still a common method of hiding from the truth.  We must be able to talk about it.

I remember one telephone call we received from a man who didn’t believe in God and  whose son committed suicide.  This man, clearly tormented, found no comfort any where.  Up to that point, he chose to close himself off from God.  I pray for him and others like him to be softened toward God through these times, not hardened all the more.

For me, searching the Scriptures brought great strength and perspective.  At first, I thought only of Judas Iscariot as being the primary suicide of the Bible.  However, as I studied more, I realized how many there were and how profoundly God used them in life and in death.

So, how does all this help us today?  The choice is ours.  Death cannot be undone.  We can choose to be defeated daily because of how our lives have changed, or we can watch God use it for good.  We can draw others to the Lord Jesus Christ by following Him and thanking Him without restraint.  Or we can become sullen, bitter and envious of others we think are experiencing good fortune.

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Hebrews 13:20-21

Join my prayer~  Lord, please use Jamie’s life and death to bring honor to Your Name by displaying Your Comfort and Goodness in personal ways that draws souls to You and restore them with Your Joy and Strength.


7 thoughts on “Grandma Wanda… Beyond Brilliance (part 4)

  1. I have followed this blog continuously and intensely though I kept nearly complete silent regarding comments which has seemed to me difficult for several reasons. But at least some more words now:
    I am deeply moved by the way what and how you share this disturbing experience. I had times in my life where I was very near to Jamie’s decision, so I am pretty sure that I understand at least some of his feelings and perspectives though I naturally know that every biography is unique. Now you helped me to take the other perspective to a degree that surpassed my past imagination of the effects for the living by far. When confronted with suicide in our ministry I naturally got some ideas; but as people usually don’t know what to do with a pastor apart from the funeral, there has never been a long-term sharing afterwards.
    The pastor’s statement was very courageous. And I am convinced: true. And I am also convinced that probably nothing is worse than to struggle with all these tragic experiences alone. It’s the diabolos who wants to shut our mouths and hearts in order that he can imprison us in a very subtle but effective way. And the also hinder us to make just this mysterious experience that God can make good out of the worst wounds, though the scars remain, for sure… The more I am glad that you so actively fight the destructive shame of former times, painful as this journey is. THANK YOU !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Susanne,
      {tears streaming}… Your honesty, bravery, vulnerably, and wisdom are so evident. The battle is real. We’re not just volleying between emotions all the time.

      And one of the lies, the enemy wants us to submit to is that the battle is too shameful to share or burden others.

      Whether suicidal thoughts or a grieving aftermath, we need to know we aren’t alone.

      Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying with you, Susanne, for peace, comfort, and courage to spill out compassion – however sloppy it may seem- under tender circumstances.



    • Sorry, I failed to realize in time that auto-correction had smuggled in a mistake into the draft of the above text, which makes the fourth line from bottom a bit weird; the second word (“the”) had been and should be a “thus” (…also hinder…), otherwise it’s nonsense.


  2. Particularly meaningful for me from this is something Ms. Wanda says toward the end of her excerpt… “The choice is ours. Death cannot be undone. We can choose to be defeated daily because of how our lives have changed, or we can watch God use it for good.”
    So very true. Various trials happen in our lives that cannot be undone — death of a loved one perhaps being the most difficult.
    Whether it be loss of a loved one, a struggling marriage, a job layoff, a home destroyed by fire, a wayward child, or the news we never wanted to hear from the doctor, Wanda’s words are a wonderful reminder of the choice that lies before us — “to be defeated,” or to “watch God use it for good.”

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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