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.”
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.