Holidays and Suicide

I just wanted to mention something because I know if I think of it during the holidays then many other survivors probably do.  When Thanksgiving would come around, for too many years, I would think of suicide.  This stretch of time, from Thanksgiving all the way up to New Years, has always seemed so hard for me to get through. 

My life has changed quite a bit now.  I have more reasons to be living than at any time in my life.  My beautiful wife and daughter.  My friends, including all of you here who know personally why we think of suicide.  Even with all of that, my heart still pulls toward that feeling.

About ten years ago, I used to scramble alone to the top of mountains and, if there was a cliff, I would stand on the edge and think how little I had to live for.  I wondered who would really care if I fell here.  Sometimes I would climb down cliff faces to ledges.  I told myself that if I fell then I was just meant to.

So I scrambled to the top of Mt. Higgins.  It was known for having a high precipice at the summit.  When I got to the top, I was alone.  So I stood at the edge of the precipice and did the thing I always do.  Wonder if I mattered.  I think that was the closest I ever came to just choosing to fall.  I heard some low yelping behind me.  It was a dog.  My dog Scout.  It may sound weird but I think he sensed what was going on.  I had forgotten he was even there.  But I didn’t have the heart to leave him alone.  So we hiked back down together. 

Before we left, I took a picture of old Scout, at the edge of the precipice.  Ironically it’s one of my mothers favorite pictures.  She blew it up and put it prominently on the mantle of her fireplace.  Scout has long since passed away.  But every holiday, when I come home I look right at it.  It reminds me that no matter what there is always someone who loves me and will miss me if I leave.  It’s something all of us should remember.

Happy Thanksgiving!


7 thoughts on “Holidays and Suicide

  1. ~ this topic of suicide is often difficult to share or discuss, especially at this time of year… the reality is, that at this time of year is when we need to acknowledge it most.

    Help is always available and everyone is loved… even if at times we ‘survivors’ might forget that…it too, is a reality.

    Picture perfect postcard family pictures during the holiday seasons,are simply ‘Pictures’

  2. Chris, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this. While Im in a much better place than I was about six years ago, I find myself still to this day “surviving” the holidays. I think about all that abuse has caused me to lose, and all the abandonment that it left in it’s wake. I find myself “scrambling” for that sense of “family” all the time. But this is easier said than done. Thank you for and your wife and family being a part of my community. I welcome you all. Happy Holidays.

  3. Holidays have always been difficult for me but, when my children were small and growing, I was able to survive them by concentrating on making those times happy occasions for them – creating memories for them. Now that they are grown and out of the house, even though they all gather at my home for the major holidays, I find myself thinking those horrible thoughts again…would anyone miss me if I were not here? The pain of remembering my childhood holidays is just too much and I can’t handle it anymore so the best way out is…well, you can fill in the blank. I think this year is going to be better but not as good as I’d like it to be. Thank you for posting this as reminder that we’ve all been there and we can all survive it.

  4. Great post Chris. I plan on writing about this topic as well. Many a Christmas has gone by that I’ve struggled to keep myself in the game of life. It is different now. I still struggle but not as bad as I once did. Of course, I have found ways to help me get through the difficult times and most of that does not involve doing traditional Christmas stuff. We do other things and this year may just go to the beach at the Ocean and hang out in the surf!

  5. Chris, you always seem to have the right words to put a difficult subject into perspective.I,too, find the holidays to be a tough time. Suicide was a real thought for many years until I began my healing journey. What gets me through now is counting my blessings and thanking God for the special people in my life. Although we have never met face to face, you and Ophelia share the top of my list. Enjoy your thanksgiving, my friend.

  6. Thank you Chris. I just had a moment here, tears blur my vision. I could feel that love and connection between you and Scout as you spoke of how every Thanksgiving now you look at the picture of Scout, your mother’s favorite, on the fireplace mantel. Simply beautiful. And I’m so glad Scout called you back. Kind blessings ~

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