Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 5
February 1, 2021
Ripples of Suicide
I was celebrating the birth of a new baby. He was a boy, the son of a woman who grew up in our congregation and has since moved out of the area. My heart was rejoicing when I read the news and my spirits plunged. I read about the death of a Pompton Lakes High School teacher who it is believed committed suicide. The official report has not yet confirmed this, but officials believe that this is the cause of death.
When I read this, I was suddenly back in time to a place of grief that has never healed and a place of guilt that I never feel forgiven from and a guilt that I cannot seem to forgive myself for.
My guilt comes from my Godfather killing himself in the summer of 1980. I should have been there for him. I did not reach out to him as much as I could have. I bear the shame and guilt from this up until the present day. Did my neglect cause his death? This year my guilt is worse. Since my sister died this year, relatively young, from lack of self-care, I wonder if I could have done more for her as well. Might these two people have lived longer if I had only done more?
Assuming that the early suicide report is correct, what are the family and friends of this high school teacher feeling? Do they have similar guilt, shame and remorse? Suicide spreads hurt and grief to all around the victim. There is no such thing as a “victimless” suicide. When one kills oneself, it hurts others.
I am begging all those who are depressed or feeling hopeless; all those who are contemplating suicide to call someone to talk. Please call the suicide prevention line if you are feeling this way. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to me. I’ll gladly give you any pastoral counseling that I can. Please don’t kill yourself. It hurts others and I doubt that you really want to do that.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/