Excerpted from a story at Survivor Resources; click here for full story.
Hi, my name is Nancy. I am a suicide survivor. My son, Justin, at the age of 28, took his life on June 23, 2007. Nothing could have prepared me for this, nothing in our life said that this could ever happen to us.
Justin traveled continents, loved the outdoors, climbed mountains and crossed deserts. He was an explorer and a writer. With his adventuresome life he hoped to be an author some day. Justin’s last dream was to travel the world. For two years he saved his money, paid off his bills, and planned his world adventure. In May of 2006, with $25,000.00 in his pocket and a backpack on his back, he left for Iceland. He traveled to places that I did not know existed. He spent time in the slums of India, the deserts of Egypt, and the war torn country of Kosovo. He wandered the streets of Cambodia and Vietnam, and enjoyed learning to scuba dive in Thailand. He returned back home in February of 2007.
Healing and hope comes to each of us differently in our journey. For me it was in people I met, my son’s friends, angels sent by God, a little girl next door, a book, a song, or just being held by my husband or daughter. Healing came from a minister’s words about losing your faith. It came from going to the Survivor Resources weekly group sessions, and in finding a counselor who would walk with me every step of the way.
It was only one week after Justin died that we came to Survivor Resources. I have to admit, the first three times we attended I was in such shock and disbelief that, I couldn’t completely comprehend the reason we were there. I knew that Justin had died, but I kept telling myself, this just couldn’t be happening to me. Monday after Monday, my husband, my daughter and I attended, and as the shock wore off, I knew I needed this resource. This group gave me hope. It was a safe place to say anything that I felt.
There were times that I could not believe that I was thinking or feeling a certain way. But, in Survivor Resources, nothing is too strange; most everything you say has already been said. I took comfort in knowing that the friends I had made at this group have lived my nightmare and survived.
I had come very close to abandoning the God I had known all my life. I was angry at God. I knew that God did not take Justin’s life. Justin took his life. But, what I could not understand was why God did not save him. I could not understand why this God of love would allow me to suffer in this way. I searched, I read books, I studied, I looked for a new church, but there were no answers! I had all but given up, I had told Dan, no more. No more church. No more searching. No more God! But Easter Sunday, as I had watched my husband get ready for church, I felt guilty. I thought, what would it hurt, just one more time? The sermon this Easter day was about an individual in the same place that I was.
The minister talked about suffering and holding on to any truth you knew, and that that truth would sustain you. This minister was the first person to tell me, to give me permission to be angry, to question God. I walked away knowing only one thing; that I knew there was a God. That is all I knew. But little did I know, that little bit of truth is what ultimately brought me back to my faith. That truth brought me to know above all else, that God is God and he is holding Justin tightly in his arms until we meet again. I don’t know why God needed Justin, but what I do know is that God needed him more than I did.
During my healing journey, I found out how important it was to keep on moving. Not running, but moving. I set aside part of my day to grieve, but I then tried to structure my days. Therapy for me was riding my bicycle or walking. I have always enjoyed these things and I guess you might call them a passion. Having a passion was of the utmost importance. My husband, my daughter and I also decided it was time try something new; something we may have dreamed about but never tried. We felt that we could focus some of our energy on something else beside the horror of Justin’s death. I chose to learn the piano. I remember concentrating, learning, studying every note which took me away from the pain, even if it were only one hour a day. I learned to stay moving, not so fast that I ran from Justin’s death, but fast enough so I didn’t get stuck.