Suicide Of A Child - Unaccepted Truth of Children and Suicide
"Karen," my husband said after hanging up the phone, "they found Robbie in his apartment…dead."
I was stunned and grief-stricken. What could have happened? Was he sick, had he been murdered?
"Karen, I know how painful this is," John said. "Robbie was my step-son, but I loved him as if he were mine. Karen, he committed suicide."
I heard the words, but in my mind, I completely denied it. "Please, God. Let it be a mistake!" I prayed. Somewhere that night, I accepted the unacceptable truth.
Life had always been hard for Robbie. At birth, oxygen deprivation resulted in a speech disorder, learning disabilities, and a hearing perception problem. As an adult, he was diagnosed with dyslexia.* An impulsive young man, he was always taking action before thinking things through. While impulsiveness is often associated with Attention Deficit Disorder, in Robbie's generation, A.D.D. was referred to as "minimal brain damage."
At twenty-two, Robbie moved away to Oregon, to prove to himself he could make it on his own. He left a training program that would have helped him get placed with companies willing to work with special needs individuals, against my pleading. He assured us he would be just fine. A month after moving to Oregon, his job fell through so he went up to Washington. Before long, he was settled in an apartment, had a job, and a church home. As far as we were concerned back home, Robbie was doing fine.
Now one phone call from Washington had shattered all my hopes and dreams of a happy future for my son. That night tears soaked into my pillow until finally I slipped into blessed sleep.
I woke with a start and realized I'd been dreaming about Robbie. He had called out to me and told me Jesus loved me. "Where are you, Robbie?" I asked. He told me he couldn't come to me, but he loved me.
Suicide Of A Child - Everlasting Arms for Parents of Suicide
I had just experienced suicide of a child - my child! "Please, Lord, help me." I cried, and thought of the verse, "And Jesus wept." From that moment on I knew that I would not be alone in my grief.
Not even the comfort offered by compassionate friends and family could penetrate the core of my agony. Yet, at the same time, I felt the everlasting arms of God carrying me. Deep within, I understood that from the beginning of time, God Himself understood grief.
Suicide Of A Child - Healing and Hope
Frequently the reaction to the loss of a loved one, especially suicide of a child, is denial. We think that if we shout "NO!" loudly enough, we'll learn it was all just a mistake. Like a friend's embrace, denial allows the physical body a moment to absorb the shock. Denial then turns to shock, like a tranquilizer for the pain. It allows us to move through the motions of notifying family, friends, and making arrangements. During this time of loss, dreams and memories often bring our loved one back for brief moments of time.
Ultimately, it is God who will heal our hurt. We will always carry the scars of child suicide, but if we seek God's reasons we will find purpose in our pain. Understanding, for the first time, God's sovereignty helped me accept the unacceptable - my son's suicide. God's everlasting arms wrapped around me to carry me through my grief.
This story is contributed by and adapted from the book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide, by Karen Kosman (www.karenkosman.com).
*Dyslexia means any of various learning disorders associated with impairment of the ability to interpret spatial relationships or integrate auditory and visual information, often resulting in difficulty learning to read. Mind you, Robbie had gone through years of special education and they had not diagnosed this problem. He was diagnosed at a reading clinic I took him to, at the age of 20.