It is hard to imagine an individual can bottom out emotionally and spiritually to the point, where there is no more hope.
In that situation, all ambitions and hope are gone. That person has no more dreams that breed hope, which brings about motivation and action. Happiness comes with this motivation and in reaching out to others.
So, this is where a suicidal person finds himself, totally hopeless. I don’t speak about suicide as a professional caregiver, but as a lawman and a fellow human being. If there is someone close to you threatening suicide, please call in a professional psychologist or a minister. Many of our ministers are professionally trained and have earned a degree in counseling.
Some mental health experts tell us to listen to our loved ones, when they are depressed. Don’t be afraid to engage that loved one, when they speak of dying, or when they wish themselves dead. Too, many survivors have not believed their loved one was capable of suicide. They did not take the suicide threat seriously.
It is true that, too often, these threats are minimized and overlooked. Yet, I am not saying the survivors should feel guilty for not discerning the problem. It is, certainly, true those who commit suicide have left very caring and loving family members who did all they could do, but could not prevent the suicide.
As a human being, it has, always, bothered me when I’ve worked (investigated) a suicide. It’s disheartening to think another human being has fallen to the depths of despair and hopelessness resulting in the taking of their own life. Apparently, the pain of living becomes so unbearable they just end it. The saying, “some things are worse than death” is applicable here, I suppose.
As the investigating deputy puts the pieces together at the scene of a suicide, the picture comes into focus. As the scene is worked, the deputy must keep an open mind to the possibility of a homicide.
Or, in some cases an accident may have occurred.
Then, there is always the chance a killer has set up the scene to look like a suicide has occurred, to cover up an actual murder. So, the deputy must look for all kinds of signs or evidence, at the place of death, and around the immediate area. The old adage, “the perpetrator will either take something from the scene or leave something at the scene,” may very well apply.
In an investigation, no stone is to be left unturned and a record is kept of all individuals who enter the taped area of a crime scene. Each of these individuals could be called to testify at a trial and required to give the reason they were there. This applies to all law enforcement personnel, regardless of rank.
Perhaps, the most difficult thing to do, when working a suicide, is to find a way to comfort the surviving family. Sometimes, they didn’t have a clue their loved one was so downcast. Then, at other times, family members have known of their loved one’s anguish and hopelessness.
Often, we have family members who just cannot accept the fact their loved one would do such a thing as commit suicide. Regardless of how extensive the investigation has been or how good the skill of the investigating deputy is known to be, they just can’t accept that their loved one would take his or her own life.
Bradley County is still one of the most churched counties in the country, per capita, so most folks here are Christian and reject the notion a loved one would commit suicide.
At the Sheriff’s Office, there are both believers and unbelievers. Both groups do a good job as deputy sheriffs for Bradley County. When, working a suicide both, the believer and the unbeliever, have to deal with the spiritual side of people.
When, the King of Rock N’ Roll died many years ago, some preachers said Elvis went to heaven, while others said he went to Hades.
I don’t know, but I do know when he sang “How Great Thou Art” and some of the other old gospel standards, he did it with great feeling and meaning.
Well, one thing for certain is it not for me to pass judgment on the person who commits suicide. A judgment of that magnitude is way above my pay grade. Also, I have to leave it with our clergy and mental health experts how to prevent people from slipping so deeply into this, deep, dark, abyss of hopelessness and despair.
How do you comfort the bereaved? What do you say to the new widow, who has read the note placing the blame of their failing marriage and suicide on her?
What does the first responder, usually a deputy sheriff, say to the broken-hearted son or daughter, who must bear the burden of the tragedy. Where is the comfort? What is the meaning of this?
As sheriff, I don’t have the answers to all these questions. Perhaps, there is some comfort in what one preacher said years ago, “It is not ours to judge another human being in life or in death — that is up to God.”
Maybe a person who commits suicide is living, in his own mind, in a world that is not real. I do know every suicide or other type of tragic death, impacts the investigating deputy, no matter how composed he or she may appear to be.
If, by chance one of our readers is contemplating suicide, please call a friend, a minister, or family member. Tell them about your hopelessness and despair. You may think there is no answer to your present plight, but there is always hope.
People who know me, know I am not a big talker, but I know when people begin expressing themselves, they find the answer to their own problems many times.
It is true a lot of feedback we get from the world in which we interact each day does appear to be cold and indifferent. But, there are a great many people here, who care about their fellow travelers, along life’s highway. They do weep with those who are hurting. They do mourn with the heartbroken.
If you are swirling in the pit of hopelessness, please reach out to others around you.
As I mentioned you can talk to a minister or family member. But, there is, also, help can be found by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a Mental Health Crisis Service or the Sheriff’s Office.
If you reach out I believe you will find a hand reaching back to you.
Thanks again for listening.
P.S. – This column had already been prepared, when Jim Davidson published his column in the Cleveland Daily Banner last Monday about teaching people how to help in the prevention of the suicide deaths of our young people. His column provided some really good information. It is my hope that his column and this one will be of help to anyone contemplating suicide.