I just want to express my appreciation to everybody for sharing their experiences and feelings on this highly sensitive topic. It takes a lot of courage to address the elephant in the room. Let’s face it, if death, loss, grief, and trauma were easy to deal with, there wouldn’t entire professions to treat it nor religious guidelines on how to handle it. There also wouldn’t be such a high demand for chaplains in the military nor mental health professionals for the Veterans Administration. There also wouldn’t be such a high rate of suicide amongst our men and women returning from combat.
THERE….is the dark B-side to this whole discussion. Suicide is a very real and permanent reaction to experiencing the traumatic death of someone close. I would like to believe that those of us participating in this forum would be less likely to consider it due to our strong desire to survive; however, there is no hard evidence to predict exactly who is susceptible until he or she starts displaying the signs associated with it. You have people who have tried numerous attempts to kill his or herself, but failed every time -THEN- you have those who you had no idea they were suicidal until it was too late. The latter is more common.
I believe that people who are caught off guard and witness the violent death of a loved one or someone close are susceptible to suicide. I also know that many people who are in the military, emergency services, and law enforcement are NOT receiving the proper care because of the possible impact on his or her career. Many veterans will refuse service from the VA because of the perceived substandard care and possible side effects of psychotropic drugs which the VA is so fond of prescribing. If you or somebody you know fits this profile, please research alternate means for confidential help. I believe that having a strong support base of family, friends, and/or spiritual guidance and leadership will be instrumental in dealing with the effects associated with witnessing extreme forms of trauma. Most people cannot go at it alone.
I, personally, have had a charmed life when it comes to dealing with violent death. Despite my travels and experiences I have never had to deal with this situation to date. Yes, I have had loved ones pass away, but it was just that…passing away. They were elderly, sometimes sick, and passed away in a hospital surrounded by loved ones while unconscious or heavily sedated. I try to mentally prepare myself for what I would do if it were just the opposite, but what, exactly is the training and exercises you would practice to achieve this?
Whatever the case…remember: Suicide is a PERMANENT reaction to a TEMPORARY problem. Somebody out there loves you and needs you to survive. Identify who they are or take solace in believing that you haven’t met that person yet, but he or she is out there.
"Blessed are the meek for they make easy targets."