There won’t be any fancy pictures in this post, it will probably be pretty short. I am writing it on my tablet while in bed, because there are things I want you to know, and there are things I want my wife to know.
Those of you who have been with us since the beginning know that we lost our daughter on September 22, 2015. If you are not accustomed to reading the long posts I sometimes make, you may not know that my early high school years were infested with losing close friends to suicide. My daughter is not *the* reason for By Chaney’s Hands, she was the last nail in the coffin for me, quite literally. When I started the ninth grade, we literally lost four friends in a span of about a month and a half. From that point on, it was an unstoppable force in my life. By the time I had turned 21, I had literally had 19 people torn from my daily life.
As an adult I considered suicide a choice for people that attempt or complete it. Not only was it a choice, but it was a hurtful and selfish choice. My life was filled with anger because of all that had taken place.
The thought of suicide prevention, or suicide advocacy has been in my brain since I was 14 and it all started. I was just so angry I could not get to the point of committing myself to helping those I honestly believed were selfish. In college, I even minored in psychology for that very reason. Now, at almost 42, I am trying to figure out what it would take for me to get back into school to work on a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work.
Then Chaney took her own life. I saw it from a new perspective. I saw her struggles from day to day. I know the parts of her life that hurt her the most. I know the mental illnesses she was trying to cope with. I have seen even more of them coming out in her writing since she has gone away and we have started reading it.
My new reality after dealing with the suicide attempts of two immediate family members since we lost Chaney is not good. For starters, I realize when I lost her I lost every person in my life. Not one of them is the same person they were before.
My wife has changed. My oldest son has changed. My youngest boys have changed. I have changed. Honestly, I will tell you that we died, at least partially, when we realized she was gone.
The second part of my new reality is that I cannot lose another close person to suicide. At least not within my family. Every suicide in our region we go to the visitation for if we can. It all is just too close to home.
I have reached the point where at least once a day I question how I can face another day. That tells me that if I do lose another person that close to me that I will be lost, more than likely forever. I have no plans to act on this but I can feel to my core that I could not survive the loss of another child, or my wife to this.
For me, the war has begun. It will literally be a fight to the death. Me versus suicide. I have no intention of losing this fight. I have every intention of struggling and battling you until you go down forever.
I will make a name in the field of suicide prevention…and I will not lose this fight. That is my ZERO suicide pledge.
Providing my family does not take me down, I will win this. Today begins my official Zero Suicide counter…this is day one.
Again, I wrote this on a tablet lying in bed. It probably made sure it autocorrected in a few typos, and I probably made a few myself. I will check it tomorrow.
Regardless, May 1, 2016 marks our official push for Zero Suicide.
If you have questions about Zero Suicide or anything else we do, please ask. If you believe you are approaching a crisis please get in touch with us. If you have a friend you are worried for please get any information you can provide to us so that we can intervene and help them.
We love all of your beautiful faces…and want nothing more than to see them smiling tomorrow.