The Ultimate Loss Within Our Communities

Today is the 32nd anniversary of my father’s suicide. I was exactly one month away from turning five, my younger brother only two, and my sister almost eight. Even thirty years later, it’s hard to know exactly why my father chose to leave this planet and his life, but he did.

Mother embracing and soothes depressed daughterSuicide is the ultimate loss within our communities, because it’s a cry for help heard too late.

We interact with so many people throughout our day, yet do we notice what’s really going on for them beneath the surface?

Did we stop to take the time to care, to listen, to touch, to connect?

Or are we too busy going through the motions, living out our life in the rhythms and patterns that allow us to check out?

Suicide takes place in the darkest hour for people, but what I ultimately believe that victims of suicide feel is a deep sense of aloneness. True, they may not be able to cope with their pain, but what they lack is that feeling of connectedness to others that gives us our will to live. Ultimately, many believe the world would be better without them.

Suicide reminds us of the importance of connection. It begs us to reach out to one another, to check in with people, to remind them you are there for them. It needs us to ask the hard questions, to not be afraid of “being nosey” or intruding on another person’s life. It demands that we pay attention, that we don’t ignore the signs, that we don’t dismiss behaviors. It challenges us to love more, harder, deeper than ever before. It reminds us that it takes a village, not only to live, but to survive.

We cannot, should not and must not isolate ourselves. We need each other.

With my father and brother in Tennessee while visiting my uncle Tony at college.

I don’t write this with sadness for the loss of my father, I’ve had time to grieve for him. I write today’s post in hopes that you will remember the importance of every single human being on this planet. To remind ourselves that we all matter, we are all important, and regardless of how low our life may be at any given point—there are always people who are impacted by our presence here.

Don’t take life for granted. Don’t take people for granted. Don’t take yourself for granted.

You are a miracle. You belong.


Our last family photo, taken just months before his suicide. This year, when I looked closely at the photo, it was the first time I noticed how sad his eyes looked.


2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Loss Within Our Communities

  1. Lisa Shultz says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience with us. And the pictures too. It brings it to life and I agree your dad’s eyes show sadness and a weariness. Thanks too for reminder to take time to connect, listen and check in with others. We all need people to care! Cheers, Lisa

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