I feel a little bit brittle today. It’s been all week, really. We lost another friend, a soldier, to suicide last weekend. We have other friends, many other friends, who’ve fought this particular battle and lived, but no one ever escapes this one unscathed.
I looked my soldier husband dead in the eyes once and asked him if he ever really considered suicide, and he said no. I believe him, but I told him with tears streaming down my face that I was putting a lot of trust in that answer.
So all this week I’ve been antsy, irritable, mad at the kids for being ungrateful. I can’t sleep. At 2:30 am on Friday night, it hit me.
I have a peculiar form of survivors guilt. Why did we escape less traumatized? Why does treatment work for some and not for others? Why did our marriage survive when so many others don’t? Why not us? Not that I want it to be us, hence the guilt. And the subsequent burning desire to earn the life we still have. Which is impossible, and truth be told, antithetical to the gospel we so desperately cling to.
It’s a lonely thing this guilt, hard to explain to the people around me, who, in theory, are my people. I look at everybody around me just doing life all regular and upper middle class and put together (even though I know everybody’s got their thing and we’re all faking it) and I Don’t. Even. Know. Where. To. Begin.
I find myself catching my breath, trying to keep all the pieces together while the spiderwebs cracks race through my composure. Surreptitiously wiping tears at inopportune moments. You know the fine china so thin and so delicate you can hold it up to the light and see through the hardness? Knowing all the while, it’s a trick because really you are afraid to hold it too tight, and really afraid to run it up against something hard(er)? That’s the feeling.
Layer that on top of emotional kids and preteen hormones and the worlds’ most disgusting, perpetually dirty house and this sideways survivors guilt and I’m here, teary-eyed in the middle of the night, mad that people die. Mad at this stupid war. Mad at all of it. Definitely mad at God.
It’s in these moments that I live in the “and.”
God is good, AND still, hard things happen. God is merciful AND just, and the promises of who He is are true always. And bad things still happen. And I still don’t understand. And that’s okay. I know He promises He will never leave. It’s in these moments, the hard ones, that I cling to that promise most.
If you’re mad, and not okay, I just wanted you to know you aren’t the only one. That’s me today. So maybe for everyone else carefully holding the edges together today, for all you brittle and broken sinners crawling into the arms of a Shepherd, for you who walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
You are not alone.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out. You are so loved. If you are a veteran, there is a dedicated phone number with resources specifically a day.