So many thoughts are running through my head at the moment. Words are coming at me in full force and I am overwhelmed with the message I am to hear, decipher and express today. This I am.... card could not have came at a better time for me and for what is going on around in my world this week.
Two weeks ago an Oregon Mom went missing after being out and about running errands. She was caught on several cameras around her town looking normal, acting normal and just going about her business. Suddenly, her family was faced with a horrible discovery that she was missing.
Jennifer Huston's, a wife of 10 years and a mother of two, had her picture and story flooding the news and social medias alike trying to get her name and picture out in hopes to find her. Not much was being said but the common thread on Facebook was: "Lets help bring Jennifer home to her family."
I remember reading a few articles about her and thinking to myself, no one just disappears like this especially a mother. I knew in my gut Jennifer was in some sort of trouble, and I silently would pray for her to be returned home.
Two days ago while driving to the gym I received a text from Joseph stating: "Jennifer Huston was found dead. They think it was suicide."
Instantly I was saddened and felt a loss of my own. Suicide, really? How could this be? Why would she go missing and go somewhere and take her own life? What got a hold of her? There had to be another reason. There had to be more to the story. Maybe someone else made it look like suicide? But as the story unfolded and evidence was presented it was ruled 100% that this beautiful wife, mother, daughter and friend to many ended her own life... alone in a remote area.
We all know that life can get us down at times, and most of us have had dark days where we just think the world is closing in on us. It does not matter what lifestyle you come from, how you were raised, what your zip code is or what you do for a living.. at times life can strike down on us all and bring us to our knees.
I am not ashamed to say that in my past life I struggled with depression during a point. I was a single mother of two boys, working two jobs trying to provide those boys and myself with the best possible life I could give them while trying to find happiness in this world too. There were days where things would come at me full force hitting me so hard the darkness would wrap itself around me.
At the time I worked for US Bank in their call center. I was the supervisor of a collection team and had about 15 people who reported to me. My team looked up to me to guide them, teach them, motivate them and empower them to be the best they could be and reach their goals. At night I would go work as a bartender in a Korean Bar where it was my job to make the patrons, mostly men, feel special and catered to. On top of those two jobs, I had two boys in private Catholic School who needed me to be their mother, and their father as well as lead them to be strong, independent boys who would grow to make something of themselves. At the end of each day I was left to lie in my bed trying to muster up the strength to give myself the attention I needed, but unfortunately I fell short almost every time. This is where depression slipped into my life, and my serenity was found in a bottle... of Vodka.
This pattern continued for many months that reached into over a year of drinking, holding down two jobs and working to do everything I could for my boys. I became tired, weary, lonely and had an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. I knew deep down inside me this was not the life I was meant to live. I was unhappy, I was out of shape and overweight and I drank almost every night. My life on the outside appeared to be alright but on the inside I was crumbling more and more and finding myself in darkness.
One morning, while driving into work on I84, I was thinking about all the tasks I had to accomplish that day for work so that I could get out on time, pick up the boys from school drop them at the sitters, change and head to my second job. It was at that very moment that I looked at the medium in the middle of the freeway and thought.... "I am just going to drive my car into that wall of cement and end it all." Now mind you, I had other deep and dark issues going on with me with a relationship and with family so it was not like I wanted to take my life because I had too much going on. It was because I had a sense of hopelessness, that this was my life and that no matter how hard I worked, no matter how hard I pushed myself I could not get out of the deep waters I was drowning in and at that very moment thought "I would be better off killing myself and my boys would have a better life without me." Suddenly, I began to sob uncontrollably. Death was the answer to it all, death would free me of the heartache and pain I was living and death would relieve me of my overwhelming stresses in my life. This was going to be my way out.
By the Grace of God it just so happened that I had a doctor appointment later that morning. It was a routine checkup on my migraines and the medication I was taking, nothing out of the normal for me at the time. I recall this moment I am about to share with you like it happened yesterday.
There I was in the exam room, in my little gown on backwards, sitting on the table all alone. My feet were dangling and the thoughts of that morning were running in the back of my mind. I knew I had made up my mind to do it, but what I was really focused on was getting my doctor at the time to hurry up and get in do his check and let me get back to work. Dr. Henry Rivas, who was my family doctor, walked into the room. He was an older man with an accent, although after all the years of seeing him I never knew his background. He was not very tall and he was slender but he had a softness about him that made me feel safe with him, almost like a father figure to me although he knew nothing of my mental state only my physical. Dr. Rivas walked into the room and I quickly sat up straight on the table, smiled and said hello. Dr. Rivas greeted me as he always did by shaking my hand and greeting me in return. But this time, he held my hand longer than normal and looked into my eyes and said "Michelle, how are you what is going on in your world today?" At that very instant I broke down into tears. These were not tears that welled up where one could try and hide them or force them down, these were sobbing gut wrenching tears that came over me and out of me faster than I could comprehend. I was crying so hard I could not communicate with him I could only sit there and cry.
Dr. Rivas did not say a word. He sat himself down next to me on the exam table and just held my hand while I let it all out. When I was finally able to compose myself and speak I explained to him the horrible mess I had gotten myself into. I told him of drinking binges to hide from my life and pain. I told him of nights waking up crying uncontrollably out of a deep sleep. I told him of moments where I would be in the kitchen cooking dinner for my boys and would go into the pantry room, close the door and sit on the floor and sob. I told him of my thoughts that morning of driving my car into the medium on the freeway and ending it all. I opened my soul up to him and let him see the real Michelle and the pain she was in, and told him I wanted to end my life.
The moments that followed forever changed my life.
Dr. Rivas took both of my hands into his, stood in front of me, looked me in the eyes and with the voice of what I call an Angel now said this to me:
"Michelle, children of suicidal parents ALWAYS blame themselves. Regardless if the parent leaves a note outlining exactly why they did what they did and ensuring their kids it had NOTHING to do with them... children will ALWAYS blame themselves." Dr. Rivas went on to say "Once a parent commits suicide someone in the family- a child- a niece or a nephew will later down the road do the same thing. They will know in their mind that the person who committed suicide knew exactly how that one child may be feeling and it gives PERMISSION for that child to then commit the same fate. It is saying... It was okay for me to kill myself so it's okay for you to as well." He then said again, "Michelle, children of a suicidal parent will ALWAYS blame themselves you do not want to do this to your boys and set a fate you will have no control over to stop."
He was right, I did not want and could not to do that to them. I couldn't imagine the grief those boys would have had to endure their entire lives because I was not strong enough to do what was right for myself. Because all I could see was what was not right in my life therefore thinking it would be easier to just end it. But knowing my boys would carry this with them forever, at every major event in their lives they would think about their mother who killed herself instead of staying and being with them..... there was no way in hell I could condemn them or their future families that would later be born to my sons.
Dr. Rivas saved my life that day.
I since then have lost a friend to suicide and now I am seeing this suicide from Jennifer Huston and it makes me not only sad for them but sad for their families because I know what is ahead for their children. I know the struggles those kids are going to face as they grow up in the world knowing their mothers killed themselves.
I am..... important. YOU are important.
We all have our dark days and some more than others and maybe you have the thoughts creep into your mind about ending your life. But as my doctor made me realize what we leave behind is worse than what we are made to face each day when times are tough.
We are all connected in this world together and we are all important. NOT one person in this world does not affect another in some way. So when you think you are alone, you are not worth anything or you ending your life won't affect or harm anymore.... YOU ARE WRONG.
My friend who took her life, we were not buddies we did not speak all the time. But when she hung herself she took a part of me with her. Because I remember her smile and I remember her laughter and I see her three kids she left to this world alone without her and that hurts me. It hurts them, it hurts her mother, it hurts her brothers, it hurts her nieces and it hurts all her friends left behind.
We all have a place in this world and we are all important.
If you feel dark and overwhelmed and you feel like the only answer is the grave.... reach out to someone. A friend, a doctor, a shrink, a neighbor, a family member, a priest ANYONE around you at that very moment. Share with them how you are feeling and share with them your thoughts and let them help you.
Struggles of all kinds come and go... death is forever and when taken by yourself is a forever hell for the rest of us to endure without you.
Please seek help if having suicidal thoughts and know that you are not alone.... and You are IMPORTANT.
The following links are suicide hotlines, if you have no one you feel like you can talk to or if you feel embarrassed or weak because you can't share with anyone you know... people are out there to help you... at all hours of the day and night. Pick up the phone and talk to someone before you do something you can not undo. Please.