September…it’s always been my favorite month—since I’ve been picking favorite months, that is. I never knew it would have so much significance in my life. I didn’t know until weeks ago that this month, the “new January,” as I’ve been calling it for years, is also “Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.” Another reason to look forward to its start. Not because I want to focus on the fact that my husband died by suicide; that’s tragic and painful, and I’m still (yes, still) trying to get my brain to accept that truth. No, not for that reason, but to be able to offer focused attention, with INTENTION, and hope to those suffering, something I try to do all the time, no matter what month the calendar says it is.
But why not September? The month that’s ushering in fall—also my favorite season— maybe yours, too? The month when I get to prepare to head north again, where Joe and I have made so many memories. The month that I can start looking at my sweaters, jeans, and boots with anticipation and hope they still fit. The month when my favorite magazine issues arrive, my sourdough starter comes out of the fridge, and the oven is always hot. By this time, before 2020, we would have been to Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles, MO, and Joe would’ve purchased everything he needed for the coming months of hunting, something he always looked forward to. Amanda was keen to keep her dad’s tradition this year after the Festival of the Little Hills ended, but I wasn’t. And now, added to my favorite month is suicide prevention awareness.
I often times find myself lost in memories and laments of a past life that no longer looks familiar. So many good times have been spent in this, my favorite month.
September is also a time for me to get quiet and reflect on all I’ve accomplished throughout the year and where I’m falling short and need to pay more attention. Since Joe died, my priorities have changed. My focus now is on turning my pain into purpose and finding meaning. That means living in flow, peace, love, and compassion. Part of that intention includes raising money for the kNot Today Foundation. Their mission, and mine:
Protecting the Beauty & Innocence of Every Child.
We have raised (to date) with the sale of the Unbreakable Candle, and donations in Joe’s memory, over $16,000. Our goal is $20,000 by the end of 2022. We will have the Unbreakable Candle available through the end of the year in a travel tin. We are asking for a donation of $10 for the candle tin. They will be on the website after Labor Day, but we will have them in our show booth beginning this weekend. We will be set up Labor Day Weekend (that’s Saturday-Monday) in Frankfort, IL.
Amanda and I will also be handing out 2×2 cards in the booth (they will easily fit in your pocket), letting anyone feeling suicidal or in emotional distress know that help is available. The new three-digit suicide support number –988– was implemented nationwide in July. We’ll be reminding our customers of this life-saving number that you can call. We ask that if you receive a card and don’t need it, please pass it on! You never know who does need to see or hear it and in whose hands it will land.
Remember… pay attention to what’s going on around you. Sometimes all someone needs are to know they matter- say HELLO!
The main message that I want the world to know is that suicide is NOT a choice. It’s a desperate attempt to end the suffering. Joe wanted to live! He wanted to get better. We tried to get him help. He was suffering from intense mental pain; ending his life the way that he did was not selfish. It was desperate. I don’t need to forgive him; I never blamed him. I was shattered by his death. That this was how our story ended. That our kids lost their dad. All of that, and so much more! His illness was brought on by the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and he was, at no choice of his own, forced to face when our government shut our shows down and took his work from him. Suicide is NOT a crime! He committed NOTHING. He tragically died by suicide. His idle hands and mind were equivalent to hitting a brick wall at 100 mph.
I do not feel shame. I feel sad. And I miss him every single day.
There are many suffering and seeking help. Help is available when you know where to go to get it, and the best place to start, as far as I know, is by calling 988. The people on the other end of the phone are trained to deal with these types of crises.
I will be attending a candlelight vigil in Terre Haute, IN, on September 10th to honor Joe and remember all of those who have lost their lives to the disease of mental illness. If you’re interested and local, here’s the information:
Team of Mercy will be hosting our 6th Candlelight Vigil at City Hall, 17 Harding Ave. Terre Haute, IN 46807. There will be a ceremony with speakers, lighting of candles, and one of our survivors announcing the names of those that have died by suicide. If you would like to have your loved one’s name read aloud, please send information to: firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 9th. We mourn the way our loved ones die every day. On this day, we choose to make a public statement in hopes of bringing the stigma off of suicide and mental health.
To your healing and to mine.
xo, and peace.
If anything I’ve said feels right (or wrong)… share some ❤️ ⬇️ and leave a comment (and thank you!)
Call 988 (USA Only) 24/7
I just want the pain to stop… (video)
Suicide is not a selfish act. It’s a desperate act.
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