Sunday, March 26, 2017

Suicide Prevention

Photo Credit: (c) 2016 Linda M Rhinehart Neas
A New Day

In the past 48 hours, I have read of 2 suicides, an attempted suicide and multiple post on suicide prevention and hotlines.  (1-800-273-8255) Those who are suicidal feel alone and desperate. They have lost all sense of hope. However, those around them can help.

There are several common assumptions about suicide. Learn the facts. Here are a few:

  • Assumption - People assume that suicide happens suddenly with no warning; however, (FACT)hindsight has taught us that most people either blatantly or subtly give warning of their hopelessness.
  • Assumption - Thanksgiving and Christmas are when most suicides occur. (FACT) Actually, more suicides occur in the spring season. 
  • Assumption - Most suicides are by people of minority groups and lower socioeconomic classes. (FACT) Don't fool yourself, suicide can be found in every culture, subculture, race, religion, and socioeconomic class. 
There are many risk factors in suicides.  Learn them. Among the most common are:

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of abuse (child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc.)
  • Loss (deaths, loss of job, financial loss, relationship issues, etc.)
There are warning signs. Learn them.  Among them are:

  • Talking about hurting or harming one's self
  • Withdrawing from socialization or feeling isolated
  • Talking about being a burden to others
Remember - Suicide is not about one person taking their life. When someone commits suicide they leave behind survivors, who are hurt beyond measure. Learn what to say, what to do and what resources there are for suicide-loss survivors.

Leaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples  is one resource that I can highly recommend.  A mother's memoir, it is beautifully written from the heart and soul of a survivor.
May all who suffer from hopelessness find a glimmer of Light. May they be lifted up by tenderness and compassion. May they heal from the wounds that have been open too long. May they be wrapped in unconditional Love, and may all who love them be at peace.

Blessings, dear ones.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Reach Back

Photo Credit: Creative Commons via Bing

"Our greatness has always come from people who expect nothing and take nothing for granted - folks who work hard for what they have, then reach back and help others after them." ~ Michelle Obama

This weekend, we celebrated the life of one of the elders of our community. What a beautiful celebration it was! People from near and far, who knew and loved our neighbor and friend, Les Thomas, came to share stories filled with joy, love, compassion, and wisdom.

Les was full of wisdom, but not the kind many think of - the old sage sitting with followers thirsting for a drop of insight. No, his was the wisdom of a life well lived, full of humility and compassion.

This dear man left us a legacy far greater than all the riches of the world. He left us with examples, many of which we shared at his memorial, of how to serve others; thereby, making the world a much better place. 

As I said, Les was humble. He didn't go around telling everyone that he had helped this person or charity. He simply did the work of ministering to his community, as if it were part of his daily routine, which it was. He drove elderly friends to the doctors or to other appointments. He dropped off food to shut-ins, be they single moms that he may have taught in school, or elders who had fallen on hard times. He constantly made his corner of the world a better place by bringing flowers to his church and the local library. Simple gifts given with great love and compassion.

As the days move forward into spring, let us all strive to follow the example of my dear friend, Les. Let us remember to reach back and help others, even when we may feel at our lowest. For surely, this is what we are all called to do, no matter our faith path. Let us offer kindness, without expectation or reward, to all we meet.

Blessings to all!