Today is our twelfth wedding anniversary, and in anniversaries past, I have come to this space to profess my undying love for my husband as well as my appreciation for all he does for the boy and me. Those things are still true today, but today something is weighing on my heart much heavier.
As we sat down to our anniversary lunch date earlier–no phones, no child, no distractions, we began talking about life, love, death, infidelity, growing, and on and on. The more we talked, the more weepy I grew. I wasn’t necessarily sad. I was just weepy. I’m a cry-er. Thinking of broken marriages, broken spirits, broken hearts, and broken homes hurts me to my core. While those are not things I experience in my own life, they are things that I often find myself in a place of “I cannot imagine.”
If you have been around this place for any period of time, you know that we are advocates for strong marriages. You know that we prioritize each other, date night, and our marriage above other earthly relationships. As we talked through that this afternoon, we got around to depression, suicide, and mental illness in general.
Our anniversary is shared with the birthday of my cousin who died by suicide when I was eight. My cousin posted a beautiful tribute to her this morning that segued into a bit talk about depression and suicide in light of the week’s events. I feel like I only bring it up in this space when it’s a hot topic, but it’s more because that’s when it hits me the heaviest.
See, when by brother-in-law died, it was a kind of grief I have never known. It was different than any other thing I have felt. I shared a little after the death of Robin Williams, but again, the timing was only coincidental to how I was feeling in light of the news. It’s not something you can even understand or really explain without having been there. This morning, I told Mr. Gray (as I was crying for the umpteenth time) that I didn’t feel like I could share as much about the way the death of his brother impacted me because it wasn’t my story. He refuted; telling me that the impact on my was still mine, regardless of who it was or the circumstances. So, while I have that validation, I still don’t quite have words–other than that it’s hard. It’s a kind of hard I have never known before. Just like with any other grief, everyone processes it differently, but for me, it was incomparable to anything else. It’s sudden and out of nowhere. It’s difficult to navigate. It’s an act that is permanent, even when you don’t want it to define the life someone lived.
As I was reading this week, someone posted a comment regarding suicide stating that it wasn’t a tragedy, but a valiant fight. An effort to be commended. While I don’t disagree completely, I do still think it’s a tragedy that the battle has to end that way. Many people who are struggling through depression are fighting a battle I can’t even begin to fathom every single day. Years ago, I read that it was a struggle similar to those who jumped out of the burning buildings on 9-11. The options were to take a chance in the building or take a chance by jumping; they weren’t jumping to their death but to what might have been a better option. Y’all, that breaks my heart. Absolutely shatters it. So, while it’s a commendable battle, it’s still a tragedy to me that they feel like it’s one or the other. They feel as though that’s all they’ve got.
I don’t have a call to action or a beautiful epiphany to end this on. I just have a heart that’s broken for those that’s hurting and a call to love people where they are. That will look different for everyone, but it can be as simple as a cup of coffee or a text message. Be kind. Be mindful of others. Check in with your friends. Love people like Jesus would.