Wow – I was a bit taken aback by the response to my last post about Mum’s suicide. Thank you for all the love and kind comments. I feel I needed to add one more thing. Although mum’s death sucks (see I’m still trying to get that term adopted by theologians!), I am okay. At the time it felt like the world was going to end – I think Auden summed that feeling up well
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come…..
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
But the clocks didn’t stop and life carried on.
(For some people a suicide of a loved one can trigger more suicides within their community – it seems a weird thing to say or describe but once you know someone who committed suicide it becomes an option that maybe wasn’t there before – if that is how you feel speak up (Samaritans are here if you don’t have anyone you feel you can speak to))
You see God has a way of working with broken hearts – He doesn’t leave us that way.
Isaiah 61. 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Yes, I miss mum, she has missed out on so many ‘big’ events in my life and so much of the little stuff. But life has carried on and good things have happened. How did it happen? Well I know they say that times heals wounds, but honestly it is more like God and His people do. The care and love that I have received from my church in Cape Town and my church at home in Belfast has been amazing. The friends and family who just stood on our doorstep in tears of sadness and shock have become people who enjoy sharing fond memories of mum and who comment when they see her personality in me. God takes what is broken and, if we let Him, heals it. I love the picture that He binds up the broken hearted – He doesn’t magic it back together – there may still be cracks and scars. It is not the same without Mum, but that is okay.
So if you are going through a loss, by suicide or by any other means, know that life does carry on and that is okay. Don’t feel guilty about it. Let God’s people come around you – yes they don’t know what to say to make you feel better, yes they may say the wrong thing sometimes (this didn’t happen to me, but I have heard many shockers!!), but more often than not they are also broken hurt people too trying to muddle their way through. Muddle together.
And what is the result? God says He will make us into Oaks of Righteousness, that He will use us for rebuilding other people who have been broken. Oaks are wonderful trees – tall and strong with very hard wood, with roots that shoot out deep looking for water in dry times. They live long and grow in many conditions.
I’m glad that God can turn what has broken my heart into something that can bring Him glory and help others in their hurt. I’ll gladly be an Oak seedling for Him. Yes, Mum’s death still sucks, but I am okay.