According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, each day, there are from 20 to 22 veterans who take their lives. This accounts fro 18% of the suicide deaths in the nation, while veterans only make up 8.5% of the adult population. One thing we hear from so many sources is that suicide is a selfish act. Is this true? Let me share a paper submitted in a GWFW class by one of the veterans on Lipscomb's campus:
Suicide. It is a very strong and scary action. An action that is very unforgiving. Why is suicide seen as a selfish act to the ones left behind? Because, it is selfish to them. Now they are crying, sad, and NOW they want to be there. They beat themselves up, asking if there was a way you could have been saved. Maybe if I would have called? Why would "so and so" want to cause their loved ones pain?
Why do I think it is selfish of the survivors? Everyone dies. Yes, it is hard to lose a loved one especially to suicide because it is just so unexpected and "final." They took charge of their death. But, I promise when someone is contemplating or commits suicide, hurting you isn't on their mind. They don't want to hurt you. Sometimes they think it will be easier for their loved ones. Some have no one or have people that are "so ready" to help and then the NEW wears off. Where are they when you really needed them? Maybe, they didn't just come out and ask for help or maybe, they asked, but subtly.
Maybe they called and your were busy. It isn't your fault. Everyone gets busy. Knowing that everyone they love has their own problems, their own lives, family and friends makes it harder to ask for help. For me, I rank myself in how important I am to the ones I love. How much do I love them? How much do they love me? Do I feel ore pain because I love them more and they don't love me as much? Cloudy thinking, right? Yes, but this is the kind of thinking that goes through my mind.
Why do I think my loved ones are being selfish? Because my loved ones would get mad at me for committing suicide when ll I want is relief. All I want is relief from this pain that they don't have to live with. At the end of the day they don't go to bed with these things running through their heads.
After talking, visiting and/or doing your "good deed" for the day your "battle" is over while mine will continue. I don't say the last statement in a bad way, so, no offense. All that is felt is pain, darkness and memories. They get stuck in a thought process that isn't their own. They would never kill themselves if they were thinking clearly. They are hurting and don't want to bother their loved ones all the time. I need to get better at letting my guard down and asking to talk to whoever. I don't need or want attention. I just want a real relationship again or to love even when I can't always feel the love. (Katherine)
The task of our civilian society, with only 1% of our population serving in the military, is not to forget this long drawn out war and its injury to many, or to not care about the pain experienced by ay who we send to fight on our behalf. Please help us as we reach out to these veterans in our fight to bring spiritual healing to their lives.