Every Thursday I meet with a small group of very special humans. 4 other ladies sit with me and we talk about life – its challenges, ups and downs, trials, tribulations, and also all the glory that it contains. We talk about the things that keep us going day in and day out and we also discuss the things that break us down and leave us heartbroken and aching for more.
Last time we met someone suggested writing love letters to ourselves as a way of being sure we are putting ourselves first, learning to love and cherish ourselves and our bodies, and that we are being as kind and compassionate to ourselves as we are to the ones around us. In theory, it doesn’t sound too difficult. But when staring a blank piece of paper it proves to be a LOT more difficult than I ever thought it would be. So, that’s when someone else chimed in – if it’s too hard to write a letter to yourself, write a letter to someone who you know is struggling with similar things in their life – afterward, try to read it and take to heart all the wonderful things you said and the suggestions you made.
Although I have had a history of struggling with suicidal idealization, suicidal thoughts, severe depression, etc it is not something I am struggling with at this very point in time. I am not so optimistic though, as to believe that it will never pop back into my life, roaring it’s way through my intricately weaved days, leaving destruction in it’s path – mental illness has a way of tempting us to self destruct. I know because I’ve been there. I know because multiple family members have been there. It occurred to me that there are a few things I never got the chance to say to others and these are the very things that I wish someone had said to me in my darkest moments…so here’s an open letter to a lost love that I never had the chance to experience and a letter I will save to reread if the darkness starts to surround me again.
If you were here right now I would tell you, first and foremost, that I love you. I love you despite never seeing you or speaking to you. I love you because you are my grandfather – no matter what you’ve done or anything you did, you are still mine. You are still a part of me and my history, my life, my being.
I would tell you that I see you. I see your pain, I see your hurt. I can’t imagine how tough this must be – a lost love, the lies, the hiding out, the physical pain, and even worse – the mental agony that you have gone through and are going through. I would tell you that you are not alone – I know it feels like you are. I know how it feels to look around you and see everyone living their lives and to feel stuck, trapped, scared, alone, unseen and unheard. I’ve been there. And I am living proof that just because you find that place in your life – you don’t have to stay there…it is not a place of residence, it is a place to begin building from.
You can rise up. You can face the pain. I know you feel weak and inadequate, but I believe in you.
I would tell you to please stay. Stay here. It’s the hardest thing to do, I know. It feels like agony and it seems like it will never ever get better, but it will. Hold on to the hope that it will. You are wanted. You are loved. You are seen, heard, cherished, embraced, cared for, and so much more.
Please stay so we can help you. We WANT to help you. There are people out there who can help you feel better…who can help with your depression and suicidal urges and whatever else you may be struggling with. We can help you help yourself. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
I know this is selfish of me – but I need you. I want you in my life – I want you to watch me dance and sing on stage in all the musicals I will be in when I’m in middle school. I want you to watch me play every year at elementary suzuki events and recitals. I want you to be there in holiday pictures and at family gatherings – cracking jokes and sneaking food to the dogs under the table when Nannie isn’t looking. I want you to see me graduate high school…and even college. I want you to be there to support me as I battle my way through my own mental illnesses and come face to face with my own demons. I want you to hug me, embrace me, love me, and know me.
There is so much more to this life that you have not yet seen. There are babies, family gatherings, funny stories, scary stories, adventures, trials to be undergone, and so many triumphs to celebrate. Please stay. Stay for hope, for the future. I know it’s awful now. I know the pain is all too real and it’s overwhelming, but you have to believe that God has more in store for your life. You are not a lost cause. We are not better off without you. Whenever you find yourself wishing you could disappear, that you are worthless, or you find that you are completely hopeless and too far gone…know that I love you. I pray to God that someday that will be enough.
My grandfather committed suicide on February 18, 1989. This was about 9 months before my older sister was born and a little over 4 years before I was born. I never had the chance to know my grandfather. Despite never knowing him, I still love him. He made mistakes, as we all do – no one is perfect, but there also no mistake that could ever be made that is not forgivable. If you’re struggling with mental illness of any kind or contemplating suicide, please ask for help. Reach out to someone you love or to a mental health specialist. There is always a future, there is always hope. No human being is ever too far gone.
Please stay. Don’t leave too soon. The best is yet to come and you deserve to know and experience all that life has to offer and as for the rest of us? We want to know you too. The world will never be the same without you here. God designed you to be someone that only YOU can be. We need you. We want you. You are loved.
“We have to fight to not get lost in our own pain. We have to fight to remember the good, the things we love around us, the things not lost, the thing that we are thankful for. Don’t buy into the lie that your story is just a tragedy. And don’t buy the lie that you are the only character in your story.”
If you are someone you know is struggling, please reach out: