It’s time for some honest talk

There is an old story about a writer who goes to his teacher and says, “Teacher, all the stories have already been told. There is no need for me to write.
“Everything that needs to be said has already been written.”
“It’s true that there are no new stories,” the teacher replied. “The universal lessons have been taking place for a long, long time and the same themes have influenced humanity since time began.
“But no one sees that story through your eyes and no one else in the world will tell that story exactly the way you will.
“Now return to your desk, pick up your pen, and tell the world what you see.”
On Monday, Aug. 11, I was sitting by the creek with my coffee cup at 9 a.m. It was my day off and my bones were warmed through and through with all the blue sky morning sunshine of that day.
On Facebook I posted my status: “Oh. What a beautiful morning.”
Friends chimed back and in no time we had the first verse from the musical “Oklahoma” ping-ponged between us.
“Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I’ve got a beautiful feelin’, everything’s going my way.”
And then I got a text from Daughter #3 wondering if what she had heard on the news was true.
I wish Robin Williams had found some blue sky to get him through his San Francisco Monday morning. Desperate times, desperate measures. No more “Mr. Really Funny Guy.”
And so he joined the ranks of the many—far too many—who choose that unthinkable, unfathomable solution.
Suicide. It happens there in a city far away. It happens right here in the heart of Sunset Country. It happens a lot. It happens one time too many.
I am a survivor of suicide; a loved one left behind. It’s been nearly three years since that cold winter’s day when life changed in an instant for me—indeed, the one who came upon a life’s end—and for the many other tender souls whose lives blew down in the hurricane aftermath of the suicide.
I remain in steadfast hate of the word suicide and every time I hear of its reaping, a sinking feeling as real as rain comes upon me. I feel breathless and sick to my stomach and if I’m caught off-guard, I get slammed with a bout of post-traumatic stress disorder—and that, my dear readers I would not wish on my worst enemy, not ever.
It takes me hours, sometimes a day or more, to recover from its ravaging.
And still, what to do about the ongoing reality of suicide in our community and in our world? Sink or swim? If I, as a survivor, sink, then I lose sight of some very important lessons sent my way; to be grateful for my life, to have fun, to laugh, to share my honesty, and not to live with a closed heart.
So I do my very best to swim for the shores of gratitude—determined to breathe in blue sky moments and plant seeds of communication, encourage others to talk about feelings, learn about depression and suicide, and speak its name until it rolls off tongues and has nowhere to hide in those dark corners of unspeakable conversations.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks believes the pain we experience in life can lift us to a much higher and deeper joy if we can say to the bad times, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
Grow awareness. Speak the truth of what matters most to you. Please.

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