Original article no longer available
Sept 28, 2011
If only love could’ve kept him alive …
One year ago today, my son Dale committed suicide. Technically (according to suicide groups) I should be using “died by suicide” or “completed his suicide.” It’s all semantics to me; no matter what term you use, he “took his own life.”I am now a member of the “suicide survivor” club and it’s not a membership I want to be a part of; unfortunately, it’s a truth I can’t change. If only love could’ve kept him alive.When Dr. Tim Klerekoper, the Des Moines Police Chaplain, knocked on my door at 1 a.m. and informed me that my son, who lived in North Dakota, had taken his own life that night, my life as I knew it ended and it will never be the same for me or my family. My son had been prescribed antidepressants in February of that year and I kept telling him, you don’t need a pill to get through life. Focus on life. He became quickly addicted to those pills, and then he chose to also drink that night.
A lot of times when people know someone is on pills, they think it might’ve been an accidental overdose but I am always quick to point out that when he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger he pretty much wanted to die. If he had been in his right mind and realized how much he was loved, he would still be with us. It was his choice, not mine. I gave my son’s eulogy and thought that was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life. This past year I have found out that it was not the most difficult thing I ever had to do – living without him is. I am going to change the stigma of suicide one person at a time. You won’t even have to ask me, I’ll probably just tell you about it.If you know someone who is in a similar situation, don’t be afraid to mention their loved one’s name. We like to talk about them and you definitely won’t be reminding of us of a sad situation. We go to bed with it every night and wake up with it every morning, although they say in time it gets a little easier to live with.If you or someone you know is depressed and/or suicidal, call 800-784-2433 or go online to AFSP.org (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention) and get help. There are so many people in your life who do care – and the rippling effect (or maybe more like tidal wave effect) is devastating to those of us left behind.
- I would like to thank my husband, David, for his unwavering strength and helping me pick up the pieces of my life, and Dale’s girlfriend, Kelli, who is also the mother of his two beautiful daughters, for her support and keeping me in his girl’s lives.
- I also have a special thanks to the Des Moines police (Dr. Tim Klerekoper and his partner) for having to get up in the middle of the night and deliver such horrible news to a mother and to do it with such a caring and loving manner.
- Last but not least, I am thankful for my faith … there are many times when the pain is so crippling I can hardly stand it and I just pray, “Jesus take this from me,” and I feel a huge weight lift off my shoulders and the pain becomes easier to bear.
- And to my son, I will always love you and can’t wait until we meet again someday. If love could have kept you alive you’d still be with us.
- “The inexorably difficult thing in life, and particularly in suffering, is to face the truth.”
- – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
- – Carri Litowitz