As a funeral director for almost 25 years, I have had a front row seat to see a tremendous amount of tragedy, agonizing heartbreak and hurt from moms and dads, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and other close family members.

I could tell you story after story of horrible things that families have had to endure, see and go through.

Today, I want to talk about something that no one wants to talk about. When it happens, very little is usually said. It is the absolute worst thing for any family to endure.

What I speak of is suicide.

Approximately 45,000 Americans die each year from suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For every suicide, 25 have already attempted. These numbers are staggering. Also, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. www.22kill.com The suicide rate among first responders is on the rise as well. Most recently, one of my friends just lost her son-in-law, leaving behind a wife and 2 small children. Also, tragically, Designer Kate Spade recently took her own life and then just a few days later, Chef Anthony Bourdain ended his life.

It is my hope and prayer that someone will read this who has been thinking of taking their own life and because they read this article, it causes them to pause and choose to seek help instead of doing this heartbreaking act.

To the person thinking of taking your own life:

I’m the person who sees your family after you commit suicide. I’m the one who sees the look in their eyes and the look on their faces, that as long as I live, I will never forget. I’m unable to put into words the hurt they feel from losing you. I’m unable to describe the pain and tremendous loss this causes your family.

I can tell you this; if you were able to be by my side and see your family’s hurt, the look in their eyes, and you were to be able to hear their cries of anguish, I can promise you, you would never ever do this devastating act. You would immediately seek help and do everything you could to prevent this from happening, and you would definitely run to your family and tell them how much you love them.

I know you hurt. I know you need help, but you might not know where or who to turn to. Please believe me when I say, that help is here! Help is out there! I promise you it is. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Some people care and love you, please know this.

Other than your relationship with God, a family is the most critical thing in your life, and if you don’t have a family, I’m sure you have close friends you might consider as family. You have people in your life who love you and would do anything for you, even if you don’t think you do.

Let me share some facts with you. For those who take their own life, they hand their family a life sentence of sorrow, guilt and deep hurt that they can never recover from. Every birthday, yours and theirs are forever ruined. Christmas, Thanksgiving and holidays are all ruined. Every single day, they get up, and guess what the first thing is they think of when the sun rises? You… When they close their eyes at night and try to sleep, they lay awake trying to figure out what they did wrong and what they could have done differently to prevent you from thinking this was your only answer to the problems in your life.

You are loved! God loves you most and is eagerly wanting to help you. (Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He delivers those who are discouraged.”) Your family and friends love you so much, and they would do anything to prevent coming to your funeral service, under these circumstances.

If you have read this far, thank you! Please go to someone and talk to them. Share with them how you feel. Some so many people would love to help you. Please don’t feel ashamed of needing help. Everyone, including me, has needed help at some point in our lives. It doesn’t make you weak or a coward, it shows your strength to stand up to the depression, pain and bad thoughts you have going through your mind. Fight back! Your family and friends who love you, need you to “Fight Back!” There are thousands of people who depend on a low dose of some kind of medication to help them cope with day to day problems, and there is nothing wrong with that! It could make all the difference in the world! If you cannot find anyone to talk to, you can always come here to the funeral home or call anonymously, and I promise you, I would be very happy to speak with you and listen and pray with you. (972-923-2700) I’ll do anything within my power to help you. Sometimes talking to a stranger makes it easier to express how you really feel without fear of judgment or having to tell other family members or friends.

Whatever is going on in your life that is causing you to have thoughts of taking your own life; I assure you, this can all be worked out. Please do not make this a permanent solution to a temporary problem. (Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”)

This article is dedicated to the mother of Tanya, who in 1995 killed herself at her parents’ home. After I arrived at 3:00 a.m. to remove her body, her mom cried and cried in my arms, saying, “She was my baby, my only child,” over and over. I dedicate this article to the young wife with her 2 little girls under the age of 10, sitting at the graveside under the tent after everyone had left. They were sitting on the front row of seats, looking at the casket of her husband and her children’s father. One of the little girls looked over at her mom and said, “Mommy, what are we going to do now?” I dedicate this article to the little boy, whose mother committed suicide. When this 8-year-old arrived at the funeral home to view his mother’s body, his agonizing screams and cries still haunt me to this day screaming, “I want my Momma, I want my Momma!” Lastly, this article is dedicated to the Mom who stopped the cot coming out of her son’s bedroom, that laid her head on the cot cover and cried, saying, “I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know you were hurting so bad! I am so sorry!”

The truth is, no one wants to commit suicide, they just want the pain to stop.

The first step for you is to put everything on hold and find someone to talk to!

If you want the pain to stop, please seek help and please search for that help until you find it. Please do not give your family a life sentence of sorrow and heartbreak.

For immediate assistance, you may call 800-273-TALK, or you can also go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Talk to your family or friends. If it’s too hard to “talk” to them, try writing a letter to express the feelings you are having. They would do anything they could to help you if only they knew now. Talk to God. Talk to your Pastor. Talk to whoever you would feel comfortable with, so you do not become another statistic. Help is out there, please know you are loved by somebody.

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Brad and Brooke are Funeral Directors and licensed embalmers at Wayne Boze Funeral Home, 1826 W. Hwy 287 Business, Waxahachie, Texas. They can be reached at the following email addresses or phone numbers.

brad@waynebozefuneralhome.com/ brookemiller.tx@yahoo.com 972-268-1829 or 972-923-2700