Victim: a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident or other event or action
Someone or something killed, destroyed, injured, oppressed, or otherwise harmed by, or suffering from some act, condition, or circumstance – a person who has had something bad happen to him/her
From “Your Dictionary” online
A devastating event broadsided a friend this past week. Her teenaged son took his own life. She became one of the growing number of victims of suicide. Why call her a victim? It’s what she is by definition. She’s been injured and harmed by someone’s actions.
When the subject comes up, almost all of the people I talk to have been touched by suicide of a family member or a friend or even an acquaintance. It seems to be more and more common. Maybe we are all victims of suicide, with varying degrees of injury. For those closer to the epicenter, the wounds are deeper and the scars bigger. The rest of us still feel the ripples and the hurt, and bear scars that are not as visible.
One suicide that strongly impacted me was a boy a few years older than my daughter who got into a fender bender in his dad’s truck on the way home from school. He wasn’t supposed to have his dad’s truck so he knew he was in a heap of trouble. He got out of the truck and ran home, put a gun to his head and ended his life. That really shook me up, even though I didn’t know the boy or the dad. I’m very certain the dad would have traded that truck and a million other trucks to have his son back. I had a talk with my children about that event so they’d know without a doubt, nothing is worth taking your life over.
My niece took her own life. Even though we weren’t close, I was shocked and wondered if I’d been more available to her, might it have helped? I’ve cried a lot for her and still cry when something reminds me of her. I loved her, and it hurt my heart to know she was in so much pain that she felt she had no other alternative.
Losing a child this way is agonizing. I haven’t experienced it, but I’ve watched and listened to others. Life is never the same. The hollowness from the hole in the heart is a constant in the new life. All that can be done is to pray and cling to the faith that the pain will go away someday. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Rev. 21:4)
Victims of suicide have the many of the experiences as the victims of violence: shock, numbness, disbelief, anger, trauma. How do we help them? I have no answer, but I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I will help my friend as much as can by being there after everyone has gone home. I’ll tell my kids, grandkids, and hubby how much I love them. I’ll talk to my friends about how much I care for them. If anyone needs me, I’m only a call/text/email/FaceBook message or post away. I have time for friends. My family and friends not alone as long as I’m around.