A few weeks ago, Kate Spade took her life.
To me, it is just unreal. It is hard to believe. But this feeling of unbelief is not new.
When I was in 4th grade, my best friend’s brother.
When I was in 10th grade, a family friend.
Throughout high school and college, several peers in my hometown.
I spent two years trying to convince a friend to stay and she chose to leave anyway.
Right after my 21st birthday, a high school best friend.
A couple months later, a guy I thought for sure I’d marry one day.
At 23, a friend from junior high.
These past few years, several high schoolers and too many parents.
My list could go on and I am sure I am leaving out very crucial people on my list.
Celebrities. Kids. Parents. Adults. Students.
And many attempts. Many desperate phone calls and hurting texts looking for any hope.
Depression does not discriminate.
I have seen it up close and personal. I have fought with depression in my loved ones. I have seen it take over their body, their mind and their spirit. It makes them a person they are not and convinces them they’ll never be the person others expect them to be. They believe we’ll be better off without them and their life is a burden to others.
In 4th grade, I didn’t understand what suicide really was. I just knew it was sad. We were given the traditional speech with the words wrong, selfish and hell bound. By 10th grade, losing a family friend, the story was no longer selfishness and hell bound. The story was grace and forgiveness, but it was always prefaced and followed by it never being the solution to the problem.
So many have been sharing their suicide stories since Kate’s death. Their experiences, their stories and their defeats of suicide. In that, I want to share my experience being left at the scene of a grieving family and being among grieving friends.
We need you.
You are here for a reason.
You are not a burden.
Your life counts.
You are loved.
I would choose to sit on a couch, eating ice cream, crying out to God and praying for strength every single day and seeing how God uses you for His Glory through all of it over living without you.
I would choose staying up late, texting all through the night to keep you company, trying to figure out this plan God has for our life and how He uses you for His Glory over living without you.
I would choose yelling at you over spilled icees, working through hard seasons together and seeing how God uses you for His Glory over living without you.
I would choose getting through bad choices and consequences and seeing how God works through those and uses you for His Glory over living without you.
Your family would too.
Your other friends would too.
Not every day is easy. Nobody is trying to pretend it is (unless they are, and then they’re living in a false reality). But there are always good days. Even when you cannot see them, they are coming.
On June 4, Camp Hughes also moved his residence to eternity. In a much different way. After nine and a half years of so many uphill battles, four and a half years of battling rare aggressive cancer, Camp walked into the arms of Jesus. Our pastor put it as “epic endurance” as he recounted Camp’s life. Camp never stopped fighting, Camp never gave up. Camp suffered more than I pray anyone ever has to. Before his birth, doctors were counting him out and calling his life not worth it. But God made him for a purpose and his incredible parents chose to trust Jesus with Camp’s life. His first breath was the beginning of his suffering on earth and he fought battle after battle for the rest of his nine years. But Camp the Champ, he never gave up.
Camp taught me so much about life.
We can make it.
If Camp could fight, I can fight.
It will not be easy.
There is no guarantee it will end the way we want it to.
Our fight does not mean our victory.
But THE victory has already been won.
Jesus has overcome the grave.
He died for us.
He died so that we can live.
We need you here.
We need your smile.
We need your joy.
If you don’t know where that joy is, talk to someone. Tell someone you are hurting.
If you have friends (we hope everyone has at least one), check on them. Ask them how they’re doing. Even if they seem fine. “Fine” doesn’t always mean everything is good. We are all great at faking it. Check on your friends.
We all need a little help from our friends.
We need Jesus and we need each other.
In the end, all the suffering, all the pain.. Jesus will use it for His Glory. It will be for His Gain. What is more worth it that that. The Victory has been WON! and we will spend eternity in His Victory.
Let’s fight together.