Today I had planned to write about the incredible week it has been talking and emailing with people who have lost loved ones to suicide and the path of recovery that they are on. This is certainly something I will share with you but I will write about it tomorrow. Right now I must tell you about a phone call I received this morning.

10:15am…I answered the phone to hear “hi Scott, my name is Joe (he’s asked me not to use his real name)”…”and I read your article in the paper yesterday”. An article ran in The Chronicle Journal, June 29th, on the Collateral Damage project. “I wanted to tell you that I was going to do it this weekend… I was going to kill myself… I had a plan and everything. But, when I read about how your Dad’s suicide affected your sister, how badly it hurt her, I began to know what I would be doing to my four daughters…the youngest in her early teens… I had no idea what it would have done to her…I don’t want to hurt them…or my wife”. “I love them all so much”.

We continued to talk and he kept saying,” I thought I was a burden, I had no idea how badly I could have hurt them”. “I have cut out the article and when things get bad I will use it to remind myself of my daughters, thank you, thank you, I can’t thank you enough.” Joe talked about depression, how he’s lost his job and doesn’t know how he’s going to support his family…”but now I know how badly I could have hurt them”…”you saved my life and I am going to get help”.

This was a surreal moment in my life. At a point in this conversation I could hear my father’s voice.  To hear Joe’s words, the words of gratitude for his life and that of his family…words just can not describe this. Joe’s thank you goes out to the “we” in the Collateral Damage team. Also, this life would have been lost and many others devastated without the courage of the The Chronicle Journal to publish the article and the word “suicide” on the front page.

Thank you for continuing the dialogue on suicide and being a part of battling the stigma.

8 thoughts on “I could never have imagined what this project would be.

  1. Just saw this section today Scott Sorry my mind has been elsewhere for a while.
    It is great news that you reached one person and the many others that did not come forward but will in their own time and healing.
    It was so funny that I instantly connected with Lana yesterday, we talked, and how we talked.
    We connected with some of the Natives people who were at CBC trying to do just the same things.
    God does move in mysterious ways.
    I was so very devastated the whole evening and night. I have not cried so hard for a couple of months now. But talking about my Josh is going to connect you with her and in turn it will help many many more.

    I hope when you connect with Lana that this will be the start of another thousands steps forward for you

    Great job Scott.

    Pat

  2. Wow what a story. It is amazing how one thing you think is small can have such a big impact on someone else. Thank you for having the courage to speak about your experience.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your interaction with “Joe”. This means so much to me.

    I work in southern Ontario, partly in training people to intervene when someone is suicidal but also in helping ‘survivors of suicide’ – those of us who are left behind after the death by suicide of somone. My work is not just arms length as I have also lost and almost lost people to suicide. Nevertheless it is my conversations with the hundreds of survivors over the past 10 years that really resonates for me. People whose lives are completely devastated by this terrible, terrible tragedy. People who struggle with why, what did I miss, what should I have done and the often well meaning but hurtful silence of others.

    I know that in my ‘suicide prevention’ role that survivors are at a 40 times higher risk of themselves dying by suicide and I can’t help but feel this is largely due to the incredible guilt, responsibilty and sense of futility that we feel in response to our loved one’s death. You were able to share with “Joe” that this isn’t just about his pain (which I imagine is overwhelming and thus he cannot see that by ending his pain, he devastates those he loves), that despite how hard it is to live – that his death would have a much greater impact on those he cares about, that in fact by living – by struggling – through this pain, he can give much more to his family and friends than he could ever do by his death.

    I think that many people who are thinking about suicide feel invisible, feel hopeless that life will ever improve, feel helpless to do anything about their problems and as a result, feel worthless – that they have nothing to contribute and that their loved ones would be better off without them. This is never true and you helped Joe to see this.

    Thank you again for reminding me how important it is to reach out, to reinforce that this work is worthwhile when I was feeling overwhelmed and useless.

    Sincerely, Trix in London, ON

  4. Wow! – Your desire for change and the help of others by telling their stories will change the world – I have no doubt.

  5. Dear Scott, when you told me about your project over lunch a few months ago I had a few emotions. Why after so long does it seem my friend has no closer in his life? I have to say, this made me sad. I am certain this project will help me and others understand some of the why’s too. And…this is a project of great commitment and undertaking which too will have a major impact on your life. In just a short time the impact of a one hour radio show has touched your life with a phone call. I wish for you thousands of success stories and some closure and acceptance in your heart.

    The picture you chose of your Dad for The Chronicle was perfect. I can’t believe how much you look like him.

    Again…many, many successes with your project.

  6. Scott, this is what it’s all about. I only wish this had come about 10 years ago so I wouldn’t be sitting here at my dining table emailing you. For someone to realize (almost at the last moment) what it would do to their loved ones is just so astounding. For anyone else out there contempleting suicide…..please, please rethink. The pain and anguish for the people you leave behind is huge and neverending……….

  7. Scott, this is monumental! For those in our families who live in emotional pain to understand that their loss would be so great-Then we who are left behind are called to make others aware of Mental Illness and its aftermath- Suicide.
    Lynn

  8. This is so powerful, it made me get goosebumps to think that someone decided differently about ending their life. This has been a success not matter what else happens. Another family will not have to go through lossing someone to suicide. Thank you Scott for starting this project and for sharing this story with us. I am so proud to be a small part of this.

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