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.