Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death among 25- to 49-year-olds in the United States, and each year roughly 30,000 children are victims of parental suicide in the United States (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005).
Cat, a 31-year-old woman shared her story with me about how her mother’s suicide still affects her life. Yes, with resilience, with the help of her support system, and her mother’s strength. She has persevered and she has made great accomplishments.
Cat is in graduate school in pursuance of a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, crisis intervention worker, mother, wife, etc. It took years and a lot of hard work for her to understand what losing a parent to suicide really means. She had to understand everything in life happens for a reason because something horrific could have happened to her.
Cat is a survivor, and she will continue to tell her mom’s story by living her “Life on Purpose” which is what her mom would have wanted her to do.
During one of her mom’s episodes (Cat was 6-years-old at the time) the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) police and the fire department came to their house because her mom had plans to murder her daughter and then kill herself.
In the words of Cat:
Yesterday was suicide prevention day and I’m a day late. However, this time when I visited her, I was able to sit down for a while and be in the present moment. Just her and I.
Even if that meant that I had to sit on the wet grass from the rain and got my shorts wet.
I have not really spoken much about my life on social media, but the last two weeks have been rough. I have not been feeling well and my stomach has been bothering me. But today I knew that I needed to go visit her.
At the beginning of the year, I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There were multiple events throughout my lifetime that led to this diagnosis, but the main one is childhood trauma. I am forever grateful for the support that I have received since the diagnosis.
No matter how many years that it has been I will forever be affected by my mother’s tragic death. I can still remember wearing a plaid dress with red dress shoes following her casket as she began her life as an angel in heaven. Not only am I affected, but no matter how successful I become or how much older I am, I will always need her.
There is a stigma to mental health and consequently it got the best of her as well. My mom’s journey is not over though, because I am here to complete it for her. In less than 10 months, I will fulfill her wishes by graduating from college with my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
I will also continue the journey as a crisis intervention worker. My mom’s dream for me was to become a veterinarian, but I will help those who feel as though there is no way out like she did.
My mom made me strong. Although, she lost her battle. I will continue to do my best to end the stigma. Now, that I am a mom of two beautiful children. Preston, my sweetest child anyone can meet, he loves to help, and Aurora is fearless and determined.
Help is not a sign of weakness but a step towards an important direction. We have reasons as to why we believe that things happen to us and sometimes we might not be able to visibly see it. We are not alone in this world, and we are put here for a purpose and sometimes we may not know what that purpose is until we are ready to understand.
Mom, here’s to you, and here’s to us. We got this.………….
If you are at risk of suicide – Help is on the way!
Call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 (para ayuda en español, llame al 988). You can also contact the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services provide 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Service members and Veterans in crisis, as well as their family members and friends, with qualified Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text messaging service. Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone or send a text message to 838255 to connect with a VA responder. You can also start a confidential online chat session at Veterans Crisis Chat.