And then we turn on ourselves. “What did I do wrong? What did I not say enough? Do enough? If I just would have…he would still be here.” But that's not true. From the caring, empathetic lot of us, no one is responsible for another taking their own life. It's not because of anything we did or didn't do. It's not even happenstance. It was their intentional choice. To the angry: their cowardly choice. To the hurt: their selfish choice. To the confused: a choice that will never make sense. He chose to forsake the love around him. My mother always said, “You can't change another. You can only hope to influence them.” That is our responsibility: to do our best to impact others' lives in a positive way, and hope our good-doings rub off on them. That they are then inspired to pay it forward to others, and do right by themselves. It is not fair for us to blame ourselves for others' poor and permanent choices because we, in the end, have no control over their choices. Also, blaming ourselves absolves them of responsibility for what they've done. The problem is when they see suicide as an option, and every new suicide promotes that idea. The problem is when they don't value themselves enough to say, “The pain isn't worth my life.”
In certain situations, there is one (or a few) people who clearly hold blame for making those lost feel so distraught that they felt they had no other choice. These people don't deserve pity. Instead, they deserve the burden of guilt and shame that they now carry. May it haunt them the rest of their lives. In situations like these, it is our (the caring, empathetic lot of us) responsibility to stand up for the bullied, abused, and neglected; to defend them against the hateful and the ignorant; to provide a loving escape from the hurt. Those who did not do so also bear partial blame. A man must take responsibility for his actions. So if a man hangs himself, he himself is to blame. But the man who stands by and makes no attempt to intervene is just as much to blame. Those among us who offered shelter to our loved ones are not among those men.
To those who bullied and abused the ones we mourn: your insecurities, ignorance, and intolerance have made you even more despicable than you already were. There is now and forever blood on your hands.
To those who are left in the wake of suicide: you did all you could. You were there for them. It is not your fault they chose not to reach out for help.
To those hurting we have yet to lose: giving up is not the answer. Although the pain is heavy, lift up your head. Open your eyes and see those around you who love you. Below are some links and a hotline for help. They exist solely to help you, but you have to click the link; you have to make the call. All is not lost; hope and the future lies in the arms of your friends and family. Living is the ultimate revenge.
1-800-273-talk (24/7 365 hotline)http://helpguide.org/mental/