Those left behind after a suicide go through a great range of emotions. If you were a caregiver of a person who was battling depression and lost their struggle, your emotions may have been capped with “What could I have done to stop it?”
Although we, as caregivers, can be there to reach out to those left behind, and to offer support to others suffering with depression, there is nothing we can do to erase the brutality of the deed itself. Our loved one chose to end his or her life. The hurt of those left behind was perhaps not considered or even that the act would be so final. Only the relief from the darkest darkness a human mind can ever imagine was considered by our loved one. We think, “What a waste,” but a life is never wasted. We are gifted in different ways by people and this was a person in our lives. We are better because he or she lived.
In the presentations to caregivers that I am involved with, we say that suicide is the sad outcome of the disease of depression. Just as people die because of cancer or heart disease or some other illness, people die because of depression. Some people will argue that suicide is different because the person had a choice, to which we can only counter, “Did they have a choice in getting depression in the first place? Did they have a choice as to what to do when the darkness consumed them?” They did not and they cannot be blamed for a disease that recognizes no economic, gender, age, or race differences. Depression kills and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be getting the necessary help to people all across our country who are facing the same darkness.