End of Day Thought


It’s just before bedtime and I sit here thinking back over today’s church service. It started out like usual. Then towards the end of the music part of the service, it was apparent God took a tighter hand on the reigns of what was going to be the rest of the service.

His Spirit moved upon the crowd and was causing several to cry out under the Holy Spirit. Several came forward, but some were so overcome they could not get out of their seats. I went to one, then another. I ended up at the platform in front of a young man rededicating his life to God.

To be honest, I was not feeling anything in particular as usual, but when God began to move so did I. I saw many touched by God in a short time.

Then I saw my wife go to the pastor and whisper in his ear. Then while I was praying with the young man rededicating his life, my wife whispered in my ear she was going to share something when things calmed down.

Then the calm came my wife stood with a microphone in hand and confessed something we neither thought needed to be made known in a public gathering. Our lives together began under circumstances that ended both our prior marriages. We did what was already in our hearts all the wrong way for the wrong reasons at the time, but thanks be to God He saw our true hearts and kept us together to this day. That has been twelve years. Even my psychologist back then told me she would be only my “shiny new toy”. God foresaw the way we were to go and directed us gently until even this day where we are a respected couple, I as an ordained Chaplain and she is just months from her full ordination as a minister of the Word of God as well.

Out of the murky waters of adultery came a calling of God as He saw fit to put us together to fulfill a calling upon both of us as only He can do. We have carried in our hearts the desire to become one in Him and Him alone. His hand has shaped us into one.

I love my wife dearly, no matter what past circumstances may have gone before us. We are one in God. We left the service together with a clean slate.

Posted in Abundant life, Divorce, Family, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Home, Marriage, Maturity, Soulmate, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Blessing


At the age I am now I find myself blessed and more than that thankful to God for those blessings. I find myself surrendering more each day to the things of God. I just want His preeminence in my life. There is nothing more important. So today, I wish for each of you to stop a moment and consider why we set aside this day. Most of us have a roof over our heads, a job to go to if we’re not retired, a spouse that loves us, and a family that cares for each other. There are some that are far from home, so this year Libby Lewis Rowe and I are having two military families come to share Thanksgiving dinner with us since most of our immediate family is elsewhere this year. So. Be blessed and be so from here on.

May be an image of 2 people, tree, outdoors and text that says 'B lessed'
Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Family, God's direction, God's Guidance, Military, Old Age, Patriotism, Priorities, Respect for Life | Leave a comment

Change of Priorities


I’m 71 years old now. Priorities are changing. I used to feel more comfortable watching TV or something to make things around me different for convenience’s sake.

Not so much anymore. I feel more of a leaning towards making my spiritual side more relevant. What kind of condition am I in? To be honest I find myself wanting to prepare myself for the inevitable in not so many years. I feel I have more to give and I shall. Actually, I find myself more solidly sure of my salvation. I sense God more keenly than ever before.

Instead of watching TV, I find myself writing a book now on my concern for the lives of others that have fallen into mental despair. Life can be such a difficult place to be with all the circumstances that flood the mind with needless fodder.

Since the first of this year, I found myself back in school to become a certified Chaplain. The deeper into the class I got the more I realized I had things to say. Then towards the end of the class, I found myself signing up for yet another certification.

Suicide Awareness & Prevention came next and I finished that as well. Then God gave me the title for a book to write and presently I’m around forty-five pages into my book titled “Suicide – Satan’s Killing Field”. It’s turning into more than just a book on suicide, yet it is more just that than I realized in its overall content.

If you’re not a Christian or don’t adhere to a belief system that includes Jesus Christ, I can’t sway you. Believe me, I’m not going to try, but I will tell you if you don’t you will the day your eyes shut for the last time. Then what?

Even if I were wrong, I don’t want to go against the experiences I have encountered in life that tells me there is a God with whom I converse and have done so for most of my life. He isn’t some imaginary friend.

The things He has told me have been real. Astonishingly real at first, but as time wove on in the fabric of my life I have found a tapestry of life that includes the thread of His words woven into it. It has made my cloth very durable here at this end where it has covered me in protection against the elements of life like no clothing could. Not even the forthcoming passing of my body will be my end.

My cocoon will be shed for the coming life as a butterfly that can soar into the heavens and experience God in His fullness. If you can’t say that or some semblance of it then you need to stop and search your soul.

When my brother was dying of lung cancer I asked him was he afraid of dying. His reply was a staunch no. I was with him when he died and he was at peace. I expect the same for me as well. I am at peace with myself already, but I know God is not done with me as yet, so I expect to remain for yet another while.

I have reached the point in my life where I have to implore people to realize their mortality and weigh it against what will become of them in immortality.

It is for me to let people know that there is a tomorrow until their day is finished here on earth and then to come home to their creator. No matter how hard it may seem. No matter what may come to bring you down you should fight against it till you have conquered the enemy of your soul in order to make you stronger. Those battles with your mind aren’t meant to kill you. They are meant to bring strength to you and make you more durable on this plane.

Suicide is not the easy way out. it’s the way of the loser in life and I mean that in a way of what you’ll miss out on. Not that you’re no good at life. You’ll lose watching yourself mature in your spirituality. You’ll lose out on seeing the positive effects you’ll have on other people around you. Your family needs to see your abilities to push them forward into a better reality.

Circumstances are not your reality. They only come to confirm you are worth fighting for because they are here to destroy you for fear of what a difference you can make to the good in someone else’s life. Don’t let the negatives of life destroy you. Turn them into a positive. You have that ability. Use them to charge your life with positive results that will bring an energy that can only bring someone else higher into their successfulness in creation.

Suicide only abruptly ends what could have been the lead into the success of not only your life but affect possibly untold numbers of other people as well. Don’t give up. Their success will depend on yours.

I can’t express it hard enough to those of you considering dismissing your life to such an end as suicide will be. You need to know your worth. Suicide only speaks to you of your being unworthy. But God speaks to you or your worthiness in Him. He made you so because He sent His Son to die for you. That shed blood makes you worth everything and continues to do so day after day after day.

And for those of you that say suicide is not even on your radar, I ask one question. Have you appropriated your gift of life that has been made for you? If you have not and die without doing so you have as good as committed suicide. You don’t have to die without that gift being received by you. It’s yours.

My heart aches for you and others if you have not done so. The regeneration of your spirit to save your soul has been provided to you to give you life everlasting in Him who saw fit to reverse the curse of death upon all born under the first Adam.

Don’t let another day go by without knowing you have a way to walk away from death and into eternal life. My heart is full with this knowledge. Let it be yours as well.

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Suicide Awareness & Prevention – Lesson 4


What does someone contemplating suicide look like?  I’ve heard several people say that a person that did commit suicide had not shown any tell-tale signs of issues like depression, withdrawal or sadness in them.  I’m not saying people are non-observant, because the actuality may be the person put on a happy face in public.  There are signs however that tell the tale.

During my research I found five different types of people that are prone to suicide and may or may not show signs of what is going on inside them.  I can go over them quickly.

1.  Smokers.  Washington University School of Medicine noted from a study that the rise in cigarette taxes coincided with a drop in suicide rates.  The finality of the study showed overall that for each increase on cigarette taxes each year the suicide rate for the states in the study showed a drop of 10% in the suicide rate.

2.  Teens who suffer a concussion.  Teens suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can damage a teenager’s neurological health as they grow up.  A study by St Michael’s Hospital in Ontario found that teenagers who experience a TBI such as a concussion are at an increased risk to premature death, most notably due to suicide. Teens who suffered a concussion were three times more likely to attempt suicide, twice as likely to be bullied at school, and more likely to call a crisis help-line or to be prescribed drugs to treat anxiety/depression compared to those who did not suffer a concussion.

3.  Musicians.  One notable musician is Kurt Cobain.  He had a personal history of drug abuse along with a family history of suicide.  Director for the Center for Suicide Research, Professor Steve Sack, says that suicide rates among musicians are three times higher than the current national average.

4.  Adults with Asperger’s.  Asperger’s syndrome (ASD) falls under the umbrella of a spectrum of autistic disorders.  The study in this area in the UK revealed that people with Asperger’s are nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and many even attempt suicide at some point in their life. The inability to socialize or connect with other people exhibited by those with Asperger’s was deemed a contributing factor to suicidal thoughts.  

5.  Adopted Teens.  Adoption creates likelihood for detachment or placement issues and can result from either in institutional or even foster parenting situations.  The study backing this issue comes from 1200 teens living in Minnesota showed that 47 out of 56 suicidal attempts were carried out by adopted teens.  It’s sad when broken down one more step to show that 16 were male and 31 were female.  Among 692 adopted teens in the study showed the majority suffered from a wide range of behavioral issues including family discord, academic disengagement, and externalization of behavior carrying over into negative moods.  It was surprising to find that the study showed suicidal thoughts were psychological traits inherited from their biological parents.  The conclusion is that, in general, adolescence is a period for suicide attempts.

These five types were derived from research found in the Medical Daily, published 13 August 2014.

Further research shows there is much to be learned in becoming aware of suicide in our society.  There are studies showing “passive” and “active” subjects.  Some people think a lot about suicide, yet do little towards accomplishing such a feat.  Then there are those that take aim towards completing the task that has worked its thoughts aggressively in their thinking.

But to what I have observed in visiting pages on FaceBook that allows people to speak their minds concerning suicide I found basically three types in my reading their posts.

1.  There is a group that is just attention seeking and find that making posts about how sad and lonely they are gives them the ability to draw people to them.  They may or may not really be considering suicide.  Until I see something more definitive in their conversation I can only assume they are there for attention seeking and nothing else.

      a. There are those that have true suicidal ideations.  Strictly speaking, suicidal ideation means wanting to take your own life or thinking about suicide. However, there are two kinds of suicidal ideation: passive and active. Passive suicidal ideation occurs when you wish you were dead or that you could die, but you don’t actually have any plans to commit suicide.  This is a deeper level of the point above, which means “attention seeking” has taken a step forward towards suicide.

        b.  Active suicidal ideation, on the other hand, is not only thinking about it but having the intent to commit suicide, including planning how to do it.

2.  Another group I considered are those with suicidal ideations.  This is accompanied by one of the symptoms of both major depression and the depression found in bipolar disorder, but it may also occur in people with other mental illnesses or no mental illness at all.

I gleaned this information from a site called VeryWellMind.  This site says if you or someone you know has these issues forming to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  I recommend it as well and still if you have someone closer to you that you can confide in I would say all the more to do so where you can sit eye-to-eye with someone that cares.

3.  Then there is the group of those that are indeed suicidal.  This is a person who is experiencing suicide crisis.  That is the person that is attempting to follow through with the act of suicide.  They think it, plan it and after contemplation attempt it by their plan.

What does “suicide crisis” mean?  It is a crisis of potential suicide or a moment where the individual decides to follow through with the act.  When the person comes to this point if anyone realizes what is going on or feels it is coming to a head, then it is time for intervention by emergency medical treatment because it is indeed considered a medical emergency and is a life and/or death situation.  How does a person come to this point?

I will now go more into detail since it is within my family and I don’t want other family members to experience this if they become aware, which this course is about.

My brother was ten years younger than me.  He married young and it was not a good marriage.  He and his wife had a son.  They later divorced and he retained weekend custody although he had to travel a distance of two hours away to pick up his son when he had him. 

From about that time on he lived with our mom.  Our dad had died a few years before.  My brother and mom lived in a mobile home a few miles from the old home place for a while and later had the mobile home moved to the yard of the old home place with the intent to fix it up and move back in.  They incurred a good bit of debt in the process.  By this time my brother had to go on disability from a neck injury at work and was living on a fixed income.  Mom was living on a fixed income as well.  They were doing okay for the time until my mom had a stroke.  She recovered well enough to function well, but it weighed on my brother.  Mostly because the debt was beginning to take on a load that would later become unbearable.  He was in constant pain and was on medication for that and high blood pressure.  All this gave him side effects that brought him down.  It also affected his equilibrium leaving him dizzy.  Over time the pain and side effects took a toll on him mental state.

Then in 1999 our mom died somewhat unexpectedly.  He was present at her death.  This became a devastating event for him.  Not only did he lose our mom, but also a support he depended on from her income as well.  He eventually became destitute with very little income.  Not knowing his state of need, I did get another of our brother’s that lived close by to check on him. 

I had them come to a church event where I talked to our brother at length.  He described him as despondent, depressed and withdrawn.  Do you get the picture?  He sat in the midst of a crowd of people at a pig picking all alone not interacting with anyone that I was aware of. 

It was not long after that I felt God telling me I should go see him.  This I related to earlier and I faltered to do so.  I may have been his saving grace and for a bit I felt guilt in not going immediately. 

My brother had not communicated with him for a quite some time after the church event and found that he was unable to pay for power to the house and this meant no water as well, so he was living in the house by this time alone in this condition.  He had not bathed in months and eczema had become a serious skin issue and he’d not had a haircut or shaved either.  Our brother took him home with him and cleaned him up, took him to a doctor and got him medication as best he could and worked with the power company to get him some electricity in the home, which gave him access to water.  My brother told me that he had checked on him and he had seemed to be doing okay, but still depressed. 

He had withdrawn from church, was not talking to anyone, yet my brother said he kept a check on him, but was unable to do much more than help him get necessities.  At this point he seemed stable.  Still we were not aware that he was not buying his medication for lack of money and would not ask.  I found out much later that he had devised a way to grow marijuana in the woods behind the home place in patches that would not be spotted.  He was using it as his medication.

Then came an event I was not aware of until after his suicide.  He decided one evening to go a quarter mile down the road from the home to visit the home of our aunt.  This aunt had since died and her home was left as if she had just left.  He felt he wanted to go inside and just sit and think about the good times before family members had deceased.  By this time there was no one else living around the neighborhood that was family.  He had to break the lock to get in the home and he did what he went there for, but little did he know he was seen breaking in and they called the sheriff later.  When he realized he had a warrant for his arrest it threw him off the deep end.  You see, I do know my brother had a strict code of ethics about him underlying the mental state he was in and it was apparent to my other brother and me that he felt in the depths of his depressed state he had violated a most sacred code.  This was about to get him arrested and none of us in the family were privy to the impending charge until later.  This legal proceeding was about to occur and he could not bear the weight of it and sat down on the bed in the house and placed a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.  This was his suicide crisis event and it resulted in his death.

The brother next to me in age is the one that went to check on him and found him.

My eldest son and I were on the roof of my home where we had removed the shingles and were putting on felt paper and new shingles.  I got the call of what had happened and my pastor was notified and he and an elder came over to pray with me.  I told them I was in a situation where I could not leave immediately until my roof was made safe from the weather, so I called my brother and told him what was happening and I would be there as soon as I could.  He understood, so my son and I went back on the roof to make it so I could go.  While on the roof, the sons of my neighbor had gone down to the field at the back corner of my yard and had begun to shoot their shotguns for practice since it was October and a few hunting seasons were opening up.  Each time I heard a blast of their shotguns, I winced.  Finally I got down off my roof and walked to where they were and told them what had happened and they apologized and got back in their truck and drove back around to their parent’s home. 

There was a closed casket graveside service of course and there were several cousins and others as well as friends attending.  A strange thing happened during the service.  The sky at the start was partly cloudy, but then it suddenly darkened and the wind picked up and it began to rain.  As the service concluded the rain stopped and the dark clouds blew over.  I’ve never seen anything of this kind of event as this service was.  I walked away saddened by the way this went. 

I vowed to never let God’s urging to go see someone when He prompted me ever again.  This is why I am adamant in the calling of God to ministry.

I cannot tell you how much it means to be aware of someone in any state of suicide from just talking about it to planning it to execution of it. Don’t presume or assume. If unsure, talk with them about how they feel about how things are going for them. Don’t be blunt. You have to stay at the least alarming in conversation and only go deeper as you see the need to ferret out the depth of their thoughts. Don’t just let it go. You may be their salvation gift from God.

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Common Sense, Death, Family, Follow God, God's Calling, God's direction, Health, Home, Love, Mental Health, Patience, Ponderings, Prayer, Respect for Life, Sadness, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Spiritual Investments, Suicide | Leave a comment

Suicide Awareness & Prevention – Lesson 3


To begin this lesson I will have to say I spent several weeks listening intently to different people’s encounters with suicide in their family or of friends.

Personally I have shared my own experience with family that committed suicide. I’ve spoke about statistics and the myths and realities of suicide. But all the while my mind kept prodding me with one distinct question. What do you say in a real-time scenario with a person on a hotline or in person that is on the verge of committing suicide? Do you have it within you to remain calm. . .with a calm voice, I might add, and probe the individual with questions that might help you disarm them from following through with the task they’ve determined to be the end to their problem(s)?

I listened to a video that is publicly presented on YouTube that I would like for you to go watch. The guy is Brian Finkelstein telling a story about his experience on a suicide hotline.

It is a twenty-five minute story, so take the time to listen. It will change you life. It changed mine and woke me up to the reality of having someone’s life in your hands in their moment of despair.

What told me the most about this story is this. Not everyone is cut out for this type of calling as I feel it is for me. It takes a special person with a broken heart for people that see no tomorrow. Brian related that the class to become a hotline volunteer will show you that very thing. Starting out with fifty some people and ending with only four said a lot to me. I am one of those four in my heart.

For one thing you have to feel the person’s heart. You have to feel the urgency of their situation and you have to be ready with words that will disarm them from the brink of ending their life. Brian was not successful in the end of his story and it caused him to walk away. It led me to wonder what about the other three. He spend something like four years doing this, but this one last conversation caused him to crack. Are you able to take the pressure of helping someone even if they do end it for themselves and you were their last voice in their ear?

Please, if you have read past the link without watching the video, go back and watch it. It will break your heart if you truly care. You’ll come away wanting to know more of how to help someone. This is a world of turmoil out there and every day it gets worse. I know that sounds negative, but I’m here to let you know in all the negativity there is hope. There are people that care. Are you one of them?

So. If you still feel you want to help anyone contemplating suicide do you know where to start? First of all forget the way it’s done on TV shows. They are all scripted. However you approach this let’s start with the idea of you being on a suicide hotline. The phone rings. What do you say?

First and foremost have your heart right. I mean don’t come with your day’s baggage in the back of your mind. You kicked the cat or had a fight with the neighbor. Put it away. What you carry in your heart or head will bleed over in your speech whether in word or how you say it. Don’t start off with “Hello, what’s your problem”?

First things first. A simple hello and tell the caller your name and who you represent. Once you do that, you listen. Their first words will tell you where to start. Listen attentively to everything that the caller says, and try to learn as much as possible about what the caller’s problems are. Allow the caller to cry, scream or swear. Suicidal feelings are very powerful, so let them get the initial blast of emotion out.

Stay calm, be supportive, sympathetic, and kind. Never speak in a judgmental way or invalidate the person’s feelings. Let the caller express emotions and don’t give them negative feedback.

Once you have listened and they have quieted, let them know you understand by relating back to them what they said as best you can to let them know you are listening and if they stand to correct you, be apologetic and correct your statement until the both of you are on the same page.

People don’t call a hotline just to be calling so if they have not expressed directly that they are going to commit suicide you have to ask them.

If the answer is “yes”, then comes some questions that help you assess the situation.

Then the succeeding questions would be, “Have you thought about how you would do it?”

If the answer is yes, ask, “Do you have what you need to do it?”

If the answer is yes, ask, “Have you thought about when you would do it?”

Asking these questions is to assess the level of risk of suicide for the caller. If the caller answers yes to three or four questions, the risk is very high, and immediate treatment is necessary.

If you can at all get the caller’s location it would be valuable information for the following statement.

You can ask them to call 911 or go to an ER for immediate attention, but if you deem it dire, you should have someone else with you call 911 and have a dispatch made to the caller’s location. Time is of the essence as you saw in the video I linked to this lesson. Saving a life is tantamount.

In the conversation the answers are yes to one or two questions, depending on which you feel important enough you should decide if dispatch should be made or the very least advise the individual to seek out therapy from a psychologist or medical doctor.

In a calm, understanding voice explain that he or she probably has clinical depression or something similar and thus has a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that this is a very common condition, but definitely needs to be treated.

Only let the person go when you are sure that he or she is not in immediate danger of suicide. And, again, before you let the person go, emphasize that it is imperative that treatment is received. It is not an option, it is a requirement.

There are many scenarios that can be addressed, but I’m starting with the “hotline” approach. In succeeding lessons we will endeavor to open up other points that need to be addressed. Stay tuned for more.

Posted in Christian, Common Sense, Death, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Health, Mental Health, Ponderings, Respect for Life, Sadness, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Investments, Suicide | Leave a comment

Forgiveness


I keep coming back to forgiveness. I believe I may have written on this subject before, but I can’t let go of it.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

One added thought I have about this is:

Isaiah 43:25 – I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

While God is all-knowing and does not literally forget anything, the idea is that He no longer holds against us sins He has forgiven. We cannot simply decide to “forget” sins or erase them from our memory. In fact, in some cases it would be unwise or unsafe to do so.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I’ve put such an imperative on forgetting that I didn’t see the other facets of God in it all. As it is stated above God is all-knowing and doesn’t really forget, but more like doesn’t hold that sin against us in the future.

Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

This is the other aspect I find to be an added thought to how God forgives us. In one place it’s not remembered. Why? Probably because our transgressions are removed so far from us they cannot be brought back up and held against us.

The most important thing to remember is God loves us so much He gave His Son by the shedding of His blood on the cross to bring that separation of our sins to pass.

Put away grudges.

Leviticus 19:18 says, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Seeking to bear a grudge is another way of saying you haven’t forgiven. Truly forgiving means to put away the feelings of revenge.

We are commanded, not just by way of suggestion, but by commandment to love one another.

I don’t know if I’m getting this across like I wish to, because I’m tired tonight, but hopefully you get something from this.

If you say you forgive someone you have to let the transgression go. Holding onto unforgiveness, means in essence we are holding out for judgment against a person. That reflect back on us.

One thing I’ve learned over my years is that God set into motion His principles and commandments and they are still in effect. He doesn’t have to judge us. We bring judgment upon ourselves by our decisions concerning those principles and commandments. No one has the right to judge us unto condemnation. That is totally not Biblical.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There will be a day of judgment.

Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

In this life we bring our own judgment. But once we have passed from this realm God will have the final say.

I will likely come back to rewrite this. I don’t feel I’m making it clear, but hopefully you get something from this.

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Suicide Awareness & Prevention – Lesson 2


Now that you have felt my heart by way of the introduction you can see where I came from.  It’s not all of what I have experience that has shaped me.  I may share some more of that during the lessons.

I’m not going to attempt to reinvent the wheel so I will be using parts of what I learned in my class on the subject.

Objectives of this class:

By participating in this training you will:

  • Have a general understanding of the scope of suicide within the United States
  • Know how to identify someone that may be at risk for suicide
  • Know what to do when you do identify someone at risk

Statistics of Suicide in the United States             

  • More than 48,000 U.S. deaths from suicide per year among the general population
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Every 12.3 minutes someone dies by suicide
  • It is estimated that close to one million people make a suicide attempt each year
    • One attempt every 35 seconds
  • Gender disparities
    • Women attempt suicide 3 times more often than men
    • Men die by suicide almost 4 times more often than  women

What is the reason for the above statistics in gender disparities?  Women will overdose in most cases and some will realize the consequences and dial 911, whereas men will use lethal force that in most cases when executed there is no time lapse to consider the consequences, such and the use of a gun.

Facts about Veteran suicide

Where I live is near a military base with several others in the eastern part of NC.

  • 18% of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults were Veterans4
  • Veterans are more likely than the general population to use firearms as a means for suicide4
  • 25% of Veteran suicides have a history of previous suicide attempts5

Common myths vs. realities

Myth – If somebody really wants to die by suicide, they will find a way to do it.

Reality – Making one form of suicide less convenient does not usually lead people to find another method. Some people will, but the overwhelming majority will not.

Death by suicide is preventable:

Lethal Means Reduction

  • Limiting access to lethal means reduces suicide

— e.g., Firearms, abundance of analgesic doses  per bottle, etc. 

  • How did we figure this out?

— e.g., Coal gas in the UK, placement of lethal items behind counters, fencing off bridges

  • 85-90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide later.

Perhaps the greatest evidence we have that death by suicide is preventable is related to lethal means reduction….

  • Limiting access to lethal means….

The connection between the availability of lethal means and death by suicide is simultaneously one of the most powerful and most counter-intuitive patterns in the suicide literature. On one hand, reducing access to lethal means is the best empirically supported intervention for suicide prevention. On the other hand, the idea that the suicide rate could decrease by 31% simply by making it mildly inconvenient (e.g., placing lethal items behind a sales counter ) or that it could increase by 20% simply by publicizing a novel method of suicide is paradoxical.

  • How did we figure this out?

For those of us unfamiliar with this info, it is best to start with the first well-known example: Kreitman’s (1976) coal gas story. As described in his landmark paper, the United Kingdom experienced a consistent rise in suicide rates for several decades after the end of World War II, when suddenly; they began to decline in 1962. But reductions in the overall rate were attributable to a reduction in only one type of suicide: ingestion of carbon monoxide. Data on the availability of carbon monoxide explained why. Prior to the 1950’s, domestic gas was produced primarily from coal, and the resulting gas available to consumers was 14% carbon monoxide. But manufacturing gas from oil products and then natural gas, rapidly reduced carbon monoxide content to near zero. In the end, the reduction in overall suicides was closely associated with reductions in the availability of gas with carbon monoxide.  In under 10 years, the overall suicide rate in England and Wales dropped by roughly 43%. Decreases in carbon monoxide related suicides were not offset by increases via a different means. This pattern with different lethal means in different counties has been replicated many times (Daigle, 2005).

Another example is found at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge (GGB).  The GGB is widely known as a suicide “hot spot”; it’s estimated that over 1600 people have died there via jumping since its opening in 1937.  Although construction recently began on a safety net, calls for an anti-suicide barrier went unheeded for decades.  Among the reasons often cited for not constructing a barrier was the belief that suicidal individuals “would just go somewhere else” if jumping from the GGB were made more difficult.  In other words, if a person was prevented from making a relatively easy and highly lethal attempt, they would likely simply substitute another site to make an attempt.  A well-known 1978 study tested this assumption by examining outcomes in 515 individuals who were restrained from jumping from the GGB between 1937 and 1978.  Richard Seiden, the study’s author found that over 25 years later, 94% of these individuals were either still alive, or had died of causes other than suicide.  The author concluded that, “…the findings confirm previous observations that suicidal behavior is crisis-oriented and acute in nature.”  

  • 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not attempt again.

We think this is because suicidal crises often emerge & resolve quickly.

Myth –  Asking about suicide may lead to someone taking his or her life.

Reality – Asking about suicide does not create suicidal thoughts. The act of asking the question simply gives the person permission to talk about his or her thoughts or feelings.

Myth – There are talkers and there are doers.

Reality – Most people who die by suicide have communicated some intent. Someone who talks about suicide provides others with an opportunity to intervene before suicidal behaviors occur.   Another words they are giving clues that they want to be talked out of it no matter which side of the coin you look at.

                Almost everyone who dies by suicide or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Suicide threats should never be ignored. No matter how casually or jokingly said, statements like, “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” or “I can’t see any way out” may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Myth –  If somebody really wants to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do about it.

Reality – Most suicidal ideas are associated with treatable disorders. Helping someone connect with treatment can save a life. The acute risk for suicide is often time-limited. If you can help the person survive the immediate crisis and overcome the strong intent to die by suicide, you have gone a long way toward promoting a positive outcome.

Myth – He/she really wouldn’t die by suicide because…

  • he just made plans for a vacation
    • she has young children at home
    • he made a verbal or written promise
    • she knows how dearly her family loves her

Reality – The intent to die can override any rational thinking. Someone experiencing suicidal ideation or intent must be taken seriously and referred to a clinical provider who can further evaluate their condition and provide treatment as appropriate.

Let’s use this acronym I was taught to use in pursuit of helping people that are troubled.

S.A.V.E.               

S.A.V.E.                will help you act with care and compassion if you encounter a person who is in suicidal crisis.

The acronym “S.A.V.E.” helps one remember the important steps involved in suicide prevention:

  • Signs of suicidal thinking should be recognized
    • Ask the most important question of all
    • Validate the persons experience
    • Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help

This last point is of the utmost importance to me.  Listen and learn.  Don’t be hasty to act.  Look at the situations surrounding people you suspect to be suicidal.  They might not actually be.  Be sure you read the signs properly.  Risk signs might include:

1.            Depression

2.            Withdrawal from friends and family.

3.            Self-harm such as cutting, pulling out hair

4.            Saying things like “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” or “I can’t see any way out”. 

These are things that can indicate serious suicidal feelings.

To conclude Lesson 2 we must realize there are multiple ways for people to attempt suicide.  It doesn’t really lay at the feet of any given method.  Guns, carbon monoxide, drug overdose, hanging and any other idea dreamed up can and will be used. 

I would like to insert here a method used in a suicide that occurred with a neighbor of mine back in the 70’s.  This husband and wife were not next door at the time of the incident.  The wife moved in next to me post suicide with her two daughters. 

The husband of my neighbor sent his wife to the hardware store to buy rope.  She was clueless as to the nature of his need for the rope.  She brought the rope home and he took it and went to the garage.  Later she found him hanging in their garage deceased.  It was a tragic ending.  The method was pre-planned by the husband and she told me she had no idea of his inclination.  The result was a life of depression for this woman that was so crippling she was unable to function as a normal person should because she blamed herself as being complicit in his suicide.  Her husband’s death left her as nothing more than a troubled woman that also died early from the grief she carried.  Suicide not only ends in the tragic ending of the life of the person, but it also affects the family and friends at all levels.  We will delve into this aspect as we continue.

Posted in Common Sense, Death, Family, God's Guidance, Health, Human Touch, Love, Maturity, Mental Health, Military, Patience, Possibilities, Priorities, Respect for Life, Sadness, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Class


This class I will be teaching has a deep meaning for me as I’m sure it does with many of the people in attendance.

Like myself many of you have been privy to suicide by friends or family.  In my case it was my mother’s sister.  She was deeply troubled.  Two of my mom’s siblings were troubled enough to abandon their families and disappear.  Both ended up in Wilmington away from the Raleigh area.

I don’t know the circumstances nor the method my aunt used to end her life.  My mom’s brother went back home after he was found quite accidentally.

My dad was living in the Wilmington area back in the 70’s working one of two construction jobs at the time.  He would on occasion take a trip to Carolina Beach to see the ocean and sit there to contemplate.  One evening as he sat there he turned to notice a man sitting near and much to his astonishment it was his brother-in-law.  He moved over and began a conversation which led to his return to his home.  I know little else of his life.  Suffice to say we all feel this way sometimes and sometimes we go home.

My aunt was living in Wilmington when I was married and living in that area in the 70’s. I had time to search for her during this time.  I know I came close to finding her.  She usually waitressed in little mom n pop restaurants.  I would get a cold stare from the staff when I would inquire in some places, but they never told me she had or was there.  I know she did return home, but later committed suicide. I don’t know much of the details of her demise.

Then there was my brother.  He was fourth one in a line of five sons.  He had married and divorced after they had a son.  From that time on he lived with our mom.  She was widowed by then.  My mom had a stroke when they lived under the same roof. She recovered somewhat with only a limp. 

In 1999, December 18 to be exact, my mom died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  My brother was there and witnessed her death.  The date was an eventful day because just that morning my youngest son had graduated from UNC-W in Wilmington and it had been a full day for me.  Friends and family were present with situations that tried my patience that day and I was extremely tired when I got home.  My older son had taken leave from the military to be there for the graduation.  When we got home I went to bed a little before nine, but was awakened by a phone call that my mom was being rushed to the ER in New Bern NC.  I was not told she had died enroute till I go there.  I met my brother at the entrance to the ER where he told me she had not made it.  I had taken my older son with me to help me since I was so tired.  I walked into the ER with him in tow only to be told my mom’s body had already been put in a reefer “out back”.  I insisted on seeing her body.  I probably should have let that pass, but I did.  I took my son with me.  When they opened the reefer where sge was lying on a gurney in a retracted state.  It was like a scene from a horror movie.  My son also saw this and I’m sure it affected him quite negatively to see his grandmother in such a state.

I had to share this to explain what happened to my brother.  He became reclusive.  One thing my family did without fail was to disconnect their phone service when financial hardship struck.  This was his first move.  I had no contact with him.  The second brother in the line-up was Danny and he lived close by.  Without knowing the situation my Danny went to see him one day and found him in a foul state.  He was living in the family home without electricity, water or any amenities to live even close to something viable.  He could not pay bills that he and mom had accrued.  With that he could not by medicine he desperately needed to live without pain from an injury that had disabled him.  He also had high blood pressure and uncontrolled cholesterol and likely diabetes.  Danny relayed to me he had not cut his hair or shaved in nine months and his skin was covered with eczema.  Danny got him cleaned up and got his power back on and I was told he was seemingly recovering.  My church had an event during this time and Danny and his wife brought Tim to this event, but he sat alone in a crowd of a couple of hundred or so people.  Danny told me he had been depressed for some time, but did not say anything to indicate he was on the edge of suicide. 

Then one day along the first of October 2001 I felt a prompting to go see him, but I felt I was busy at the moment and one set a time to go, but I kept pushing that ahead.  I should have known to go right then in a day and no more.  My eldest had come home on leave to help me put the back half of my roof on.  I had new shingles and he and I had stripped the roof and was putting felt down when I was called down from the roof for a phone call.  It was my brother Danny.  It was the 23rd of October.  This was a devastating call to me.  I’m sure to Danny it was even worse since he was the one that found our brother dead from a shotgun wound to the head.  Someone called my pastor and he and an elder came to the house and we prayed.  I told everyone I could not go till I had secured my roof from the weather, so my son and I went back to work.  While up there my neighbor’s son and his brother went to the back corner of my yard and began firing shotguns into the open field beyond.  Every time the guns went off I winced.  I finally got down from the roof and walked to where they were and told them about my brother and asked could they refrain from firing.  They were very understanding and went back to their home next door.

We buried my brother on the 25th of October 2001, my birthday. There was a grave side funeral only.  The strangest thing that day was the sky was only lightly overcast, but during the funeral the clouds got dark and the wind picked up considerably and a brief shower came down on us and by the time the last words were spoken the rain had stopped and the clouds had gone.  It felt so ominous. 

So what do we say now?

Suicide is a devastating event that ends a life with such decisiveness for the individual and leaves family and friends to question why, not only for him but for ourselves as well.  Why did we not do more?  Why didn’t we act when we knew we should?  Do we simply think to ourselves this could not happen to a family member and it could certainly not leave us wondering why for so many reasons?

I resolved myself with God over my slack nature to not answer, but I still feel the brunt of it in my heart.  Could I have saved my brother had I went immediately when prompted by God?

That event has instilled in me another resolve to put myself into play.  God directed me to a course to become an American Chaplaincy Association certified Chaplain.  I knew that God opened that door for me to attend.  That was 27 hours through Aidan University.  Then I was prompted to attend a sub course on Suicide Awareness and Prevention that was another 9 hours of classes.  I have to note I was ordained two years prior to my starting the ACA class.  It was during this time till now that God revealed to me the fuller nature of my calling. 

I wasn’t called to preach.  I was called to reach the ones in need. One of the phrases that has been instilled in my heart is this ministry is one of “presence” It’s an evangelistic calling, but not a “preachy” kind of calling. Just being there is all some people need.  The people who have troubled minds that see no tomorrow and have given up hope for a better day. 

To further temper my calling I learned from my wife that calls come to her Appointment Center in a major military facility from people telling them they were going to kill themselves or at least harm themselves.  My wife is the supervisor of this center and much to her dismay she found no one in the hospital that felt enough compassion to help or direct her to a department in the hospital that could field the call.  I feel certain the Chaplain’s Office would have taken it, but was there a protocol to contact them?  I don’t know.  I’m screaming inside myself to know why.  WHY! I’ve since found there is a lot of information for help lines and people to talk with, but I still feel there’s a disconnect. I don’t blame anyone. I’ve been in the blindness of this need myself.

God spoke to me to take action.  So I’ve put together this course for those of us that feel the need to help.  There are so many people with troubled minds today.  Saved or not saved should not be a factor.  It’s a human life in the balance and needs someone to answer the call to talk with them, cry with them and tell them even the darkness of night comes to light when the sun rises in the morning.  There is always another day to face.

Our resolve should be to comfort and show our concern.  It is our responsibility to open new doors to possibilities of a newer brighter future.  We don’t need to present our beliefs in God initially unless prompted to do so.  These troubled souls want to be rescued.  Take the beginning steps on a walk that will develop in time to a new belief system for the individual.  Don’t refer to them as survivors from the outset.  Tell them they are overcomers to their circumstances and they have the power to destroy the obstacles that are eating them alive.  Let them know they are the navigators to their destiny and it is still before them.  Help them steer away from the shoals and onto a course in calmer waters where they can dock and take stock in their situation and repair their ship before moving on.  Don’t let them down early on.  Be there to shore them up until they are able to obtain a steady hold on their circumstances.  This isn’t a once done thing.  It may take a good bit of follow-up to get there.

I hope this course will help us to recognize, engage and help people hold course through their treacherous situation and see them walk steadily through the rest of their lives.

(This is my opening to the class. As I prepare more I will be posting to this blog on many things to help someone wanting to know more on how to approach this subject.)

Posted in Abundant life, Biblical teaching, Christian, Common Sense, Death, Follow God, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Mental Health, Patience, Possibilities, Priorities, Respect for Life, Sadness, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Suicide | 1 Comment

To Stab or Not to Stab


Understand me when I say I am for a viable and trusted method or cure for a disease of any kind, but critical thinking needs to be applied to anything that you have entering your body as a cure.

What is the efficacy of the drug? Has it been tested over time to determine side effects? Why “mandate” and give this drug to everyone for free? There is ALWAYS a price to pay for a drug. What will the price be for this covid vaccine? Apparently not monetarily. I’ve lived almost 71 years by the grace of God. I have had COVID19.

I suffer from some of the side effects of the disease. Number one on my list is I’ve never had thyroid issues till now. I have been told I have hyperthyroidism. I’ve had irregular heartbeats since I was around 40 yrs old, but in the last few months, they have gotten more pronounced. Please stop a moment and consider what I feel about it. I’m already dealing with issues and by the grace of God I continue on undaunted by what appears to be adverse to my existence, so why would I complicate it with yet something else going into my body that may further damage my temple.

In the context of Romans14:5 we must remember to consider this to be our view of our fellow man.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s

If I don’t want the vaccine I have found the following to be interesting. If you want to see more about what I feel, just understand this one thing. This virus was intended to separate us as a free people. Hasn’t it done enough of that? Why do we argue and live in fear or by the grace of God? We need to stop the bickering and look for the root cause of all this. There is a spiritual warfare involved here and it seems to be working. I refuse to allow this to happen anymore.

This selection was brought over from another blog post that is very informative. Credit goes to this person’s research.
Posted in Biblical teaching, Christian, Common Sense, Death, Follow God, God's direction, God's Guidance, Health, Mental Health, Ponderings, Respect for Life, Sobering Thoughts | Leave a comment

Studying Suicide


The following statements from from my observations on the YouTube video titled:

What I Learned from my Husband’s Suicide

Lori Prichard

I’ve listened to the video and could not help feeling this woman’s heart that has and continues to be wrung from the experience of her husband’s suicide.  She expressed her feeling so well as to her helplessness of not recognizing the signs of her husband’s so well hidden yet plainly viewable markers of depression upon his life.

One thing that struck me was I thought I was depressed myself only in my mid-fifties from what was classified as “situational depression” due to my failing marriage and my poor judgments from trying to deal with it that caused me to have anxiety attacks and ended with me seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist for severe depression.

Lori’s discovery of her husband’s documentation gave her a view of the dark side of his life-long dilemma.  That struck me because in my mid-twenties I was having issues and being a writer at heart I started writing my feelings in composition notebooks and kept them under the seat of my car to keep them hidden.  Little did I know my first wife had come to a place she did not know what to do and looked around till she found my writings and read them.  It gave her insight to my issues.  It was shortly after this I sought God and I mean I would beat down church house doors looking for solace.  Thank God He took me by the hand and walked my family and me into a realm where I awoke to a whole new nature in Him.  I don’t know why, but one day early on I stood in my driveway and watched the clouds pass overhead and for the life of me I could not understand why their movement looked so much different that I’d ever seen before.  It was like God was speaking to me. 

I fasted for a week not long afterward and found myself baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues.  The evening before this life-changing event, having fasted all week I was on my way to work and having had a richness of God over me I found that richness had gone.  I felt a void like no other.  I was driving over the Cape Fear River Bridge on my way to work and on the highest part of the bridge I felt that void so overwhelming I came to within a split second of sharply turning my steering wheel to run my car over the rail into the river some 100 ft below.

In that split second God took hold of me and got me to work where I told my supervisor I could not stay.  He took one look at me and said I looked like I’d seen a ghost and told me to go home.  I went home around one o’clock and knelt in front of my couch and cried for about an hour.  Then God poured Himself on me and I felt heavenly words flow from my mouth and my heart became once again full. 

If I may say this without retribution, I feel I was given just a small touch of what Jesus felt on the cross when he cried out to the Father asking Him why He had forsaken Him.  Even Jesus felt the void God left in Him on the cross.  I vowed then and there I never wanted to live another second of my life without His presence in my life. 

I walked for years with His presence and still do.  Yet He tested me and still does.  But not without knowing He is ever-presence in my life.  No matter how I feel, since that night on the way to work have I been without Him in my life

What I just shared is why I grieve for those who think today is the day to end it all, not realizing that tomorrow is another day to overcome today’s circumstances and walk afresh with God in sanity of spirit.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Common Sense, Death, Family, God's Calling, God's direction, God's Guidance, Health, Mental Health, Ponderings, Possibilities, Prayer, Priorities, Respect for Life, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Suicide | Leave a comment