Last night there was a woman in a private group I am part of on Facebook. Her daughter had died a year and a half ago and she and her husband had since divorced. She was struggling.
There were a couple of posts. One said, something like, I thought I could do this but I can’t. Then the other looked as though she had been drinking and doing drugs. It talked about her husband and divorce attorney and taking a lot of pills and being done with it.
I didn’t know if I should take it serious at first and then I remembered back to some of my deepest, darkest days early on after Phil died. I wanted to die. I wanted to live. I didn’t know what I wanted. I wanted my baby back. I wanted to hold him. My emotions were all over the place. The pain was so intense that it felt like I couldn’t get through it and it did seem, at times, that it would be easier without me. Others were struggling dealing with my openness about Phil’s death. There was always something that stopped me from taking action. My husband. My other children. My family. My friends. I had a huge support system who had surrounded me. I wondered who this woman had in her life? Her and her husband hadn’t made it through the trauma. Divorce alone is a grieving process, I cannot imagine it coupled with the death of my child.
I read her words again and made a feeble attempt to decipher what she was saying. I felt a chill up my spine. I think she was serious. In a nutshell, she said she was done. She had no last name and I was not friends with her. I went to her profile and poked around. I couldn’t see much. The first thing I did was fill out a Facebook Report Suicidal Content form I began to contact the people who had commented on her photos. It looked like she could be from the East Coast. It was after 10:30 Arizona time. That would make it after 1:30 in the morning on the East Coast. How many of these people would still be awake and on Facebook? I couldn’t tell where she was from as it was blocked on her profile, but many of her friends were either from New York or New Jersey. I messaged each and every one of them. I tried to call her and them from Facebook. Nada. I’m not friends with them either so that won’t work.
Then I clicked on her friends list. I could only see two of them. I clicked on relationships and one of the visible friends said she was a family memeber. I sent messages and again tried to call. Meanwhile, people in the group are frantically trying to get her to engage. It has been over an hour by now. There were well over 100 comments on her post.
My husband had come home from work late and said, “What are you doing? Come watch TV with me.” So I did. I took the computer with me and read some of the comments. I didn’t seem that anyone was having any luck with reaching her. It was weighing heavily on me. I grabbed her family members name and googled it. Nada. Then I went to white pages and typed it in…I didn’t even know where she lived. Bingo. New York. There she was. Maybe.
I excused myself to the other room and dialed the phone. She was not happy and was very direct….well…because she was a New Yorker of course! My New Yorker friends are very direct. It was late there. She did say she wasn’t sleeping. But who was I and what family member did I think might be in danger? How did I get her number? She didn’t seem to have the urgency of the situation. She said, “Let me call her on my cell, hold on.” I heard her leave a message. Then she said, I don’t know what else I can do, I will wait to hear back from her.”
I said, “Call the police and they will do a well check on her.”
I gave her name and number to the administrator of the Facebook group and asked her to call as well. She did call and apparently, the family member, said she thought, because of what I had communicated, her loved one was still posting in the group and that is why she wasn’t urgent. This was NOT the case!
An hour and a half later the family member called me back. She had been found and was taken to the hospital and was resting. She didn’t know much because of the Hippa Privacy Act. She just knew she was alive and getting care.
This morning I was at the gym and when I came out there was a message from the woman’s family member. She said she was resting comfortably and was still in ICU. I had saved her life. She was so grateful. I felt pretty good about that message.
Losing a child is a hard road. I don’t know this woman. I don’t know her family or her circumstances. I don’t even know how her daughter died. None of that matters.
I am her and she is me. I have been there. I have contemplated ending it all after my son died. In our culture the belief seems to be that people who contemplate suicide are crazy and should be on medication. They need help. This could be true that they need help, it does not make them crazy. Because of this thinking, oftentimes people don’t open up about their pain and share. This intensifies the problem.
I have had my ups and downs. For the most part, I think it is part of the struggle of losing a child. Coping. Finding new ways to cope. Getting to the next day. Each day. Breathing. In. And. Out. I am not ashamed of my contemplation. I know all of you have thoughts that you never act on and if it came down to it, never would. So, I see this for me as the same thing. However, with suicide you never know if someone simply needs attention. Needs a friend. A hug. Someone to listen. Someone to CARE. That seems to be another thing with humans. We don’t want anyone to know we need attention. So instead of simply stating, I could use some attention now, humans play games to get it.
As you go out in the world today. Instead of judging, being pissy, angry or opinionated, reach for your compassion. Consider what the other person could be going through. And then do something to really GIVE. Give with no hope of return. Basically, I am asking you to CARE. Care for someone elses well being even if you do not know them.
And finally, I will leave you with this: It’s all love. Phil used to say that. It’s all love.
Wow, Michelle, to be able to help others through your own pain is a gift! Please keep going, sharing, caring…you are making a difference and this story proves it. Phil helped you save this woman’s life! Hopefully she can do the same for someone else someday.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Cindy for reading. Love you!
Thank you Cindy. I hope it does just that. Help others.