Hope after Suicide Posted May 18, 2015 by ElliesWay

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imagesPhilip Hagan Wickett
September 6, 1983 – March 1, 2007

Hope After Suicide

by Nancy Wickett

The phone rang. It was 7:34 am. I grabbed it before it rang the second time. (Had I been asleep, I wondered?) It was my husband, Don.
“Is Philip in his room?” he asked.
“Yes.”
“Is the van home?”
“Yes, why?” My heart started beating faster.
Don blurted out… “I just got this email he sent to all of us and it says, ‘Goodbye Forever…’”

My heart sank. I dropped the phone. I quickly went to the hall–Philip’s bedroom door was OPEN! He was gone. I told Don to come home and get me.

I’m not sure how I got through the next 8 to 10 minutes waiting on my husband. I prayed. Philip lived alone in an apartment, but he had stayed the night with us. And we spent a lot of time talking and listening to him. He had been depressed. I assured him that things would get better.

We arrived to Apartment E, and his door was locked. We banged on his door and no answer. I told Philip we wouldn’t be angry at him–“PLEASE open the door…”

Don went to get the manager to open the door. Philip was lying face down on his living room floor. He had used a gun to kill himself. I will never forget that horrible sight. It is embedded in my mind forever. My precious baby boy was was dead. Philip was 23. It was Thursday, March 1, 2007.

I was in shock! How could I go on living without Philip in my life? I saw him almost every day. He was my youngest child. I knew he was ill. He had been seeing a psychiatrist for two years and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He also talked about suicide but always promised he would never kill himself. I prayed for Philip — without ceasing it seemed — to be healed.

Philip started showing signs of depression when he was 20. He had moved out of our house and into his own apartment about one mile away. We thought he might just be lonely in his apartment. He still came home every day. He also complained about back pain and leg pain. Sometimes he walked with a noticeable limp. He said the medication helped at times and other times it didn’t.

He began talking about suicide. We were frantic. We met with the psychiatrist who told us Philip was too bright and his IQ was too high; assuring us that Philip wouldn’t kill himself. I didn’t buy that. I begged Philip to see another psychiatrist, but he liked this doctor and wouldn’t change. I listened to Philip tell me he hated his life and how he wanted to die. I prayed with him and for him. I promised him that those feelings would pass. Things would get better. He would have days that were a little bit better every once in awhile – that was such a relief to see! But then, the blackness of depression would drape over his whole body again. And I would see my son drown. I couldn’t save him. My love wasn’t enough.

The perfect storm was brewing. A relationship with a girlfriend ended. Philip had a well-paying job at a computer company, but he was unhappy there. He just quit showing up for work. After attempts to get him to come back, the company fired him. Philip was involved in a car accident. He called me to pick him up because his car would no longer run. We assured him that night that he could drive another vehicle and that everything would work out in time. Apparently we didn’t convince him.

I worried about Philip, and he knew I did. I shared my faith with him often. He knew I prayed for him. I actually told Philip I could never live without him. He promised me that I wouldn’t have to.

I am hesitant to say I lost Philip, because I didn’t really “lose” him. I know where he is — Philip is healed now in Heaven. He is no longer in pain and has no more tears. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Philip2

After he killed himself, I never thought I could go on. I barely did. I was in shock, and that protected me for a long while. I was a walking zombie for over a year. Even after that first year, I couldn’t stop sobbing. All I could think about was Philip, and how desperately I missed him! It was the worst pain imaginable. The days were long and lonely – the nights were the same. I either slept all the time, or could not sleep for many days. I gained 50 pounds. I was agitated and mean-spirited towards my family. I hurt them. It was a miserable time.

As a suicide griever, I would face the stigma of suicide often. The pastor had told us that God was waiting for Philip with open arms. I held onto what he said. I found out that many church-goers were raised to believe that anyone who dies by suicide goes to hell. I reminded them that this is not based on any Bible scripture. Suicide is not an unpardonable sin. Healthy people do not want to die. People who complete suicide are ill.

I questioned what I could have done differently and I blamed myself. Even though Philip had left us a long handwritten letter full of love and many caring thoughts, I was still left with the question, “why?” Suicide grief includes a lot of guilt and shame along with the pain and suffering.

Someone asked me if I had forgiven Philip. “Why?” I asked. “He was ill” …would I need to forgive him if he had died from cancer? I thought. I gave the question more consideration. No mother should ever have to bury her child…ever… No parent should have to. Philip was ill, yes. I still had to forgive him for the pain he had put me through. But even more, I needed Philip to forgive ME for failing him as a Mom. I was supposed to protect him from all things bad and evil. I was supposed to keep him safe. I could not fix his problems and make things all better for him. I needed God to forgive me too. I did so many things wrong. So pleading for Philip’s forgiveness and for God to forgive me was overwhelming. It was very easy to forgive my son Philip for completing suicide. He didn’t kill himself to cause me pain. He did it to end his. I forgive him. I also had to forgive myself.

The legacy Philip left was one of love. Philip won’t be defined by the way he died, but in the manner of how he lived. He was high-spirited and loved others in a big way. Sometimes he hugged me full force and tried to lift me up as he squeezed, or sometimes he would just gently kiss me on the forehead when he said goodbye. Everyone knew Philip for his sense of humor and the way he could make you laugh. He was generous. He would help just about anyone in need. He was so compassionate and kind. He was a computer wiz and an amazing singer. He was loyal to his family and stayed in close contact. He was 6′-4″ tall, and I looked up to my son in so many ways. I am very proud of him.

Since Philip’s suicide, I have been active in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Out of the Darkness Walks” with my husband Don, raising $1,580 to date for TEAM PHILIP HAGAN WICKETT. (www.afsp.org)

I have also found that people do not like to discuss suicide even though it is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 15-29. It happens every 40 seconds around the world. I try to offer other grieving moms encouragement, hope, understanding, and empathy on Facebook support groups called Mothers of Suicide and Mothers Against Suicide.

I finally feel like I can reach out to others and offer hope. I am becoming more involved with a suicide prevention program, HeartlLine of Oklahoma. (www.heartlineoklahoma.org)

Also, I have begun to share my life as a volunteer tutor. I have helped two elementary girls with reading skills in the last three years at Whiz Kids. (www.whizkidsok.org)

Things are easier. The pain is less raw; it has softened. My mind is not consumed with thoughts of Philip like it once was. I miss Philip and think of him often every day. I think about all the things Philip is missing and that makes me sad. I always assumed that his bipolar disorder was temporary. But I will never know for sure. I only know that I hated to see him suffer with such despair and anguish. He is now at peace with God.

We have a picture above our mantle I bought several years before Philip died. You see Jesus’ face embracing someone in a hug. Underneath that the caption reads “Come to Me!” With the Bible verse “[I will] bind up all the brokenhearted… [and] comfort all who mourn…” Isaiah 61: 1-2

No one will EVER replace Philip in my life. He is my son. I know the true meaning of being brokenhearted. Suicide grief over a child is horrible…and seems unbearable. Only God makes it bearable.

I could not have survived without God’s comfort He provided me. I never thought I would smile or laugh again. I’ve been blessed to have family stick by my side and love me when I wasn’t very lovable. I am so thankful for that. I have a grateful heart. I survived the horrible suicide of my son and this grief journey. My surviving child James and his wife have blessed me with two amazing little granddaughters. They bring me much JOY! It’s awesome to be their Nana! I never thought I would feel joy again. I do!

I will never “get over” Philip’s suicide. I am not the same person. I would rather go the rest of my life missing Philip than never having him in my life at all. It is such a blessing to be his Mom. I will miss him forever.

If you, or anyone you know, feels hopeless or depressed or just needs to talk to someone…PLEASE CALL the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


Contact us if you would like to share your story!


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40 Comments on "Hope after Suicide"

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Bill Marshall
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Bill Marshall
2 years 1 month ago
When the ‘life-support-system’ (our bodies) for the soul is damaged beyond repair, through mishap or disease, the soul (like a deep sea diver) has to swim to the surface (heaven) because it can no longer function in a physical world. Heaven is the ‘real world’. This world was created by God so it is artificial and we look at it backwards when someone returns ‘home’. God Bless! A beautiful Irish lady asked me on a poetry site to write a poem for her close friend whose adult son took his own life. A Note From ……. I could not convey… Read more »
Beckie
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Beckie
1 year 6 months ago

Incredible…your perspective is not only insightful, but extremely beneficial. Thank you and God bless for sharing.

Susan Napier Bauman
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Susan Napier Bauman
1 year 3 days ago

Beautiful poem.

Sharon H.
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Sharon H.
2 years 1 month ago
What a beautiful story so full of love and pain. I too, lost my only son, my baby, from depression at the age of 29 by suicide. My husband and I found our boy in his room, hanging by his own belt. I too, will never get that memory etched from my mind. Our boys were similar in that my son was a gentle giant teddy bear who made everyone laugh and always wanted everybody to be happy. He just could not find any happiness for himself. My son died on March 8, 2012. He was only 29 years old… Read more »
Beckie
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Beckie
1 year 6 months ago

March 8, 2012 is the exact day I, too, lost my 28 yo son the same way only he was in the backyard, it was outdoor extension cord…you are in my prayers

Holly
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Holly
7 months 11 days ago

My dad died by suicide in the month of March also. March 20th. That month is one I wish I could erase off the calendar.

Ang C.
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Ang C.
2 years 26 days ago

My wonderful and intelligent nephew committed suicide last week. We are attending his service tomorrow. I want to help my sister get through this but I don’t know how. I love what the lady said about her son not committing suicide to cause her pain, but to escape from his. When my sister is ready, I will be sending her to this site.

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth
1 year 11 months ago

I lost my son too….he commited suicide almost 4 years ago, it is, it has been and it will be the most painful experience I had to endure in my life…he was 26 and I miss him a lot……his name was Nelson and the only thing that makes my life more easy it is the comfort to know that he is with God and finally he is happy!

Mark V. Peterson
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Mark V. Peterson
2 years 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story and pain. I lost a granddaughter at the tender age of 15, no outward sign, no talk of desire to commit suicide. Our family has started a nonprofit titled “Stomp Out Suicide” to raise awareness of mental illness and create an openness for all to speak up when they hurt. No, we do not heal, we learn to live in a new reality. Some days it is the hardest thing to do. God bless. Mark Peterson

Alison
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Alison
1 year 11 months ago
My boyfriend’s daughter committed suicide. She was 19 who was kind, and loved cats. She took her life on Aug 16, 2015. We were in shock. We take one day at a time and have God guide us through the healing process. We have reached out to others who have loss a love one through suicide we are not alone. We have decided to raise money for the Suicide Prevention and help others who are suffering and struggling in everyday life. We have a long journey ahead of us but our faith is strong and God will help us through… Read more »
mae
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mae
2 years 3 days ago
Thank you for sharing your story. My son committed suicide at age 27. He had the best smile that just made you melt. He was funny and kind and loving. He was a hard worker a sweet son and an amazing father. He had struggled with depression on and off for years. He became addicted to pain meds. I tried to help him. We tried to get help through the mental health system that sadly failed miserably as he had no insurance through his work. I prayed and prayed for peace for my son. Sadly satam took over my son… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
2 years 3 months ago

I lost my boyfriend through suicide I found him on our sofa in or sitting room 28th October 013 I can not come to terms with it I want to join him ur story is heartbreaking I know how u feel love Colm xx

debbie
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debbie
1 year 11 months ago

I too lost my beautiful daughter on may 1, 2014. She was only 24 years old. She too shot herself in her grandparents bedroom. I miss her so much. The heart ache I have is like no other.

Deanna
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Deanna
1 year 11 months ago
Thanks for sharing your story, I lost my Only Son, 20 years old on 09/17/14 to Suicide. That is the day that changed my life, who I am for the rest of my Life, I’ve never been angry with my Son or God, but I am angry with how Society puts emotional or mental sickness into a category of Shame, it’s not. I never had warning signs with my son, when I woke up that morning to find him, it put me into a swirl of emotions and guilt, I pray ever day for comfort and that our higher power… Read more »
Reba
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Reba
1 year 10 months ago

I had on child my son who was 22 years old, we lost our children on the exact same day.
“PRAYERS”!

Kim
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Kim
1 year 11 months ago

I just lost my only baby on Easter (May 5th) this year from suicide. He was 28. I recently started talking to God again, and I’ve been telling him I needed to know my baby went to Heaven. I struggle with it daily. Your story helped me some. It gives me hope that Justin is in Heaven and no longer depressed and hurting. I haven’t been able to talk with anyone about my feeling yet, one day maybe. I just know I miss him with every fiber of my being.

Áine Fuller
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Áine Fuller
1 year 4 months ago

I am so sorry your son ended his life. May you know peace in the acceptance of his decision to do this. May you know deep deep comfort from God.

Debi E.
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Debi E.
2 years 4 days ago
I lost my first born son to suicide. It was ten years in June. He had turned thirty that February 2005. I know how you feel. My heart aches for you as my heart aches everyday for me. I’m glad this site was started. .I’ve tried to reach out to those who have gone thru this . It helps to share with someone who knows our pain. I pray my son is with God and is no longer in pain, is happy and knows how much I love and miss him. Thank you for sharing. I know no one Will… Read more »
Wanda
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Wanda
1 year 11 months ago
My son was so lost in the darkness, he tried so hard to see the light,however the darkness kept pulling him to the dark side. I do pray he is no longer in the dark as he passes over. June 2, 2013 was a very cold and dark day for him, i truly hope he saw light. the devastation of losing my son to suicide has changed my life forever, you never get over it, you never get through it you just learn to live with it. His memories still sneak up on me and i will break out in… Read more »
Áine Fuller
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Áine Fuller
1 year 4 months ago

May God who knows your every heart pain & tear bring comfort to you Wanda. I am so very sorry for your loss of your dear boy. I don’t have children & can’t imagine your pain..but I know God can understand.

Liz
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Liz
1 year 11 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story. My older brother, 29, died of a self-inflicted gun shot. It was 24 years ago. I am comforted to be able to see him in heaven. Such pain only God can heal

Gary B
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Gary B
1 year 11 months ago
I have tried to commit suicide so many times starting in high school. I battled depression for years then I got PTSD from being shot in the face by 2 car jackers that continued to beat me and leave me for dead. I’m currently on good medication and a lot of it but it works. When I think about all I put my parents thru it’s very upsetting you see I lost my dad in 2011 and my mom 7 months ago suddenly. They were my whole world and now I’m left here without them. I have thought about suicide… Read more »
Manoj B.
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Manoj B.
1 year 11 months ago

May be somebody is waiting for you to turn up at their door steps so that they themselves can pull away that gun pointed at their temple ready to shoot. Just think………to give love is better than to ask for it. I am ready to love you unconditionally for however long it might take for you to recover. I can sense your pain.

Nancy Hagan Wickett
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Nancy Hagan Wickett
1 year 4 months ago

Gary, I am sorry for the recent loss of your mom. I hope you will continue with your medication and it is helpful. You are important. You matter. No one can replace you. God will sustain you.

Adriana
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Adriana
1 year 11 months ago
I lost my sweet ten year old baby boy Justus t9 suicide March 15, 2015. He hung himself with a tie from his bunk bed after we sent his friend hom so he could help around the house. The pain is excruciating. How could we ever guess our sweet little guy would take his life? I am in darkness, Jesus walks with me and His is the only light I see. I struggle with wanting to live on in this pain but I do because it’s the right thing for my family and God calls me to stay. But oh… Read more »
Clara
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Clara
1 year 9 months ago
I just visited this site and I am glad to find people who are suffering the pain of losing a child and know how it completely devastate an entire family everyday and night. MY only son Timothy[timbo] died by suicide 10-29-2014 , he shot himself in the chest and we found him sitting in his car at our church parking lot. Timothy, was 27 years old and he had suffered about 6 years from a mental illness call SCHIZOPHRENIA. I watch my, smart. intelligent, kind, shy and lovable son spiral down mentally.This disease destroyed his thinking and ability to continue… Read more »
Julie
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Julie
1 year 7 months ago
As I read these stories I cannot believe the similarities to our story. We lost our son July 26, 2009. He was 23. He was wonderful, kind, sweet, very funny, compassionate, charming, handsome, a great dancer, and had many, many friends, he is the youngest of our three. Although he walked a couple miles from home to shoot himself, my visions of him are the sadness in his eyes the last year of his life. I knew he was struggling but I did not think he would take his life. You all know how much we grieve losing him. The… Read more »
DAVE
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DAVE
1 year 6 months ago

My family lost our oldest grand son age 24. We thought we did everything to help him, but it wasn’t enough. Then we blame ourselves for not preventing the death . We will always love him and never forget but there will remain a hole in our hearts.

Denise
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Denise
1 year 5 months ago

I lost my fiance to suicide, he was 22 and had a very promising future. He is the love of my life. He shot himself in front of me after an argument, his whole family blames me and they didn’t allow me to attend the funeral. He did this on 2/14/16, I just found out I am pregnant. Sometimes the pain is too much.

Susan Napier Bauman
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Susan Napier Bauman
1 year 3 days ago
Thank you so, so much for this. I lost my 29 year old son on 12/14/15 when he also took his own life using a gun. My beautiful Justin, he had also struggled with depression since high school but since he was now an “adult” he did not want to be dependent on medication. We found a partially used bottle in his truck, he had been taking them as needed. I am feeling just like that zombie, or constantly crying, just as you described and I haven’t even made it a year yet. His birthday would have been 11/11/16 which… Read more »
elizabeth
Guest
1 year 11 months ago

i have loss my older brother to suicide. its been 7 years and I am still mad at him…suicide don’t stop the pain it just gives it to someone else .maybe one day I will forgive him but for now im still very angry he left a grieving family behind and four children .may god rest his soul

Renee E.
Guest
Renee E.
1 year 11 months ago
I also lost a brother to suicide-I had just turned 15 on sept 3 76 n he ended his life at 130 am on the 4th-he would have turned 28 on the 7th==today marks 39 years and I still have never ever gotten over it–yrs of therapy n still I struggle each yr at this time–I hate my birthday and the entire week that follows…..it will never change until the day I die…….he also left a wife with 4 children-all under age 7. on the 4th this yr I actually had contact with one of his youngest sons-they were twins=haven’t… Read more »
Christine
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Christine
1 year 11 months ago
Thank you for a beautiful article, that I can relate to, in so many ways. My oldest son, died by suicide, May 2014, just shy of his 34th birthday. I will always love him, be proud of him and every day is another day closer to being with him. I, too am involved with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Out of the Darkness walks. This is now my cause. My family and I honor Kenny and raise funds to help end the stigma and help save lives. Kenny’s Walking Warriors is a way that our family and friends can… Read more »
Ruby R.
Guest
1 year 11 months ago
First of all,I want to say Im sorry for all of you who haved lost loved ones! I to lost my son Brian Eiffert on Aug.21st,2012. they claim it was an accidental overdose! He had a lot of mental health issues as well! He was 32 years old! I miss him so much! I only wish I could of had more time to spend with him! He always had a Beautiful smile no matter what he was going through and never complained much at all! I conclude that the hurt was just too much for him,and he couldn’t take it… Read more »
Debbie
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Debbie
11 months 16 days ago
My story is soml similar. My 23 year old son battled depression for 6 years but always promised he would never do that. He had a successful career and owned his own home. Jon was so very loving, and was known for his smile and willingness to do anything for anybody. On June 9th of this year he got tired of fighting. We all prayed for him for years and I will admit to being angry at God for not saving him. I never blamed Jon because he was sick. Now I have to learn to live without my precious… Read more »
Ellen
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Ellen
7 months 12 days ago

First …I am so sorry for the loss of your son..Philip
You covered the exact journey that I have travelled with my youngest sister..Carole
Suicide is no a taboo subject..slowly it is open to conversation and I am so happy in my heart that you have found peace and warm memories to play in your mind of Philip. God is such. An integral part of life and I personally found once. I gave over my suffering I could see the possibility of sun again. Thank you for sharing ❤️

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
2 years 3 months ago

I’m sorry about your boyfriend’s suicide. Please reach out for help for yourself. Call 1-800-273-8255 and someone there will listen to you. A good therapist could help you deal with your grief. Remember, it takes a lot of time to heal. You can survive this…even though it may feel like you cannot. xx

Nick
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Nick
1 year 4 months ago
My heart goes out to all of you who lost someone to suicide. Below is a direct quote from Jesus. ” Loss is not loss when properly perceived, pain is impossible, there is no grief with any cause at all, and suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. This is the truth. At first to be said and repeated many times, then accepted as partly true with many reservations, then considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth. This is the truth which you want and will accept and must accept, if you want to… Read more »
Nancy Hagan Wickett
Guest
Nancy Hagan Wickett
1 year 4 months ago

Nick, what Bible verse are referring to here? There is no grief? And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream? Where did Jesus speak those words and what was He talking about…Heaven? Because on earth I watched my son, Philip suffer. It was a nightmare. And his suicide has caused horrific grief!
Your words were not helpful…

NICK
Guest
NICK
1 year 18 days ago
Hi Nancy, Thanks for your reply. The Jesus quote is not from the bible, it is from a divine dictation in a book that took seven years to write.The dictation came to a clinical psychologist, named Helen Schuman of Colombia University in New York city. The story goes that her and her boss could not get along, so they decided to make a commitment to find a way to get along. A few days later, Helen heard a voice in her mind, that said ” this is A Course in Miracles, please take notes” Needless to say that Helen got… Read more »
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