So it’s been about a week since I heard the news that a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend committed suicide. Now, it’s obvious that I did not know this woman personally. But, as women, and even more so as moms, there is a connection that is almost immediate with us, albeit in spirit. Moms understand each other. Moms struggle with the same things.
I can only imagine the struggle this woman must have been going through to be able to take her own life and leave behind her 4 beautiful children. After hearing of her death, I had a conversation with a colleague– a woman close in age to the one that we lost – early 40s. She told me that this is the 4th or 5th woman in her circle that has committed suicide in the last few years. REALLY?! So, what is it? What happens to our minds and our bodies at that age that leads us to such drastic sadness and isolation? What can we do to prevent this from happening to other women?
It got me thinking… for days on end I have been thinking about it. And I can’t stop. I can’t turn my mind off from thinking about this, and I don’t even know her.
Therein lies the answer. It’s our minds. Our busy, bogged down, detailed, overworked minds. It’s the dinners, the school lunches, the appointments, the laundry, the cleaning, the baking, the home work, the volunteering, the grocery lists, the school snacks, the practices, the games, the parties, the costumes, the dishwasher, the pets, the bills, the uniforms, the holidays, the gym… the list goes on and on, and on top of that we worry about being kind, caring, compassionate, and wise mothers, loving and respectful wives, understanding friends, and grateful daughters.
We have very little time to take care of ourselves, and when we do, we feel guilty not using the “free” time to tackle one of the endless tasks on the to-do list. It’s overwhelming. It’s a lot. And it’s expected that we handle it; that we handle it with grace and a smile on our face.
Well, let me be free enough to say sometimes it sucks. It sucks bad. And I am blessed enough to have a husband that not only provides for the family financially, but he’s also a very present father and husband. I can’t imagine the burden that single mothers carry. Or mothers with husbands that can’t or won’t help with the kids, or the laundry, or the bills, or the constant running from one kid’s event to the next.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best – the best mom, the best wife, the best looking, the best boss, the best employee, the best friend. My friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend had enough. She knew the Lord, and I can only speculate that she is with Him now. I don’t know what led her to her breaking point. I don’t know what challenges she faced on a daily basis. But perhaps through the darkness, her story will shine some light on women’s mental health issues. Raise awareness. Get us thinking about saying no to every obligation that crosses our calendar, to freeing our minds, and in-turn freeing our spirits.
My deepest sympathies go out to her family and loved ones. You have been in my thoughts and prayers immensely over the past week and will continue to be over the coming weeks and months.