In September of 1986 my life took an unexpected turn that started me spiraling downward until one night in 1989 that would change my life. That night I sat on my couch and looked at my wrists and thought “I wonder which would hurt worse, cutting my wrists or pain of emptiness in my heart.” You see, in the two and a half years before I had lost everything. All hope was gone. Here only a few highlights that drove me to consider suicide:
- September 1986 – I had left my home and my job in Dallas and moved to Daleville, Indiana, my husband’s hometown, in hopes of a better life. Within a week he abandoned me and my 13-month old twin daughters. Adding to my loss he also left us with no home or belongings. We stayed with his mother for a few months.
- November 1986 – I was in an auto accident and lost my car. I finally moved into a place, a rundown trailer. It took two months for the owner to put in a front door. The place was so roach infested you couldn’t walk around in the dark and I had to wash my clean dishes before using them. This infestation came through a “new” stove – a stove with only one working burner and no working oven. And for the eight months we lived there the toilet didn’t work. Night after night I cried over the hopelessness of my situation.
- January 1987 – my dad had a series of small strokes. He was in the hospital for weeks. I had no phone and my husband’s family wasn’t cooperative in contacting me about his illness.
- Valentine’s Day 1987 – he asked me for a divorce so he could marry Diane.
- June 1987 – We moved back in with his mom but would move again a couple of months later because his dad would get drunk and come on to me.
- October 10, 1987 – I’m now living in a small trailer with my ex-sister-in-law and her daughter. We have no phone and live more than mile from any pay phones. I had called my mom in August for her birthday and she seemed very angry when I told her about the divorce. In my soul I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t get her off my mind so I arranged for a babysitter and I was going to walk to the phone and call her Sunday morning, October 11th. Saturday evening my ex-mother-in-law came over and said “I’m so sorry”, she was crying. All I could think was my ex-husband was dead and I would have to pretend to feel bad. Then those fateful words came, “your mother died this morning.” That horrible phone call in August was the last conversation I had with my mom.
- October 12, 1987 – I was able to fly home to Massachusetts for the funeral. My aunt’s, my dad’s sisters, jumped all over me for not having called my mom sooner – guilt I would live with for 15 years.
- March 1988 – My grandmother called and told me my dad had an aneurism and needed surgery which had only five percent chance of success. My nightly crying over my mom dried up as I prepared for an extended stay back in Massachusetts. The surgery was a success and we returned to Indiana in May.
- July 19, 1988 – I became an orphan. My father died and I was even more desperately alone. Both mom and dad gone in less than a year.
- September 1988 – I suffered a knee injury and was barely able to walk.
- October 1988 – still living in Indiana, away from everything and everyone I knew I became desperately in need of replenishing my family so I became pregnant – no husband – just wanted a baby.
- January 1, 1989 – a new year and a new start? No. The pregnancy was ectopic. After nearly three months of the worst pain I ever experienced l lost my son and any chance of restoring my family or replacing my parents.
- February 1989 – my knee had become so bad that I was unable to walk or care for my girls. I had lost so much and so little had been restored. I had nothing but responsibility and heartache. I couldn’t care for myself let alone my daughters.
I had lost everything – all I owned, my job, my financial security, my health, my husband, my mother, my father, and the baby I was so desperately putting my hope in. But that’s the problem. I was putting my hope in sinking sand when I needed to put in upon the rock – Jesus.
As I was contemplating suicide I walked to the back of the trailer to the bathroom. On my way I passed my girls room. I looked at those sleeping little beauties and thought, “they already have an absentee dad, what will happen to them if I die?”
It was 11:00pm but I was determined to find help, anything to get me through the night. I called a friend long distance (this was back when it cost a lot for long distance and I was destitute). We talked and prayed for four hours. This was the best $45.00 I’ve ever spent. That was a lot in 1989.
The next day I scheduled the needed knee surgery and began to spend every quiet moment with God. Suicide has never been an option since. That was 25 years ago and so much has happened. I’ve had a few deep lows but over all I’ve had a wonderfully blessed life. I can’t imagine what would have happened to my family, my daughters and all the people I’ve helped since had I decided to take my life that night. I would have need seen my girls grow into such beautiful young women, I would have never influenced so many students, I would have never gone on my Jubilee Journey and met my father’s family and I would have never been at the birth of my grandson, never known that beautiful little boy. All I lost has been restored to the full and overflowing (John 10:10). And don’t think too negatively about my ex-husband. All is forgiven and I can say we are friends. To this day I count his mom and sister as my dearest friends. And he never did marry Diane.
No matter what the circumstance there is ALWAYS hope in Jesus. Find a way to the ROCK and there you will find hope. If you’re still alive it’s because God isn’t done with you yet, there is still a purpose and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11)
“No matter how dead, no matter how impossible, no matter how hopeless – with Jesus nothing is too difficult, nothing is impossible and it’s NEVER too late”
~ ~ Jubilee Journey, Day 542
Next week: A Humble Attitude