How My Family Survived Suicide
September 25, 2012 By
A Journey of Love, Forgiveness and Acceptance -
How My Family Survived Suicide
Contributed by Carl David
This is about the emotional story of how my family survived suicide – the struggle to endure after my older brother at age 22 took his life. I was just 16 years old. The effects on my family and myself were devastating, beyond description. We had but two choices; to pull together or tear each other apart. We chose the former and used every bit of strength to rebuild our lives.
We had to start over with each sunrise because the after effects were so persistent; the pain so ever-present that at times it seemed insurmountable. We wondered if we would ever be able to move forward and regain some semblance of life, wondered how we would survive my brother’s suicide. The challenges were monumental, as every day was day one.
After a period of time, life does go on with us or without us – we had to forge on and live for ourselves and for my brother. He would have wanted that. We knew that whatever the cause that pushed him to that final edge of desperation; if he’d known the pain that his loss would cause, he never would have ended his life.
As a father, my perspective became ever more profound. While our children were growing up the haunts of the past were always there – our caution flags were always “on guard.” We never spoke of my brother’s death until our children were of sufficient age to understand and not be frightened – suicide is a very sensitive issue for the surviving family members. We knew that they needed know, almost as a safeguard, so that by understanding the degree of destruction such an act leaves on a family, they would never consider it.
- Kids have to be taught that no matter what, no matter how desperate they feel, they are loved, there is help for them, they are not alone and that suicide is never ever the answer. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life is a gift and every day we wake up is a blessing. No matter the difficulty, we get a redo. We have the luxury of choice in how we will spend our time and what we will do with it.
There are triggers that vault you backward in an instant. When we hear of someone who has taken their life, our scab is ripped off and we weep with an involuntary kinship. There is a common ground as we’ve been thrust into an unwanted membership to this God-awful club. We feel for them; we know their pain. We want to reach out to comfort them; to let them know that they are not alone, they will survive; we all do.
It is always present, that persistent bit of pain that lurks just beneath the surface, waiting to nudge you back to reality when it awakens with just the slightest influence. We must acknowledge it and never shut it out; we cannot deny who we are and all of the experiences that build upon our foundation. We take ourselves with us wherever we go; that library of records within which defines us and makes us individual.
- Suicide claims more than a million lives each year and leaves more than five million to mourn them. It knows no boundaries; not age, gender, color, race or nationality. Its victims are drawn by drugs, depression, disease, sexual confusion, bullying, peer pressures, feelings of desperation and immeasurable levels of inadequacy. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable. The only way to thwart this unforgiving act of violence is to confront it by raising levels of awareness so that it is spoken about rather than looking the other way, fueling the veil of shame and secrecy that keeps it thriving and killing innocent people. That is why I have come forward with my story.
- If you know someone who is on that final edge of hopelessness, reach out to him or her. Get them to talk to a family member, a friend, a rabbi, a priest, a doctor, a nurse, a bartender, even a stranger. There are so many avenues of help available, 911, contact organizations, suicide hotlines and the list goes on. Don’t hesitate, second-guess or wonder, just do it. Better to be a little over-zealous than wishing you would have acted sooner. You might just save a life. Remember, “Whoever saves a life saves the world entire….”
Although I am a well-respected art dealer, my real passion is reaching out to those on that edge of final desperation and extending to them a vision of hope; inspiring them to live, not die. At 63 years of age, having lived through and survived the horrific experience of my brother’s suicide, I am awakened to the real purpose in my life. I am on a mission to save lives…. even one. This is my way of paying it forward – by taking the darkest days of my life and helping those on that final edge of desperation to see that they are loved, that there is help for them and that they are not alone.
I need to let those who have walked a similar devastating path know that life does go on and that life is for the living, that we do survive. Our scars become an integral part of us as the experiences imprint our souls, but it is what we do with that information that makes us who we are in the end. I lived it and need to share my story first hand so that it will spare others from going through it.
Carl David – Bio
Born in Philadelphia, Carl David is the third descendant of a four-generation art dealer family specializing in American and European seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, watercolors, sculptures and drawings. Carl earned a Bachelor of Arts with a degree in business in 1970 from Oglethorpe College in Atlanta, Georgia.
He is the author of Collecting and Care of Fine Art published by Crown Publishers (1981). Carl’s article “Martha Walter” appeared in the May 1978 issue of American Art Review. Many art journals and financial magazines query Carl for his perspective on the state of the art markets in light of the fact that his gallery has been in business since 1910. It is considered to be a standard in the industry and is given the utmost of respect for its integrity, knowledge and pursuit of excellence.
For many years, Carl has had a serious interest in and has been a proponent of all aspects of healing. Of particular interest is “hands on” healing and energy work. Animals are of special love to Carl and are drawn to him as he is to them. He has worked on several over the years. It is as though an invisible thread connects him to them. He has woven spirituality and energy work into his daily life.
As a firm believer in “paying it forward,” Carl knows that karmic debts must be paid, and is very cognizant of keeping a clear conscious and doing the right thing. What goes around comes around, inevitably. Life has thrown him some nasty turns, but instead of being bitter and resentful, he has tried to learn from each experience and shift his focus toward something positive.
Carl’s latest book, “Bader Field; How My Family Survived Suicide” is now available at www.carledavid.com, www.nightengalepress.com ,authorsden.com,.amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and froogle. It is also available for immediate download on the iPod, iPhone and iPod in the Apple iBookstore, as well as on the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.