Bringing awareness to the darkness of suicide

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Our son-in-law is collecting donations for the Out of the Darkness Twin Cities Walk next month. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Itís a month more known in our slice of geography for the switch from summer to fall. And the dreaded or anticipated ó depending on your outlook ó start of school.

Suicide is in the news ahead of September with the recent death of Jeffrey Epstein in a New York City jail cell. His past caught up with his future. His multi-millions and life of luxury proved hollow saviors.

For the attention given his story, there are thousands of stories that go unnoticed except by a few. Maybe a simple posting in the obituaries that someone died unexpectedly. Itís not something a family seeks to be known for. And so it gets hushed. Or at least it used to.

I am one person, and I know several among friends and relatives who have taken, or attempted to take, their own lives. Itís not always a clinical diagnosis. Itís sadness. And loneliness. And pain. And addiction. Itís seeing a blurred or barren landscape devoid of hope. Sometimes itís even remorse.

Thatís what happened with a man named Judas whose name has become synonymous with betrayal. He never thought Jesus, whom he knew to be innocent, would be sentenced to death. He threw away his 30 pieces of silver ó the betrayal price ó and went out and hanged himself.

I donít know whether Judas had the same lack of mourners as Jeffrey Epstein. What they did have alike is they betrayed themselves as well as others. They abused their power of choice ó which led them both to a dark decision neither expected to make.

And there is the truth in suicide. No one in the beginning expects to do it. No one expects to have it become part of their family story. The obituary gets it right. Someone died ďunexpectedly.Ē Therefore someone mourns unexpectedly.

Suicide awareness and prevention is an attempt to search out ó and block ó the unexpected. Which might seem like chasing the wind. But even the wind can change direction.

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