By: Martianne Stanger
In the past six months, two young women I love as family, one gal who lived in the local community, one older gentleman connected to a loved one, and one world-famous celebrity who was beloved by many all took their own lives. Undoubtedly – and unfortunately – many others did, too.
I cannot stop asking myself this question: Why?
I will never know the personal moment of despair and confusion that propelled each of these precious people to give up on life. I will, however, always understand that each moment these folks chose to hold on was one more moment that many are thankful for. In fact, we all wish they’d held on longer. I, for one, pray daily that everyone I know – and all with whom I have not yet made acquaintance – do what, for some reason, these beloved lost souls could not do: Hold on!
Hold on for one more day. One more moment. One more breath.
Reach through darkness, trusting that there is life – life worth living.
Please, give life a chance to be beautiful again.
It can be. It is. I know.
Decades ago, on more than one occasion, I got perilously close to saying goodbye. I honestly believed that I had no reason left to live, that any impact I had to make in this world had already been made. Thus, more than once, I was a millisecond away from acting on the choice to let go.
Yet, each time, I did not. I held on.
Thank friends. Thank family. Thank strangers. Thank God.
My 40-something-year-old self could never have told my teen-self that there really was a reason to keep living and that I still had purpose in this world. Thankfully, something else did. As a teen, a miracle happened in the hallways of my high school, and further – albeit less dramatic – miracles happened right through my twenties.
In fact, each time despair brought me to the brink of letting go of life, somehow, I held on for one more moment, one more day, one more year, one more decade, and then longer until that kind of despair simply let go of me.
I am so thankful that it did. I know others who are thankful, as well. People who have always known me and those who I had not yet even met during periods of life when holding on was so difficult. People I had not even imagined would ever exist.
Praises be… those people do exist. And you exist, too. Obviously, you do since you are reading this.
As you read, please know that your existence has value. Your life impacts others. Your choice to hold on is vital… and oh so appreciated!
I truly wish that older selves of the girls that I loved, the gal in the local community, the older man who is no more, the big-time star who so tragically made his final headlines, and all other lost-too-soon folks could one day affirm, as I am now doing, that holding on does defeat despair and life is so very much worth continuing with. I wish each had been able to hold on long enough to offer a living message of hope.
That wish is not reality though. Reality is those folks, for whatever reasons, were unable to hold on any longer.
You are able to, though. As am I. As are so many others.
In honor of the memories of those lost, I ask you do just that.
Please, hold on not only to your own life, but to others around you. Hold on through mourning. Hold one another in remembrance. Hold folks in support, in encouragement, in understanding, in silence, in sharing, in joy – because joy still exists and it awaits in moments to come, if not in this very moment you are in.
Be confident. Light shines through darkness. Holding on defeats despair. Faith, hope and love can – and do –prevail.