My hands trembled as I read the letter from a friend I hadn't seen for several years: "With great sorrow I'm informing you of my wife's death. After an extended battle with severe depression, she took her life."
Unfortunately this wasn't the first time I've received such news. And it wasn't the last. The frequency of self-inflicted deaths alarms me. In the United States alone, a person commits suicide every 17 minutes, making suicide the eleventh leading cause of death.
Despite the sting of deliberate death, there's hope and healing for those left behind. Just ask Adina Brown, Carol Bissel, and Mika Valman, three women who lost loved ones to suicide, but who have seen God's healing and hope in the process.
TWO ENDINGS ... AND BEGINNINGS
Adina Brown's parents were Bible translators in Asia. Her mother, Barbara, struggled with mental illness for eight years and returned to the States several times for treatment. She underwent counseling in addition to taking antidepressants. In 1991, she was hospitalized for three weeks.
The family celebrated Thanksgiving weekend together later that fall. That's when Barbara raised the subject of suicide with Adina. "I'd never do such a thing," she reassured her daughter. Several days later, she broke her promise.
Shock and sadness overwhelmed Adina. She spent hours sitting beside her mother's casket in the funeral home, trying to make sense of the tragedy.