The Almost-Suicide of My Daughter, prt. 4

Anna with Brittany and Kyra

Sister love

The plan was to send Anna to an in-patient treatment facility after she was discharged from the hospital. The hospital had plans to send Anna to a place that her mom was not comfortable with. I shared Christy’s opinion, but there’s only one mama bear. Thankfully she stood her ground and insisted on doing research and finding the best facility we could find. We chose White Pines in Saginaw.

Anna was discharged and wheeled on a stretcher out the door and directly into an ambulance. It was as dreary as a day could be, cold rain coming down like sharp nails. Fitting, it seemed. I climbed up in the ambulance with Anna, and Christy drove behind us and we made the hour-long trip to Saginaw.

First the search. Anna was taken into a room and searched for weapons, substances, and anything else that was other than Anna. Nothing found, of course. Then intake began. We answered question after question after question. 

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The Almost-Suicide of My Daughter, prt. 3

Anna with her sisters before a dance

Anna with her sisters before a dance

The open house on Saturday came off without a hitch. Other than Christy and I having to make up a reason that our youngest daughter was not at our oldest daughter’s open house, of course. We told everyone she was spending a few days being monitored at the hospital for a reaction she had to some medication. Close enough.

After the open house it was time to tell Brittany and Kyra. We had been dreading this moment, but at the same time, it felt wrong for them to have not known all along. We shared the news, and there was much weeping and fear. Finally our whole family set out for the hospital. For the first time family members other than me would see Anna like this. 

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The Almost-Suicide of My Daughter, prt. 2


Anna with friends Sarah and Marissa

When Anna woke up I quickly pulled myself together. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I was still scared and angry. I approached her bed and said, “You know that more than anything in the world right now I want to put on my counselor hat and figure out why and how you got to this place. But I know you don’t need me to be your counselor, you need me to be your daddy.”

She agreed. I said, “What do you need from your daddy right now, sweetie? How can I help you?”

“Just love me.” No problem. More of the same. I could do that, although I wondered whether, in spite of all of our love, she had ever felt loved at all. Later she would admit that she never really felt love from anybody — or at least she didn’t know how to identify it when she saw it.

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The Almost-Suicide of My Daughter, prt. 1

My daughter Anna

[This is the true story of the darkest few months of my life. I hope and believe others can learn from it. It revolves around my daughter Anna, and Anna has reviewed and given her consent for me to post each of the parts in this series. It is her desire for others to learn from her experience. She has blogged on this experience from her perspective this week as well.]

The morning of June 24, 2011 was like any other morning. For about the first ten minutes. I had gotten up and done my usual morning routine. My wife Christy had risen early and gone over to the church to begin decorating for my oldest daughter Brittany’s open house. Brittany and Kyra (my middle daughter) were over there with her. My youngest, Anna, had awakened and headed over there a bit later but wasn’t feeling well so her mother had sent her back to the house so I could deal with her.

Anna was groggy. Her eyes looked a little strange. I guessed perhaps she was having problems with her blood sugar. Kyra had come home to get something, so I had Kyra bring Anna a PB & J sandwich with milk. Anna was struggling to eat, even to stay conscious, but I insisted on both. I began to get worried and asked her if she had taken any medications the previous evening.

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Does Suicide Equal Hell?


Image courtesy of KomodorO // Paco LopeH, licensed under Creative Commons

Note: Written before my own daughter's suicide attempt in June of 2011

Someone recently asked my opinion on what happens to those who commit suicide.  Will they “go to hell?”

Before I give my take on this, I must start off by saying that no one but God has any business saying who goes to hell and who doesn’t.  It’s not the church’s job, or any pastor or religious teacher’s job, to declare that any specific behavior puts someone on the fast track to hell.  Show me a pastor or religious teacher (or institution) making declarations about who is going to hell, and I’ll show you a case of spiritual megalomania, since this assumes levels of knowledge no human being could possibly have.

Human beings (and most creatures) have a natural bent toward preservation of their lives.  Any exception one could find to this would be just that — an exception — thereby proving that the rule is generally true.  Certainly to commit suicide is to act against one of our most basic drives.  But everyone understands this implicitly.  The question is what is a proper attitude towards those who commit suicide, or attempt to?

I suggest that condemning these people to hell is not the proper attitude.  I think the traditional church idea that suicide equals a trip straight to hell proceeds from three places.  

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