How do I tell my children that their father took his life? How will I find the words? These questions kept rolling through my mind over and over.. Praying again and again. But, first I had to find the children…
Our son had gone on a camping trip for the weekend with friends two hours away. Remarkably I was able to leave a voicemail that he was able to retrieve in the forest. His friends and he were able to pack up their belongings quickly and head back to home. He knew something was wrong, but he never imagined what he would hear or experience once I shared the heartbreaking news.
Our daughter was in Haiti on her first mission trip. Many people were contacted through various channels to reach her at the church camp. A strategy was determined by the camp director and me as to how she should be told. We decided that she would be surrounded by a few staff members that would lovingly and gently tell her the gut wrenching news. The three of us were eventually able to talk and cry together over the phone.
I had our son by my side, but how do I get my daughter home? I asked for the moon… Could someone find a plane to bring my daughter home to us? Amazingly the family that my husband worked for stepped up and provided two pilots and a plane that were stationed in Miami, Fla. They waited hours for clearance from the Haitian government to retrieve her and bring her back. After receiving clearance, flying through several storms and attempted landings at several airports, she arrived home to us late the following evening.
I share that story because as I held my children and cried with them, I felt that I was now responsible for their mental health along with my own. This became my new focus…
I found a website that addresses children and mental health issues which could be a helpful resource when experiencing traumatic events.
“Coping with a Parent’s Suicide.”
“Helping Children Cope with Grief.”
Helping Children cope after a traumatic event.”