I heard about it on my local news.
The news anchor reported the idea was to light a candle in your front window at 8pm in memory of your loved one lost by suicide and to support those left behind.
I remember that chilly September evening quite clearly. I also remember the emotions involved as I thought through going along with the idea. I remember the questions I asked myself.
Could I publicly place a candle in my front window that let each passersby know I was touched by suicide? Was I embarrassed? Would neighbors ask why I had a candle lit? Could I share my story? Would I be the only one on my street? Did I care? How big of a candle would I light? A tea light? A tall pillar candle?
As these questions ran through my mind, I knew my answers pretty quickly.
Yes, I absolutely would light a candle and the bigger the better! I didn’t care who saw it. Yes, I wanted them to ask how I was touched and I would share my story.
I found the largest candle I owned and placed it in my front window at the exact time…8 pm. I stepped out of my front door into the chilly evening and my eyes surveyed the street. No one else had a lit candle in their window.
It was then when I asked myself, Why all the emotion? Why a tinge of embarrassment that my family had been so devastated by the loss of our loved one?
It was then I realized that there is a stigma attached to the act of suicide and it had to stop with me. I began to challenge my thinking and those around me. I began to get the word out on social media to please stop determining what we learned through our parents, our culture, our religion etc. as being the correct way to think about suicide. I posted many thoughtful blogs that encouraged us to think and embrace a new mindset.
I now encourage you! Study the statistics, learn what knowledge is presented to all of us on this topic, talk to someone that personally struggles with suicidal thoughts or has attempted suicide. You will learn much more than you can ever imagine. You will be touched. You will also know you aren’t alone.
Maybe you will light a candle in your front window this September 10, 2016 at 8 p.m.