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My Turn: There is hope
Reporter, pastor reflects in wake of VVC tragedy
Life is precious.
As a reporter and pastor, I've spoken to and cried with at least 500 people who have been affected by suicide over the past 20 years, and the common denominator with most people who attempt to end their life seems to be a lack of vision and hope.
Over the years, I’ve spoken with young and old who have pondered the idea of ending their life. Some have been teachers, politicians, counselors, business owners, actors and pastors.
Some 8.3 million adults in the U.S. consider suicide without any attempt, according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health — but the numbers could be much higher.
Many times, people with suicidal tendencies do not reveal their feelings or ask for help because of the shame that comes with it, or the feeling that no one will understand them.
After marrying my wonderful wife, walking my daughter down the aisle and watching my little boy grow up to be a man, I thank Jesus Christ that my own mental journey down the path to destruction was unfruitful.
During that dark period of my life more than 30 years ago, the cry in my heart matched the same pain many people have shared with me over the years: I just want the pain to go away.
After losing her husband and struggling through a difficult relationship, Mary Cooper, 49, chose to end it all a few years ago.
“I bottled everything up to the point that it turned rotten inside of me and became very distorted. That is perhaps the case in all suicides,” Cooper said. “I should have known to reach out sooner.”
“I used to be one of those people on the sidelines that would mock others who tried to kill themselves,” said Lawrence P urdue, a financial adviser from Victorville. “When my wife left me and I lost my job, I became the very person I used to judge.”
Kelli Woelz, who lost three co -workers to suicide and had fleeting thoughts of suicide herself, realized she would be stronger once she emerged from the other side of the pain.
“None of us is here on this planet alone,” Woelz said. “The world would be an even better place if we could just remember that nothing is ever that bad that we must take our own life.”
After seeing all the people, experiences and things I’ve been blessed with over the years that might never have been, I know hope is just around the corner for those who wait.
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.
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