We never talked about these things before. Not at home and certainly not at church. Those who had lost a loved one to suicide had to work through their grief and longing in silence, without much support or help from their community. In worst cases, thoughtless words of judgment were said, piercing the hearts of the grieving and causing inconceivable amounts of pain.
Someone told me recently how refreshing and freeing it is to be able to talk about our beloved ones, to remember how lovely they were, and to grieve their deaths openly without stigma.
Mental health concerns are now recognized as something we do not need to be ashamed off. Mental illness is just like any other illness or struggle we face. And the pain and longing of family and friends of a person who has committed suicide is real and heartbreaking.
David sings so very beautifully about his predecessor Saul, who had seen no other option but death to escape his pain and agony. David remembers Saul as a mighty leader and strong warrior. His grief is deep and genuine. His memory of Saul is filled with beauty and respect. He sees Saul as a beloved child of God, forgiven and redeemed.
God of grace, embrace all who live with grief and longing. Fill their hearts with good memories and lovely images of their beloved. Amen. — ES