Preventing suicide: a sister’s emotional plea

This heart-felt letter was written by a sister who lost her brother too soon.

In 2011, my younger brother chose to end his life. He was so very smart, handsome, and kind-hearted. He was a talented potter. He appreciated beauty in the simplest things. He gave kindness to everyone and expected it in return. He had a wicked sense of humor. And he was tormented by a barely diagnosed and untreated mental disorder.

Since that day, my family has been on a roller coaster of emotions: guilt, anger, shame, fear, loneliness, despair and overwhelming sadness.  We would have done anything to get him the help he so desperately needed, but he didn’t want it. So, this letter is a plea to anyone who has ever considered suicide; it’s a desperate plea not to do it.  There is someone out there who loves you, who needs you, and who wants to help you.  It may be someone in your family, it may be one of your friends, it may a doctor or a therapist or a teacher or a religious official, but someone wants to help you.

There are so many things we’ve learned over the last eight months. I learned what it’s like to be unable to sleep because of the terrible thoughts in your head. I’ve learned what it means to watch your parents cry wretchedly and not be able to comfort them. I’ve learned how to deal with grief in a way that allows it to be focused and not “shoot out” all over the place. I’ve learned that people move on and forget about you and your family; they say and do rude things without even thinking about it. I’ve learned that you should pay attention when the person with suicidal ideas stops talking because that’s when they are going to take action. I’ve learned that hindsight really is perfect vision.

Perhaps the most shocking of those things I’ve learned came in a conversation with my therapist. I was horrified to learn that people who are suicidal think that everyone they know will be better off if they are gone. This is so wrong. We are not better off because my brother is gone. The world is not better off because he is gone. Just like no one would be better off if you were gone. Your family, friends, co-workers, pets, and anyone who know you will not be better off because you are gone.

Whatever your personal situation is may seem overwhelming and insurmountable right now. It may seem like suicide is the only way out. It’s not the only way out; it’s the wrong way out. You will be missed very much. Someone will cry for you; someone will feel a sense of suffocating guilt that they couldn’t help you and that you are gone while they are still here; someone will be angry with you; someone will be lonely because you are gone.

Suicide is not the answer—don’t do it. While it may be hard to do and the thought may be overwhelming, I urge you to get help. Please learn from my family’s experience and know that you are wanted and loved and you will be missed.


A loving, concerned sister

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans. The World Health Organization estimates that about one million people around the world die by suicide every year, and CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) 2007 data indicates more than 34,000 suicides occurred in the U.S. This is the equivalent of 94 suicides per day; one suicide every 15 minutes.

Visit these web sites for more information:

For more information about treatment for individuals experiencing anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide visit the web site for Aurora Psychiatric Hospital

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options, provided by highly trained professionals in a caring, confidential manner to meet individual and family needs.  If you or someone you know needs help, contact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.


4 thoughts on “Preventing suicide: a sister’s emotional plea

  1. Thank you for this letter. Just recently, actually on September 10th, my sisters boyfriend and father to a 2 year old little girl thought that they would be better off without him and took his life. Our family is going through a lot of pain and this is sobering how many other families have to deal with this issue as well.

    • Hi Katie, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure it is indeed a very painful time for your family. Please know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help support families after a loss. Counseling may be helpful, as well as support groups. Here is a web site you may wish to check out. Thankyou for sharing your story.

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