From the Back Cover
Do real Christians commit suicide? Yes, they do. And for those left behind, the journey following such a tragedy is unbearably painful. This unique guidebook points the way through and beyond the lonely wilderness and addresses head-on the intensely personal issues of survivors of suicide (SOS). Questions of faith are examined honestly, with a focus on what God's Word has to say about suicide. The book explores the character of God, affirming his love, from which nothing can separate a believer. The book helps survivors know what to expect, especially during the first year following the suicide. It includes many personal stories of survivors, along with their suggestions on how to get beyond survival to life again. It is designed for use by individuals, couples and the growing number of SOS support groups nationwide. This gentle resource offers help for friends, siblings, and extended family, as well as practical guidelines and suggestions for pastors, Christians counselors, and other church leaders. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love Copyright 2005 by David B. Biebel and Suzanne L. Foster Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Biebel, David B. Finding your way after the suicide of someone you love / David B. Biebel, Suzanne L. Foster. p. cm. Summary: 'This resource provides encouraging and practical help and hope for those left behind after the suicide of a loved one'---Provided by publisher. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-10: 0-310-25757-3 (softcover) ISBN-13: 978-0-310-25757-8 1. Suicide. 2. Bereavement---Psychological aspects. 3. Suicide---Religious aspects---Christianity. 4. Suicide victims---Family relationships. I. Foster, Suzanne L. II. Title. HV6545.B477 2005 248.8'66---dc22 2005002065 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible. Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means---electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other---except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Beth Shagene Printed in the United States of America 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 /?DCI/ 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 What A Thousand Whys I look into the Father's eyes And wrestle with a thousand whys Why this? Why now? Why him, not I? The hurt, the rage, unbridled pain Erupting from my soul, again. If that's the way it's going to be Then build Your Kingdom without me. But then, again, where could I go To hear a word of hope, and know The promise that beyond the pain The ballad has a glad refrain? But what for now? And how can one Still vocalize 'Thy will be done'? And soon I hear a song begin, Celestial, but from deep within, A new yet ancient melody Of joy and pain, disharmony. Or do the strains combine somehow, A lovely paradox of sound? ---DAVID B. BIEBEL1 CHAPTER 1 Why? Why? Why? What do you mean, she's dead? The words echoed through the chasms of my quickly numbing mind, but I (Sue) couldn't make them come out of my mouth as I struggled to make sense of what the woman on the phone was saying. How can you know she's dead when you aren't even here? We had called 911 because we couldn't get nineteen-year-old Shannon to wake up. Steve, her brother, was trying to do CPR. It was all very strange. She had a smile on her face. Her body was warm. But her color was wrong, very wrong. She's my daughter. She can't be dead. She can't be dead. 'Hello,' the voice said.'Are you still there?' 'Yes,' I mumbled. 'A team is on the way,ma'am.But let me ask again. Can you find a pulse?' I looked at Steve.He shook his head,with tears in his eyes.'No.We can't.' 'Then the girl is dead,' the voice said again.'There's nothing you can do.' How can you pronounce her dead as calmly and callously as you might announce the time or the weather? I wondered.My voice said,'Thank you,'my hand hung up the phone, and part of me disconnected from the rest of myself. By the time the medical personnel arrived, I felt like I was hovering somewhere near the ceiling, a spectator at some kind of macabre dramatic performance in which my intuition said I had a lead part, only I didn't know the script.What are all these people doing here? I wondered.Why does the phone keep ringing? Why is everyone so sad . . . especially Steve? And Shannon,my dear, beautiful Shannon. I watched as they wrapped her up and whisked her away,without even giving me a chance to say goodbye. Didn't they know that I needed to touch her, to look at her, to remember her, to say goodbye? And my mind cried out:Who could have done such a horrible thing to her--- five days before Christmas? Why,we haven't finished decorating the tree.And the shopping isn't done. I haven't bought Shannon her special ornament yet. This is just a bad dream, and I'm going to wake up soon. 'Ma'am, excuse me,' a policeman's voice interrupted my nightmare.'We found these by her bed.' He showed me all the empty bottles---Shannon had taken all the prescription medication in the house, plus a half bottle of aspirin---and that was when it finally dawned on me that Shannon had done this horrible thing . . . to herself. Many Questions, Few Answers But why? What could have been so painful for her that death seemed better than life? My last words to Shannon the night before had been harsh and unkind.She had come in late from a date with her boyfriend and was making a lot of noise, which woke me up.'Can you please keep the noise down?' I had yelled.'I'm trying to sleep.' And her last words to me were,'It's okay,Mom. It will be all right now.' Of course, I hadn't known what she was thinking. But for months afterward, I imagined myself responsible, somehow, for her death. Steve and I both wondered for a long time,since we were both in the house when she took the pills,Why didn't we hear her? Why didn't we know? Why didn't God alert us in some way to what was about to happen? The last question was perhaps harder than the others, even though none of the questions had answers. After all, we were believers---all three of us. Surely a good God wouldn't allow such a thing to happen.How could he? Children don't die before their parents; it's not right. Didn't he know that Shannon was to graduate from college,get married,give me grandchildren, and bury me at a ripe old age? This was senseless.You knew, God, before time began that this 10 Finding Your Way after theSuicide of Someone You Love was going to happen.Why her? Why us? Why me? Why did you give me this child, only to take her away? All day and into the night, people came in and went.My boss drove all the way from Palm Springs straight to my house (near San Diego) when he heard the news.He had loved Shannon like a daughter and was devastated. I felt loved and cared for by so many people who came and tried to make sense out of something so senseless. I was numb, in shock, and just let people take care of me.I needed to talk and appreciated those who just listened. I ignored the ones who didn't know what to say or who tried to comfort me with comments like, 'She's with the Lord; it must have been God's will,''Thank God you still have Steve because he will really need you now,'and,'God works all things together for good.' I wanted to scream back,'This is not God's will, and there is nothing good about this.'The words lay formless in my mouth. At one point my pastor said, as gently as he could, that we needed to think about funeral arrangements.Oh no.No funeral arrangements, because if I make funeral arrangements, it must mean she is really dead, and, God, if I go to sleep and wake up, you will make everything all right,won't you? I mean, if I'm really good, you will make this story end the way I want it to, right? I wanted to die. I couldn't imagine feeling any more pain than I was already feeling.'All of you leave and just let me go to sleep and not wake up'was what I wanted to say. Others must --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.