Sunday, August 12, 2012



 It's hard to come up with a title to a blog post that you know is going to be difficult to write.

This past Wednesday, while we were in Waterton, Canada, we were informed of a very unfortunate and chilling incident. In respect for the family, I am not going to mention any names.

Jordan's mom {Jaime} went to do some laundry while the rest of us were out hiking and checked her e-mail. In this e-mail, it talked about sending notes about this person to be put in a scrapbook. "We all loved him," the e-mail read. Loved him? As in past tense? She didn't have a phone with her, and so she had no way to confirm it, but she realized what it meant. When we arrived back from our hike, she ran up to the car, tears in her eyes, needing to have the phone to call her friend who had sent out the e-mail. The phone call confirmed it. A very dear friend to my husband's family had died. He was 15.

Let me just begin by saying that I have never met this boy in my life. I had only heard that he was going to watch the dog while we were gone. But as soon as I heard the news, my heart broke. How could this happen to a 15-year-old boy? Fifteen years is hardly long enough to understand life, let alone live it.

When Jaime told us what had happened, at first I had no idea who she was talking about. Then it clicked. Wait, the kid that was watching your dog? The teenager? Even though I didn't know him, I instantly wanted to do something to comfort his family. To know what I could to do to help {which as a person from a distance, who didn't know their son, I wasn't able to do much}. To do something, even if it was to feel sorrow on this boy's behalf.

And then we found out that he had shot himself. And my heart broke even more. I, too, have at a very low time in my life felt so much despair that I felt that was the only way out. Of course, I did not follow that path, but I felt even more sorrow for this poor boy. What had caused him so much pain in his life that he felt the need to end it? I wished there was anything I could have done to reverse it. Even though I had never met or spoken to him.

Today at church, a grief counselor came and spoke to the young men and women in the ward. The question that I had burning in me came up: What if I had done *this* differently? What if I had done something? Anything at all to change the outcome.

And she expressed to us something very wise: The idea that "if only I had..." cheats us. In hindsight, we have perfect vision, but we cannot go back and change the past. We did what we could at the time with the information we had.

I know that wishing I had done something ultimately does nothing. I'm sure many other people have felt the same way, either about this boy or someone else they have cared for. He was gone, and there was nothing I could do to change that. But I wish to pass on something that I have learned from this experience:
Maybe I can be a little nicer.
Maybe I can show a little more sympathy; empathy
Maybe I could say a kind word; express my positive thoughts
Maybe I could try a little bit harder to be a little bit nicer.

Close to the end of the meeting, his father spoke. And I felt so much peace radiating from that man who's fifteen year old boy had died just days before. I was so amazed at the strength this man had, when I, who didn't even know this man's child, found it hard to control my emotions at times. I was so grateful for his positive and loving attitude toward all of us in that room. He had suffered an immeasurable loss and still was able to serve others.

{And to end on a more religious note, I just want to say this: I know that you are never alone. I know that Jesus Christ has suffered just for you. He has suffered all of your pains. And He will always, always, always stand by you. He knows your pains, sufferings, heartaches. He knows everything that you have gone through and will go through and I promise that he is there by you. I promise that he loves you...YOU...with an infinite love that you cannot even begin to comprehend. If you ever feel lonely or depressed or lost, He will always be there by your side to lift you up. If only you turn to Him.}

If any of you ever feel lonely, lost, depressed, or so close to the edge that you feel the only way out is death, please contact someone! There are so many people out there that love you and are willing to talk to you. Even if you want to remain anonymous, there are phone numbers out there you can call. Heck, contact me! I will be your best friend! Because the thought of losing a precious life is so sad to me. Because I know you are precious. Because you have a life worth living, even if it doesn't always feel like it.


  1. My cousin's wife gave birth to twin boys and shortly after (about a month), she committed suicide. At her funeral, I believe it was the bishop said (more or less these words) that we shouldn't focus on the "why?" We can even torture ourselves with a question like that when someone dies of "natural" causes, but it never brings you peace to think and dwell on those things. And we can never judge those who take their own lives, because we just don't know what they were going through. Prayers for that family.

  2. Elyse, this was so beautiful! It really made me tear up to read, especially your sweet testimony. I'm so sorry for that family's loss, and I definitely feel inspired to be a little kinder and reach out a little more.

  3. I am so sorry for your (and the family's loss.) There is nothing I can say that will take away anyone's pain, but please know that they (and you) are in my thoughts and prayers. Suicide is a such a terrible taboo subject, and there is so much pain and shame associated with it. I am happy to hear you discuss it so openly and honestly, and the truth is just what you said.. those people who feel like they have no other option but to take their own lives deserve our empathy and to know that they are really loved.. Suicide is never the answer, and we shouldn't be afraid to let them know that we are here for them. ((hugs))

  4. Thanks for this Elyse! Your words brought peace to my heart. You know I can obviously empathize with this family and anyone who has gone through this. What a sad and hard thing to go through but how wonderful to have the gospel to help us through these times.