Last Monday afternoon, I picked Abby up from preschool, and we took our normal route to go get Brady. This route is so familiar because I drive it multiple times a day. As we came upon an overpass that crosses an interstate, there was traffic, which is very rare at that time of day. We inched along up the overpass, and I noticed an SUV stopped on the right side of the overpass where there is no shoulder. A helicopter hovered above.
My intuition instantly told me something was wrong. There was no driver in the vehicle. It was then that I noticed two cops frantically peering over the rail on phones. I realized someone had jumped off the overpass onto the interstate below trying to commit suicide.
Tears blinded me as I drove the last 2 minutes to my sons’ school. A frantic call to Chris to look up online confirmed that a man had jumped just minutes before we passed this spot. A million questions and what ifs poured into my brain:
- What led this man to do this?
- Is this man OK?
- What if someone could have stopped him?
- What if we had been a few minutes earlier?
- Would I have tried to help him if we had been there?
- Why is suicide so prevalent these days?
- How does a person get to this point of pure hopelessness?
I am haunted by the scene. I cannot stop thinking about this man, praying for him, hoping he is OK and getting help. Daily I pass this point, and every time I do I pray for him, for his family, for all who witnessed this tragic event from above, for the people below on the interstate who witnessed his fall, and for all who are at this point of hopelessness.
While so many of us lack the skills, expertise, and education to help someone contemplating suicide, we can help connect others to resources. Here are a few resources:
- Depressed and Catholic Blog has a list of risk factors, behavioral warning signs, and emotional warning signs
- Suicide hotlines: A link with numbers to call and talk to someone if you are thinking about suicide
If you have more resources to share with us, please let me know. Please join me in prayer for this man and for those in our world who struggle with suicidal thoughts. Pray for their loved ones that they and we may have courage to move to action when we see someone in our lives struggling.