A scene I will never forget

January 23, 2013

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:

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.





Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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  1. Kathy Powell

    I highly recommend the organization & website, To Write Love on Her Arms: http://www.twloha.com/. Their focus is spreading hope and they have a lot of programs aimed towards college students, high school students and young adults, including awesome concerts. I love their fears vs. dreams campaign.

    • Becky

      Thank you, Kathy. I will share this in a follow-up post as well.


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