I got an email from a newspaper that quit carrying my column because I mentioned the topic of suicide too often. They felt it was too morbid.

Never mind that there has been a 30 percent rise in suicide in the last few years. Never mind that suicide was recently named as the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 to 34. Never mind that, on average, there are 132 suicides each day in America.

Just quit writing about it was the newspaper’s advice to me.

Oddly enough, a few nights later, I did my one-man show for a gracious audience near Mentone, Alabama. Then I signed books and hugged necks. And to my surprise, there seemed to be a common theme among audience members after the show.

One of the first women to hug me was an older woman from North Georgia, whose mother died by her own hand. The woman locked herself in an idling car in the garage and they found her the next morning. There was a note written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. “I’m sorry,” her last message said.

The lady in line hugged my neck and said, “Thank you for talking about it.”

I met another woman who had once been in law enforcement. She hugged my neck and we talked about this and that. Finally, she told me that someone in her family had died this way, too. She hugged me and she even kissed my cheek. “I’m glad you talk about it,” she said.

But wait, I’m just getting started.

That same night I met a man who came from Tennessee. His father took his own life when he was in grade school. He was just a boy when he found his father’s remains in the laundry room. He’s been in therapy for 40 years.

“Talking about it is what saved me,” the man said.

I met a woman who drove several hours to attend our show. She wrote me a four-page letter about her beautiful son, who passed away in the same manner at age 25. We embraced. Tears were shed. She gave me a bracelet she had printed. The bracelet said, “Stay.” As in: “Don’t leave this world. Stay.”

“Talking about it is so hard for me,” she said. “But I’m trying to talk about it more with people who understand.”

Next, I met an older man whose son would have been 39 this year. His son was an army veteran. The man was wearing a shirt that said, “Love all, y’all.” I asked what the shirt was about. He said it was the last note his son left to his family.

We hugged each other’s necks.

“Keep writing about it,” the man said.

I met a young woman from West Virginia whose father killed himself when she was 18. Two years later, her brother killed himself, too. Her mother was later admitted to a psychiatric rehab. This woman has suffered her entire life with crippling anxiety and depression.

“I was afraid to come tonight,” she said. “I haven’t left the house in a long time. But I wanted to be here.” Then she embraced me and said, “It’s so hard to talk about, but I’m trying.”

Please don’t misunderstand me, my life as a writer is not built expressly on writing about suicide. But the truth is, I am a child of suicide. I can never un-be this.

So yeah, I’ve written a lot about it because suicide painted every corner of my life. I grew up beneath its shadow. I bore the weight of my father’s dramatic death every day, just like millions of others do. Millions. I am not unique.

Oh, I wanted to get away from it. I wanted to never talk about it again. Because suicide ruined me. It ruined my mother. It ruined my sister. It destroyed my extended family and excommunicated me from aunts, uncles, cousins and old friends. It made me a freak. Because that’s the deal. Suicide doesn’t just kill people, it kills entire families.

In my family we never talked about it. It was a subject we tucked into the recesses of our lives hoping it would disappear. As a result, I had night terrors every night until my mid-thirties. Anxiety became my constant companion. Depression is on my playlist.

But for the last decade or so, with the guidance of some very wise people, I’ve been writing about it. Talking about it. Talking to others about it. Dealing with it. I’ve come a long way. But I still have far to go.

So I won’t quit talking about it. Because speaking openly about suicide is the only way to get to the truth of the matter.

And you know what they say the truth shall do to you.

174 comments

  1. Faye - May 17, 2022 6:50 am

    Don’t stop.

    Reply
  2. Kitty Rowell - May 17, 2022 7:03 am

    Keep it up. We all need your tender thoughts on this growing pain. Thank you

    Reply
    • Russ Purvis - May 27, 2022 4:30 pm

      Please don’t ever stop!

      Reply
  3. Jomi Murphy - May 17, 2022 7:31 am

    Sean,I left you a long comment about talking about suicide, please never stop… I lost my son in his thirties to suicide, his older brother found him and his son was 13…we are still not over it, as a Mother I will never be.. His son is now 21 and in the AF.. but it took a long time, conversations and therapy to get him on the right path…you always make me smile, and cry, sometimes happy and sad tears, but I love that you understand how we feel after a loved ones suicide, and not too many people admit to it… please keep doing you and your thoughts and feelings, I need you, we all do…❤️

    Reply
    • MaryD. - May 19, 2022 12:52 am

      Big Hugs Jomi M.💚

      Reply
  4. mizliz - May 17, 2022 7:40 am

    Thank you for writing about suicide and letting me cyber hug your neck. You give me hope, dear Sean.

    Reply
  5. John - May 17, 2022 7:48 am

    Keep going Shawn!

    Reply
    • PL - May 17, 2022 12:45 pm

      Suicide and depression are horrible experiences that too many suffer from today. Never stop talking about it. The only TRUE source of hope and peace in this world is found in the person of Jesus Christ.

      Reply
  6. oldlibrariansshelf - May 17, 2022 8:40 am

    Yes, Sean. The truth shall set you free. NOT talking about suicide doesn’t make it go away. Talking about it can help someone to stay.

    Reply
  7. Ann Thompson - May 17, 2022 9:14 am

    Keep on keeping on. I’m sorry suicide happened to you, not just your father. Pain for both of you. My grandmother would say “ life is for the living”. So, keep on sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s helping you and many others. Love all, y’all.

    Reply
  8. Mart Martin - May 17, 2022 9:23 am

    My mom took her life when I was 18. It never occurred to me that her suicide and my terrors might be linked. And I am now 65 years old.

    Reply
  9. Brenda C Lewis - May 17, 2022 9:30 am

    Sean, thank you so much for “talking about it”. I work part-time for a local funeral home. I feel honored to be allowed to assist families during the time of losing a loved one. There has been an alarming rise in suicides the last couple of years, and those services are by far the most difficult for me. Please let me know if there are any words of comfort that I can share with these families while attending to the details of funeral / memorial services. Thank you.
    Brenda Lewis
    Jesup, GA

    Reply
  10. Liz H - May 17, 2022 10:26 am

    Keep talking! Suicide is not a dirty little secret to be hidden and ignored. Keep talking to let others know they are not alone, not lost in a neverending darkness. I lost my mother to suicide when I was 30. This was after various attempts throughout my childhood. I grew up anxious, angry and depressed. It has taken a very long time to be able to make connections with people because of it. Never stop letting people know that are not alone.

    Reply
  11. Lander - May 17, 2022 10:31 am

    Talking about it is probably one of the best ways of having other people “stay.” Obviously it’s an uncomfortable subject. That newspaper publisher is likely someone who feels squeamish about it, or heard from others who do, and decided denial is the way to deal with it. That doesn’t stop it. Life, for most of us, isn’t lived just on the lighter side of things. Shining a light into the darkness of suicide or other difficult topics helps the darkness go away. Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Julie Patterson - May 17, 2022 10:52 am

    Never stop talking and writing about it suicide and how it has impacted you.The newspaper that decided to stop running your column is doing its readers a great disservice. And always know that you are loved, Sean.

    Reply
    • JPatterson - May 17, 2022 10:55 am

      Please delete this entry; apparently I do my best editing after I post my comment! 🤣

      Reply
  13. Julie Patterson - May 17, 2022 10:53 am

    Never stop talking and writing about suicide and how it has impacted you. The newspaper that decided to stop running your column is doing its readers a great disservice. And always know that you are loved, Sean.

    Reply
  14. Deb Becker - May 17, 2022 11:07 am

    My father-in-law took his own life with a gun, and it was shocking and terrible for all of us, his family. Beyond the immediate aftermath we didn’t talk about it because it was just too painful. Yes I’m so glad you write about your own express openly, and whether some newspaper gets it or not, this is testimony that helps others tremendously. “Write them off!” Sean. We would love to have you visit in Milledgeville Georgia!

    Reply
  15. Connie - May 17, 2022 11:10 am

    Don’t stop talking about it. 🥰🥰🥰

    Reply
  16. Ed (Bear) - May 17, 2022 11:14 am

    Great post Sean. Thanks! Probably the best medicine for suicide is talking. The suicide victim’s loved ones need help. Of course the suicide victim needed help but mental illness at its worse cannot be easily denied. Neither can cancer. Talking is therapy. There’s comfort in sharing with others even if they just listen without comment. Suicide is not easy to talk about because it’s so difficult to personally deal with. Losing a loved one to suicide is devastating. The many survivor’s questions stemming from pain and self inflicted guilt tend to throw us into depression and anxiety. Talking about it helps. Some things, we carry with us all our lives. Good and bad. For me, talking is challenging so writing helps the most because I am able to reorganize my thoughts as I write. For me, writing is therapy. I appreciate you!

    Reply
  17. Marianne Bryan - May 17, 2022 11:16 am

    Keep talking… writing… your words help so many.

    Reply
  18. Dee - May 17, 2022 11:19 am

    Definitely keep writing about it! Stay.

    Reply
  19. L - May 17, 2022 11:19 am

    I hope you continue sharing stories to help others never feel alone. I’ve know too many people who have committed suicide, and the ripple effect to family and friends can be devastating. As always, your writing teaches, but most importantly it makes many smile, laugh, and perhaps cry healthy tears. Thank you.

    Reply
  20. Connie - May 17, 2022 11:21 am

    Keep on talking about it. I haven’t personally lost anyone to suicide but I have two dear friends who lost children that way. It’s heartbreaking and if hearing about it will help one person hang on, if just one family will not have to suffer through that pain, then maybe your words have helped. God bless you. Love to you and Jamie.

    Reply
  21. Elaine - May 17, 2022 11:22 am

    Sean, never stop writing about anything you know is important. You have a gift of clarifying what is in a someone’s, LOTS of Someone’s, souls. Hod bless you and your voice.

    Reply
  22. Buck Baxter - May 17, 2022 11:25 am

    Keep on talking about it, Sean.

    Reply
  23. Bob Moser - May 17, 2022 11:25 am

    Love your column, but curious as to why you changed the formatting.

    Reply
  24. writetouchgirlYou - May 17, 2022 11:29 am

    Sean, keep writing about whatever topic you feel compelled to write about. Truth tellers always get “punished.” A friend shared Psalm 3 with me recently. Let God shield you in your writing as the psalmist cried out for a shield from his enemies. Emily from Alabama

    Reply
  25. M.A. Tarver - May 17, 2022 11:33 am

    Please, never stop talking about it. For those of us who have been directly touched and for those who may someday consider it. Talking is the only way to heal, and the only way to reach the ones who may be the next victim before it’s too late.

    Reply
  26. Wendy Lowe - May 17, 2022 11:34 am

    Thank you for talking about it! Just yesterday a young man from our community with two young daughters committed suicide. His parents are heartbroken.

    Reply
  27. Te - May 17, 2022 11:36 am

    You keep writing about it, and I’ll keep reading. I’ve hit every emotion through your columns (except anger), and I would be sorely disappointed if you didn’t stay true to yourself. Nevermind (I had stronger words for them) that shortsighted paper. Seeing only the “pretty” side of life is unrealistic. I came close once, in my 20s, had made the decision, and then I decided I was stronger than that; meaner, better, tougher, worthier. I had already survived a lot. It was time to start living. Now I’m 78. Boy, have I lived! So have you, and we know, you and I, the biggest truth of all. Life is a gift. We have it, and we’re gonna fight to keep it!

    Reply
  28. JeanMerritt - May 17, 2022 11:40 am

    Keep on asking &?writing! It does indeed help..,!

    Reply
  29. Dede - May 17, 2022 11:41 am

    Thanks Sean! Never Stop!

    Reply
  30. flkatmom - May 17, 2022 11:46 am

    Sean, keep “talking about it”, I lost a young nephew to suicide, he also left a wife to raise their 6- and 3-year-old children. The kids are 18 & 21 now and are dealing with the knowledge of his death. Please keep talking about it.
    Much love to you and Jamie from Florida.

    Reply
  31. Elizabeth LeDuc - May 17, 2022 11:50 am

    Talking about suicide makes all who are left behind able to receive love. Thank you for talking about it.

    Reply
  32. SuAnne Cobb - May 17, 2022 11:52 am

    Thank you, Sean, for talking & writing about suicide. It is a part of your story—how could you not speak & write about it? Sending you much love from z Knoxville.

    Reply
  33. Marie - May 17, 2022 11:53 am

    Keep on writing about this horrible subject. For those of us who have not YET had someone close to us die by suicide, it is so helpful in learning about it and how it effects those left behind. I’ve learned so much and feel as if I can be a better friend to those more closely impacted.

    Reply
  34. Linnea Miles - May 17, 2022 11:53 am

    Sean, Don’t ever stop following your heart on writing about your dad’s suicide and its forever aftermath. I know of the forever part due to my mama dying, of natural causes, at 24 yrs old, just before I turned 3. February 9, 1960 was the earthquake day that changed my life forever, and I’ll never “get over it.” So thankful to be blessed with my own memories of her as well as many stories from my family. The loss and ache of not having my mother, of being so different from every other kid was internalized early, and I’ve struggled mightily with the emotional aftermath for over 62 years.
    Please get and read my son’s first book that was just published: The Light All Along, by Joe Chang. Contact him via Instagram under Gold Light Music. That’s his band and he has written, performed, and produced great songs- he’s an old soul. The book is the story of his journey with mental illness and suicide brinks, in the setting of being a very creative arts person. Like you, he knows the life of music performance in dive bars and shows on the road. I’m an editor at heart, and the book is a well written story and from his heart and soul. I think you’ll identify with it in many ways. Linnea Miles, Black Mountain, NC

    Reply
  35. Kathy Bilodeau - May 17, 2022 11:56 am

    Don’t stop talking about it. It is to important of a subject

    Reply
  36. Jennie L. Brown - May 17, 2022 12:02 pm

    Many of us have family members who chose that path. Ignoring issues, and not having open, honest discussions, leaves many individuals believing suicide is their only option.

    Reply
  37. Debbie - May 17, 2022 12:06 pm

    Thank you for talking and please keep doing so. I have not had a suicide in my immediate family, but it has been very close – friends, family of friends and patients I cared for. As you said suicide doesn’t just kill people, it kills entire families. I have personal seen the devastation in the path it leaves. Awareness in one way perhaps we can all help one another. Not talking about something – never, never, never makes it go away and in fact, I believe that is the only way we can learn to better understand and heal from a tragedy. Depression, suicide and as with so many other ills in our world right now – must be talked about. We simply cannot look the other way and believe that will do anything helpful. Thank you

    Reply
  38. Jane - May 17, 2022 12:06 pm

    If we don’t talk about suicide people won’t realize how horrible it is and what an impact suicide has on everyone else. I believe the person doesn’t want to die, they want the pain to stop. They want to stop hurting. It’s 20 years since my 31 year old son took his life, leaving behind a 9 year old, his brother and parents. Our lives have never been the same. I miss him every single day

    Reply
  39. Pamela Williams - May 17, 2022 12:07 pm

    ♥️ People always seem to want to hide the things that are difficult, but that never seems to work. It always manifests itself in one way or another. Glad you share your story and may sharing it continue to bring you and others peace, my brother.

    Reply
  40. CM - May 17, 2022 12:19 pm

    Those of us untouched personally by this tragic end can learn empathy. Isn’t that what friends do?
    I love to see you smile. Keep healing.

    Reply
  41. Barbara Riley - May 17, 2022 12:20 pm

    May I post this on Facebook?

    Reply
  42. Pink 13 - May 17, 2022 12:27 pm

    Please don’t stop talking about it. I shared my dark thoughts with colleagues, and they turned away and doubted me. I will never forget. You saved my life, Sean. You. And your talking about suicide. You are so important. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Paul Sams - May 17, 2022 10:51 pm

      I was thinking how many lives have been saved by Sean talking about suicide. Words often make a difference.

      Reply
  43. Pingback: Sean of the South: Talking | The Trussville Tribune

  44. Bill - May 17, 2022 12:27 pm

    Bless you Sean

    Reply
  45. C. V. Dickson - May 17, 2022 12:28 pm

    Great column. Thank you.

    Reply
  46. Anne Arthur - May 17, 2022 12:31 pm

    The long list of comments here shows us that you never should stop talking about it. The newspaper guys probably have their own share of secret; or, they try to paint a world that doesn’t exist. Yet, in today’s reality, so many people are depressed and desperate enough to contemplate taking their lives. Reading about its aftermath, and what it does to their families, might hopefully be a deterrent too. On the other hand, validating the feelings of those who are left behind is very important.
    Sean, keep talking, keep writing, keep healing.

    Reply
  47. Linda Lewis - May 17, 2022 12:36 pm

    Thank you for writing about the touchy subject of suicide. Those of us who are touched by it need to talk about it. My son, Chris, committed suicide 28 years ago, at the age of 22. My heart still hurts. People are afraid to mention his name to me, but that’s what I yearn to hear, still. I want people to know that he lived and that his life mattered. So, don’t stop writing and sharing. It’s what the world needs.

    Reply
  48. Teri - May 17, 2022 12:39 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for speaking truth about the pain of losing a loved one by their own hand. My son will be gone 2 years this June 3. The world needs to talk about it, learn about it and open our eyes to see the pain of those suffering emotional pain. We may save a life. Sean, I bet you have saved some lives today. Love you.

    Reply
  49. Bess Rich - May 17, 2022 12:39 pm

    Keep talking and writing about it!

    Reply
  50. mark a powell - May 17, 2022 12:39 pm

    Wow! That’s too bad. I bet the local readers of that rag will force the reversal of that decision. Life isn’t always funny. You are always entertaining, thought provoking, and compassionate. I enjoy your work so much. Sometimes you just have to shake your head in bewilderment. This reminds me of the kid on first base that steals second and third base and he eventually makes his way home with the crowd in the stands cheering him on to the dust cloud as he slides into home plate only to be called out by the umpire. What he does next is get up, dusts himself off and heads to his teams bench with a grin from ear to ear. Sure he wanted to score, but he had fun trying!
    I know you will be ready when it’s time to bat again!
    Sincerely,
    Mark Powell

    Reply
  51. Jo Ann - May 17, 2022 12:42 pm

    As someone else said, not talking about suicide doesn’t make it go away. That same newspaper probably prints awful news about other things, but doesn’t want any readers to be “uncomfortable.” Thank you, Sean, for what you write every day. We love you.

    Reply
  52. Kathy - May 17, 2022 12:47 pm

    If you talk about it, then those who are hurting know they can, too.

    Reply
  53. Brenda Bagley - May 17, 2022 12:48 pm

    Yes please keep talking about it. Suicide has touched so many people I know and it’s so hard for everyone!
    Love all of your drawings I’ve seen associated with your posts.

    Reply
  54. Denise Clarke - May 17, 2022 12:56 pm

    Keep up the good work!!!!

    Reply
  55. Susan - May 17, 2022 1:00 pm

    I am new to your writings & oh so very happy to have found them. I am slowly adding them to my “morning gratitude” practice. I look at my Facebook memories – I am a a frequent poster, always positive, always looking for the happy or funny part of the simple things in life – so my FB “memories” is like a journal or diary. Now, after I have done that, I read your essay on life – not every day, but about half the time. It doesn’t matter the topic, it always serves as the icing on the cake of my morning feel good session. Probably surprising to many, even today’s essay on suicide struck a grateful cord in my heart. Maybe because I came close to it myself a long time ago, maybe just because it is the ultimate reason to be grateful…. To “Stay”. Thank you.

    Reply
  56. Jan - May 17, 2022 1:02 pm

    The Truth is that suicide has touched almost everyone in some way. It may have been up close and personal as it was for you and so many others. Or it may have been from a little more distance like my aunt or a cousin or a friend or a friend of a friend. Somehow, someway it will touch almost everyone so while it is not the most pleasant conversation, it is a conversation that must be repeated over and over until everyone gets the message.

    Reply
  57. Beth Crane - May 17, 2022 1:05 pm

    I am so sorry. I can’t begin to imagine. Please know that you are loved.

    Reply
  58. Joan - May 17, 2022 1:13 pm

    Excellent commentary and advice. Thank you. Your voice is a beacon of light.

    Reply
  59. Cindy - May 17, 2022 1:17 pm

    Keep talking Sean. You are helping many folks – some that don’t even know they need it. When I was 4 my grandpa died – I was 22 when I was told how. It’s effects can’t be hidden, even when folks try to keep it a secret. The truth WILL set you FREE! Blessings to you!

    Reply
  60. oldandblessed - May 17, 2022 1:17 pm

    Keep writing about it. Demons must be faced. We can’t choose not to face them because they are among us. My church just lost a young, well-educated and loved associate pastor to suicide. From all appearances, he had everything to live for, yet he removed himself from a beautiful wife and two lovely children

    Reply
  61. Joanne Lay - May 17, 2022 1:22 pm

    Not talking about it, does not make it go away. Thank you for your excellent writtings!

    Reply
  62. Cheryl Andrews - May 17, 2022 1:27 pm

    As usual, Sean, very well said. Thank you!

    Reply
  63. Judy 🌻 - May 17, 2022 1:28 pm

    Yes! Some who choose not to talk about suicide think the subject will make the ones left behind feel bad. Too late.
    Talking about it helps those left behind feel less alone. It is good to normalize, in a sense, the feelings of suicide so that, perhaps, the person considering suicide will seek help….that it is OK to ask for help. One misconception people have is that if the person talks about their thoughts of suicide, they won’t follow through. They need someone to listen and help them. But not everyone asks for help, and there are those left behind. We must surround them with acceptance and love. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone.

    Reply
  64. Diane - May 17, 2022 1:29 pm

    ♥️♥️♥️ Keep Talking…

    Reply
  65. debbiecorder - May 17, 2022 1:36 pm

    Don’t stop talking about it. Everything you said in this post is true and if we are to ever heal up totally, we must talk about suicide and how it has so wounded our hearts. I think that though talking about it we may save someone’s life. It has become an epidemic today especially among our youth. Our government has failed us, along with the medical community and sadly so have our churches. We stand as the last line of defense against this scourge…fight for our children, friends and family, don’t allow despair to win. It’s been 19 years since my son took his life….you never get over it but you must rise above it and help someone get through it. God is merciful and good.

    Reply
  66. Dottie Coltrane - May 17, 2022 1:41 pm

    Wise words, my friend. The newspaper editor who dropped your column has his head in the sand. Talking (and writing) about suicide is the only way to find a measure of peace.

    Reply
  67. Nala Gradkowski - May 17, 2022 1:44 pm

    Sean, never stop writing, anything. Unfortunately, newspapers shy away from printing truths.

    Reply
  68. Gini - May 17, 2022 1:52 pm

    Well said!

    Reply
  69. Stevie - May 17, 2022 1:52 pm

    At 65 years old, I realized had it not been for psilocybin mushrooms in my teens, I probably would not have made it to adulthood due to depression and anxiety attacks. Although I had not contemplated suicide, my state of mind could have easily lead to that “solution” had it not been for the power of those mushrooms from cow paddies to transform one’s being.

    Reply
  70. chip plyler - May 17, 2022 1:53 pm

    Sticking out collective heads in the sands of denial, ignorance and fear will accomplish nothing – Dialog, love and prayers on the other hand is the best way to confront painful issues we all experience. Thank you my friend for your honesty and willingness to address societal issues. You are a Blessing to us all …

    Reply
  71. Tim Fooks - May 17, 2022 1:55 pm

    Sean, please don’t stop talking about it. We all have been touched by a friend or family member that has taken their own life, and in many ways it takes the life of their loved ones who start down a path most do not want to admit or talk about. There is another group just as important and that is a parent that has lost a child, any age, whether it was an infant, a teen or pre-teen, or even an adult. People have different ways of mourning and so many times well meaning friends tell them they need to just get over it and move on. The words sound good when we say it, but until you have walked in their shoes, you have no way of knowing how empty those words are. These are painful subjects but by talking about it and remembering our loved ones we are able to keep on keeping on, sometimes only one minute, one hour, and one day at a time..

    Reply
  72. beachdreamer - May 17, 2022 1:56 pm

    Yes, ‘It will make you free!’ Keep talking…keep writing,,,it’s healing for all, y’all ❤️ God bless you and all who have been touched by suicide.

    Reply
  73. Peggy M. Windham - May 17, 2022 1:57 pm

    Thanks for talking about it! It’s necessary!

    Reply
  74. Susie - May 17, 2022 2:09 pm

    Oh, Sean💕 you’ve outdone yourself on this one!! KEEP TALKING about it. It HELPS so many who have been thru it, bless their hearts. And brings awareness of what symptoms to look for to help potentials. 😘

    Reply
  75. Susie - May 17, 2022 2:16 pm

    Keep on keepin on, Sean! U have helped so many. Not talking about it doesn’t help anybody!! Yay for you !!

    Reply
  76. Elizabeth Greiner - May 17, 2022 2:22 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  77. Tracy Zeigler - May 17, 2022 2:29 pm

    Please please do not ever quit talking about it!!! I had a high school friend to commit suicide. Thank you for being who you are as a writer.

    Reply
  78. Deborah Grimm - May 17, 2022 2:37 pm

    Thank you for speaking about it and helping to set your readers free.

    Reply
  79. Linda Cook DeVona - May 17, 2022 2:40 pm

    Please keep writing and talking about suicide. Two of my older brothers whom I adored with my whole being, died of suicide, in 1969 and 1989. It shattered my world and no one talked to me about it. There was so much stigma and people just didn’t know what to say or do. My greatest hope was that my surviving brother and I outlive my parents, which we have, ( although my remaining brother recently died of melanoma). I’ve gotten past the ugliness and shock of their deaths and can celebrate their lives, but it’s something that needs to be discussed openly. Thank you for sharing your great pains and joys and everything in between. The only good to come of my brothers’ deaths is that it made me grateful to be here, every single day. Your daily essay is such a joy to read each morning, even when it addresses the painful aspects of life. You help us all cope in this crazy world!

    Reply
  80. Barbara Hood - May 17, 2022 2:42 pm

    AMEN

    Reply
  81. Shelton A. - May 17, 2022 2:43 pm

    Continue talking and writing about it. Too many people need your encouragement so they can talk about it, too. I don’t know about it, specifically. My nephew, who is bi-polar schizoid has tried several times when he quits taking his meds. So I do know that. Keep on, brother Sean. Love all, y’all.

    Reply
  82. Ann - May 17, 2022 2:43 pm

    Do keep writing about it because it gives more understanding to so many of us. Death is difficult enough but suicide is so horrible for those left to live with it all their lives. Sometimes people feel you should “ get over it” but it doesn’t work that way and you definitely help understanding the process that is different for everyone. How you live with it is very individual and you prove you can do so. Thank you for continuing your openness.. you are a blessing!

    Reply
  83. Mary Raber - May 17, 2022 2:46 pm

    Keep talking!

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  84. Andy Gartman - May 17, 2022 2:52 pm

    Thank you for your honesty, compassion, and caring. They come across so powerfully in your writing. From the other comments posted here you’re obviously being helpful by writing about suicide. Thank you. It takes courage. May God continue to use you.
    Your preacher buddy.

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  85. Donna - May 17, 2022 2:52 pm

    Not talking about it prevents healing, in my opinion. I don’t think that is understood by those of us who are yanked into this club that nobody wants to join. My dad took his own life 36.5 years ago. I almost called him the night before – I was a newlywed decorating our first Christmas tree, and he loved doing the same. But I did not make that call because I had called him the night before. Would it have changed things? Very likely not. Do I still question that decision? You bet I do. Verbally releasing thoughts and questions that fester and grow and swirl around causing an inner chaos is extremely healing. And having a conversation with someone who has that common thread, even if there is nothing else in common, makes one feel not nearly as alone. We are forever altered in some way by this. I am so very glad to have found your posts. I am thankful that you are talking about it. Keep up the fantastic job that you are doing.

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  86. Anita - May 17, 2022 2:58 pm

    Amen brother!

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  87. LB - May 17, 2022 3:13 pm

    Truth sets you freeeeee! Talking about it doesn’t make it happen. In fact, your article gives us a daily dose of beautiful reasons to STAY! Thank you for getting me out of a slump more than once.

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  88. Susie Flick - May 17, 2022 3:17 pm

    Unfortunately, the stigma of suicide is something the persons left behind have to deal with. Talking about it has always been hard but not talking about it makes it harder for those impacted by suicide to go on. Just had a dear friend lost his adult son to suicide and words escape me. I did express my prayers and love. Grateful to be here and reading all your wonderous words. Keep it up!

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  89. elizabethroosje - May 17, 2022 3:18 pm

    Sean KEEP TALKING. I am so sorry a newspaper stopped your column, if I was a reader of such a paper, I would write in to complain about your column being pulled. Frankly I also would have told them that the only reason I got their paper was to read your column so they would have two losses at least: the huge loss of your words shared and the loss of me as a customer.

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  90. l fisher - May 17, 2022 3:20 pm

    Amen and God bless. Keep writing!

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  91. bubbastubbs - May 17, 2022 3:21 pm

    Poignant but absolutely beautiful words, Sean. As a career law enforcement officer, unfortunately I’ve seen far too many times in which folks have REFUSED to talk about the suicide of a loved one or dear friend. Likewise, I’ve seen the impact of that refusal—it ain’t pretty!

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  92. Fleming Straughan - May 17, 2022 3:22 pm

    Thank you Sean
    Add my younger brother to that list.
    GodBless
    And keep writing about dogs, too!

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  93. Tom Wallin - May 17, 2022 3:26 pm

    My heart cries for you and the countless other people and families whose lives have been so dramatically altered in ways I can never understand. I have a friend whose children have committed suicide and while I have empathy, I can never truly understand his pain.
    Sean, you know what is right in your heart. You keep doing it and talking about it. You know it helps you, them and everyone who reads about it to know you are not alone in your suffering.

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  94. Brenda Harvey - May 17, 2022 3:27 pm

    Please keep talking about it. I find something meaningful in most things you write and it usually seems to be what I need to hear at the time. I do wish you would visit South/Central Texas. I am near San Antonio and would love to hear you live!

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  95. Southern Girl - May 17, 2022 3:36 pm

    Please keep writing. Ignoring a problem never solves it. My first cousin took her own life and within months, her 26-year-old son followed suit. It has been years, and my family remains devastated.

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  96. Lora Lee - May 17, 2022 3:38 pm

    Yes please don’t stop. My soulmate took his life, then his mother did a few years later. I wear a ring with a ; indicating a survivor of suicide and mental health issues. He would have been 68 on May 6th. I looked for his older sister who passed after “a brief illness”. It runs in their family. You do great work. I share all your work with my best friend and then save them all to my phone. I’ve read most of your books. You make me laugh, you make me cry. I cried with you a lot when Mary was dying and I share all your work on Facebook. If you ever come to Austin, Texas, please let me know and I will come hug your neck as well. Thank you, Sean. You light shines in my life every day.

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  97. Melanie - May 17, 2022 3:41 pm

    You are exactly right to talk about it. Bless you in your healing process.

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  98. Celia - May 17, 2022 4:23 pm

    Thank you Sean, I wish I could hug your neck too.
    My brother died of suicide 6 years ago, the first year it was so hard to talk about it, almost like there is shame in it. Now I tell everyone, and yes it has really messed up our whole family, I’m currently dealing with anxiety and depression.
    Be blessed Sean, we are all in this together

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  99. Ken Pounds - May 17, 2022 4:32 pm

    We were at the show in Mentone. Really,really enjoyed it. Thanks for the neck hugs and illustration in our book after the show. You and Jamie are so personable and down to earth. Thank y’all!!! Keep doing what you do and how you do it, that’s what makes you wonderful!!

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  100. pattymack43 - May 17, 2022 4:35 pm

    Keep talking! It is its own freedom! Blessings!!

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  101. Angie - May 17, 2022 4:37 pm

    Love your writing, no matter what it is about!!!

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  102. Donna - May 17, 2022 4:40 pm

    My mother died at her own hand. That newspaper erred. Don’t stop writing and talking about suicide. It’s painful to read about it, but it’s also healing.

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  103. Carol A Sessums - May 17, 2022 4:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing the most personal and painful part of your life with everyone. It will surely touch others and help them see that it is always best to expose that pain and lack of understanding to the sunlight and yes, to the Sonlight, so that healing can happen. Those who know, know…and they need to know that others care.

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  104. Lynn Richardson - May 17, 2022 4:57 pm

    My sweet father-in-law took his life on Christmas morning. My children were 10 and 2, and they so loved their precious papaw. That morning was the beginning of issues of anxiety and depression for both me and later, my daughter. Had it not been for a dear friend who recognized the marked differences in me and urged me to seek professional help, I’m not sure I would be in the very good place I find myself in these days. Bless you for writing and talking about suicide and other mental health issues. It’s about dang time we stopped sticking our heads in the sand and starting confronting these issues like any other illness. Thank you for all you do to let in the light.

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  105. John Myers - May 17, 2022 5:01 pm

    Lost brother, nephew, and grandnephew to suicide and in same family. Really sad because I don’t believe any were believers in Jesus Christ.

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  106. Nancy - May 17, 2022 5:03 pm

    Amen!

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  107. Renee - May 17, 2022 5:08 pm

    Keep it up!! Sooo many people suffer from the effects of mental health and suicide.

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  108. Jay Payleitner, author/speaker - May 17, 2022 5:08 pm

    Moments ago I got a text from a friend in my small group. A good friend of his daughter walked in front of a train last night. Heartbreaking. Keep at it, Sean. God bless you.

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  109. Beth - May 17, 2022 6:09 pm

    Beautiful words to describe a horrific thing that affects us all. Keep talking, keep writing, keep speaking about it! Your words are a balm to so many who need them. Shine on, brother!

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  110. Glenda - May 17, 2022 6:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, and the stories of those who share them with you. It creates a feeling of community, an opportunity to understand and be empathetic, an opportunity to relate and possibly heal old and new wounds, and an opportunity think about the bigger picture…not just my own small little world. And your sharing provides a glimpse into the good people and events that happen every minute of every day…and that creates a sense of hope and peace. Don’t stop writing and please, never ever stop talking about it…or anything else that pops into your head.

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  111. Shirley Robin Ivie - May 17, 2022 6:35 pm

    Thankfully I have not had to deal with this happening to anyone in my immediate family.However,a very good friend from high school committed suicide a few years ago which devastated his family and friends. He had never done anything openly to indicate that he would take his own life. It was a shocking surprise to everyone that knew him, especially his precious wife. I think suicide, mental illness needs to be talked about, not brushed aside and never mentioned. I think talking about it helps those who are left behind to deal with it.Sean, I am truly sorry this has happened to you and your family and I applaud you for being willing to approach this subject because I think talking about it does help those who are unfortunately the ones having to deal with it. Thank you for all that you do!

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  112. Gaye - May 17, 2022 6:35 pm

    The newspaper that asked you to quit writing about suicide is doing a great disservice to their readers. No doubt the newspaper has a least one advice columnist – Dear Abby or Ms Manners- both woefully out of touch with reality. Don’t stop writing about suicide- awareness brings change and hope. I am grateful for every word you write.

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  113. Barbara Mc - May 17, 2022 6:38 pm

    Keep talking!!

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  114. Sally Ann Sisson - May 17, 2022 6:41 pm

    I have been affected the same as most other people with suicide and drugs. Personally, I think the editor if the paper that dropped your column should hang his head in shame!

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  115. throughmyeyesusa - May 17, 2022 6:44 pm

    Sean….and all,

    It goes beyond talking about the phenomenon of the suicide rate and what happens to families after the tragedy of suicide.
    As a health care provider I was taught that one NEVER provokes a suicide by discussing it. No one commits suicide because they were ASKED if they were considering it, or if they had planned a method by which they might kill themselves. It can only help to get it out in the open.

    My son was badly injured in an accident which left him confined to a wheelchair at the age of 22. One day he was an active, able bodied young man; the next he was living in constant pain and viewing the world from the sidelines. He was understandably angry and depressed. We discussed suicide and I made him promise that he would NEVER, then or in the future – to the end of time – harm himself before coming to me to talk.

    Life went on, he adjusted, was employed full time, drove a car, owned a condo, married, coped with the constant pain. A few years later his wife left him. He was sad, angry & discouraged. He was struggling, barely managing his depression. One day he said to me, misery, but also determination, etched into his features, “I am sorry I ever made that promise!”
    Fortunately, we take promises very seriously in our family. We talked. I realized then, and I assure you now, how absolutely essential it is to talk about suicide! That discussion – and that promise – probably saved his life.

    Suicide is an act of despair, but it is also an act of anger and often done on impulse. Anything that has been said, anything that reminds a person that someone cares if they “disappear” themselves, that they matter, that their suicide would be a tragedy and that somebody wants to hear about it FIRST, may give just enough of a pause to stop the headlong rush to irreversible action.

    Be fearless! ASK about suicide and suicidal thoughts! Give anyone you are concerned about the opportunity to talk about their anger and despair instead of taking, irrevocable action.

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  116. Caroline - May 17, 2022 6:47 pm

    Writing about unpleasant truths is not morbid. Thank you for continuing to speak your truth; you are obviously helping lots of people.

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  117. Sheila Eckman - May 17, 2022 7:01 pm

    Keep it up! Lost my son to suicide, and I included that in his obituary. I got many positive comments. Talking about it makes it easier on SURVIVORS. ❤️

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  118. Paula W Link - May 17, 2022 7:02 pm

    Your writing touches lives of suicide survivors – those who lost someone to its grinding maw. God is blessing you for helping strengthen so many people who need it. As a child of suicide, thank you. Never stop.

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  119. Sheryll - May 17, 2022 7:07 pm

    Obviously you were dealing with a misinformed/misguided publicist.

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  120. Christina - May 17, 2022 7:33 pm

    Please stay with it. We are with you in this life saving mission.

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  121. Susan W Fitch - May 17, 2022 7:37 pm

    You are a wise man.

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  122. Jenny Young - May 17, 2022 7:40 pm

    Oh Sean…that paper will most likely regret that decision. Thankyou for sharing truth.

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  123. Karen - May 17, 2022 7:56 pm

    Please don’t stop. Too many need to know they are not alone and it is okay to talk about it.

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  124. Suzanne - May 17, 2022 8:09 pm

    One day last October my little brother passed the point of being dead longer than he had lived. He committed suicide six days before his 28th birthday. I think of him every day. When “it” happened people just clammed up. I had to meet with law enforcement, a coroner, a funeral director, and I had to tell my parents and siblings. I can’t forget any of it. Please don’t stop talking. It can save a life.❤️

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  125. Wadena Sieler-Colbert - May 17, 2022 8:12 pm

    Never stop writing about what your heart tells you is right

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  126. Elizabeth Gibbs - May 17, 2022 8:32 pm

    I HOPE THAT NEWSPAPER GETS LOTS OF COMPLAINTS FOR CANCELING YOUR COLUMN.

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  127. Tim Goode - May 17, 2022 8:37 pm

    You are doing the difficult but wise process of healing. Stay on your truth and “free”dom trail. There will always be those, who avoid reality, truth, and pain – until unexpected loss collides with their unprepared agenda.

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  128. Roberta bondi - May 17, 2022 8:50 pm

    Sean, you are doing exactly as you ought. Remember Jesus’ hometown folks tried to throw him off a cliff. Love, roberta

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  129. Thames - May 17, 2022 9:03 pm

    Amen and Amen.

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  130. DeeDee - May 17, 2022 9:11 pm

    Stay you. You reach us all in your different special ways.

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  131. Linda Moon - May 17, 2022 9:13 pm

    I hope you receive uplifting emails from people who’ve experienced the suicide of someone they’ loved. Some of us talk, Sean; we never “never mind”. When someone needs minding, we do. I’m “hugging” you right now. Keep on writing and talking, Sean. And one of those emails will be from me because I want to lift you up.

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  132. Dianne Gibson - May 17, 2022 9:15 pm

    I didn’t realize how prevalent suicide was and what a long battle it is to heal from. I am so glad you are talking about it and seeing that the rest of us don’t take it lightly and expect those left to pick up the pieces have healed after a year or two. God bless you with the freedom to continue to embrace and enjoy this life!

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  133. Patricia Gibson - May 17, 2022 9:43 pm

    Thank God got you, Sean

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  134. Cek - May 17, 2022 10:07 pm

    Keep on talking about suicide. Every person I know has been impacted by it. If people talked about it more it just might be that fewer people would experience it.

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  135. MAM - May 17, 2022 10:15 pm

    I believe that the worst part of suicide is the guilt that remains on those left behind. “What could I have done?” Why did this happen? “Was it my fault?” And talking about it, especially with God, is the road to healing.

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  136. shirlley hill - May 17, 2022 11:09 pm

    Oh if I had only known that you were gonna be close to Mentone I could have joined in for your program. I – fortunately for me – live just on the other side of shinbone ridge from Mantone and maybe could have gotten there. Your speaking and writing of suicide is so freeing for so many and needed by all. Please keep on sharing the truth and whichever paper dropped you wish you could tell who they are so we can drop them. A newspaper is supposed to want to share the TRUTH but sadly in todays world nobody wants the truth anymore. God bless you in your continued search.

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  137. Susan Marler - May 18, 2022 12:12 am

    Please don’t quit talking about it. I wrote on another post that my best friend took her own life in August 2021. We were Lucy and Ethel on our escapades for over 40 years. Did we know how broken she was? No. Did I suspect, No. Did Covid and isolation have an effect, Yes. Please keep posting, a d writing. I broke down when Naomi Judd took her own life recently. Similar ages, similar illnesses. Did I know? No. Would give my heart to.have her back again.

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  138. Lindsey Inman - May 18, 2022 12:23 am

    Sean, thank you for talking about it.

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  139. Phil Evans - May 18, 2022 1:33 am

    Peace brother. Keep on keeping on!

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  140. Courtney R. - May 18, 2022 2:07 am

    Well said…

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  141. Teresa Frey - May 18, 2022 2:19 am

    Please don’t stop talking! I haven’t talked much and I want to, so much I want to talk about but not out of anger but out of love. I just want to help just one person, then one more. I have a book to write, I have a story to tell and I have encouragement to give. My friend sent me your article and now I am subscribed! Thank you.

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  142. Bonnie - May 18, 2022 2:26 am

    Sean, seems to me by the number of positive comments, the editor of that newspaper does not know you like your readers do. Do you talk about suicide? Yes. He is right about that one thing. Do you write about it too much? Obviously not according to those who love you. You write about people. I read all the time. I have yet to find someone like you that can make me cry one minute and laugh with the tears still flowing down my cheeks. You touch hearts Sean. That is a pure gift. Ignore the ignorant.

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  143. Erica Mininger - May 18, 2022 2:30 am

    Sometime talking about things is the only way through them!🙃

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  144. Bonnie - May 18, 2022 2:31 am

    By the way, did you know May is Mental Health Awareness month? Amazing, huh?

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  145. Kathleen Jun Magyar - May 18, 2022 7:11 am

    Hope you send a copy of this column to the stupid newspaper. I lost a dear dear friend to suicide recently and, even though it was not so intensely personal as a family member, it leaves a hole that can never be filled.

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  146. Nancy Brown - May 18, 2022 11:35 am

    Sean, Talking about things,thinking about things, are good and positive ways to find closure and peace . My first husband committed suicide (age 31). I was 29, my children were 5 and 2. It will always be a piece of our history (41 years in the past). With God’s grace, we went on ,healed, and recovered our joy. Keep talking.

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  147. LauraD - May 18, 2022 12:02 pm

    Suicide is sadly much more prevalent than many want to accept and is not a new phenomenon. Stay.

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  148. Kathryn - May 18, 2022 1:01 pm

    My great-grandfather committed suicide. I never knew him; he died in the 1930s, but it’s the one enduring thing I do know about him. Suicide expands across generations; I wish my great grandfather had known that. I’ve heard two reasons for his act, neither is sufficient. It was either because of a serious health issue or losing all of his money during the Depression. He was a community leader in a small Mississippi town; I can only imagine how his family was affected. Everyone needs to know, it’s not over when the victim is dead and buried; there are other victims who must carry on, through the years, even through generations. Keep writing, Sean.

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  149. Dale Parsons - May 18, 2022 3:36 pm

    Set you free. I’m sorry about the paper. Their loss – and the readers’. Thank you for honesty. My wife’s younger brother took his own life twelve years ago.

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  150. Gordon - May 18, 2022 4:02 pm

    Thank you for taking your stand on speaking about an issue that needs to be spoke about! Keep on speaking/writing about something that effects so many individuals.

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  151. jimjewell - May 18, 2022 4:04 pm

    There are many newspapers who have editors who ignore freedom of speech based on their own baseless opinions. This is their loss. Keep writing about it. Keep talking about it. We need you.

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  152. Kevin Gilbert - May 18, 2022 5:14 pm

    This. So Timely.

    Dear friends are dealing with this very thing right now. Today. And you post this. Keep talking about it. Keep talking, and writing, Sean.

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  153. Tom McCoppin - May 18, 2022 7:42 pm

    Sean…thank you for those thoughts and words. Tom McC

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  154. Mary Ann Gilbert - May 18, 2022 9:26 pm

    You are filling a much needed service for many folks. Keep up the good work, we need you.

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  155. Dee Thompson - May 18, 2022 10:13 pm

    I adopted my son when he was 10 years old. His older brother committed suicide when Michael was 5, and it was devastating. My son now has his brother’s name tattooed across his chest on a pair of angel wings. In the past 5 years my son has also lost 2 friends to suicide. I pray constantly my son will not give in to the sadness he feels, which I know is overwhelming at times. / I do not condemn anyone for taking their own life because I know they feel they just have no other choice, which is heartbreaking. / When my dad died of cancer I was 34. I am Christian and I believe in an afterlife but I found comfort in weird things, like Chinese proverbs: “The cure for dirt is soap and water. The cure for death is life.” My dad only lived 65 years but he really LIVED. His energy was contagious. I think very often that the best way to honor him is to really embrace life. It can be very hard sometimes. / Keep writing your truth. Keep fighting the good fight. Only in community can healing happen..

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  156. Carolyn - May 19, 2022 12:45 am

    Keep talking, no matter what!

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  157. Ginny Bailes Fretwell - May 19, 2022 3:53 pm

    Jane Bailes Garrison, youngest of 10 kids. I’m number 6. Died May 18, 2012 from a rifle shot to her heart.

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  158. Jacy - May 19, 2022 4:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Rarely does suicide happen without leaving a multitude of questions, which are never answered. At times, it seems the person we lose and suicide are combined for identity. Therefore, when avoiding the subject of suicide, we lose some priceless conversations about a special person in our lives. The loved one or friend deserves so much more for the life they lived, whether wonderful character, kind heart or loving family member.

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  159. Richard Cotton - May 19, 2022 4:16 pm

    Keep talking. Thanks.

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  160. Barb Bamberger - May 20, 2022 7:23 pm

    Dear Sean, I love your writing! Today’s subject touched me deeply. I’m an older woman and I’ve lost friends and family members to suicide. It needs to be talked about…. a lot of these people struggled with mental health issues. Bipolar primarily. Some managed to hide their pain completely. My spouse still claims one of our friends wasn’t depressed and refuses to believe that was what caused him to take his life… ok honey… believe what you want to if that helps you process. It’s a big problem here in Colorado Springs and there are many theories as to why.. All I know is we need to keep telling our loved ones that we love them and are there for them. Hug their necks as often as we can…

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  161. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - May 21, 2022 5:28 am

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  162. Brant Riley - May 22, 2022 12:54 pm

    Carry on!

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  163. TechiePhil - May 22, 2022 11:18 pm

    I talked with my son, who is in the Army stationed in South Korea, where the COVID pandemic has been a very big deal. But he mentioned in passing that more young soldiers have died from suicide the last two years than from COVID. Tragic.

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  164. Linda Hill - May 23, 2022 12:45 pm

    I think I’ve written this to you before, Sean. My children & I lost their father to suicide October 31, 1984. Almost 38 years ago and we’re still far from “over it”. In our case he was a Vietnam Veteran-but also an Editorial Page Editor for our town’s newspaper. The news of his suicide was leaked to the media so my 3 oldest children heard it on the radio before I could reach them. My rage at that callousness was equaled only by my grief. All this time later it still angers me as much as our horrendous loss rips at my heart. It is somewhat healing to talk/write about it. So keep writing, please. There aren’t enough years in any lifetime to heal completely but sharing it, helps.

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  165. Sherry Thompson - May 24, 2022 2:23 am

    Keep talking! Keep writing! Keep sharing how the dreams become good dreams that can come true! Tell how life can be sweetly lived, (with an excellent cook by your side😊). How hope for better days is never bad. How reaching out overcomes withdrawing. Tell them how anxiety and depression can be replaced with peace and joy. Tell them how love can heal a heart that not only has been hurt, but broken. Tell them to pray, and they will not be alone. Keep talking Sean, they need to keep hearing the voice that understands. And maybe you should share this column and it’s comments with that newspaper!

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  166. Carole Lea - May 24, 2022 4:45 pm

    Keep talking and writing! You are helping yourself and countless others. God bless you, Sean!!

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  167. Vern - May 24, 2022 10:34 pm

    Sean…maybe your best article ever. Keep talking.

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  168. Kathi harper-hill - May 25, 2022 5:20 pm

    I worked in mental health for 31 years. Suicide is the absolute worse thing that can happen to a family. The newspaper needs to open their eyes. Shame on them.

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  169. Bonnie - May 25, 2022 7:07 pm

    Amen Kathi

    Reply

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