Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

Darkest hour just before dawn

By Jim Turner | Jul 13, 2017

To the editor:

What do you say to someone who tells you they can’t take it anymore? The friend who says life isn’t worth living? The family member who is talking about suicide? Not an easy question by any means but also a question that may require a common sense answer. Which is to suggest the help of a trained professional.

But in the event that you decide to attempt a useful answer, it is always best to say “This too shall pass.” The question that might follow is, “When?” And no one knows. No one can safely say with complete confidence when the suffering in a person’s life will end. But they can say it will pass eventually because everything does pass eventually.

The next useful thing to say is “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.” When people are miserable and suffering and have been for a long time they do know that things can just as easily get worse before they get better. And in some cases the person you are talking to has already seen things get worse.

But it is still vitally important that you tell them, “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.” Because it is true. It is true because poets, songwriters, and philosophers have known this for thousands of years. We find it in songs and poetry and in the folklore and mythology of every culture.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash have said it in their songs. So have Steely Dan. So have other recording artists in the last few years. They all say it in their own way but the truth is the same: when the suffering is at its worst, it is time to hold on just one more time; just long enough for the dawn to come, the light at the end of the tunnel, the morning after.

There are few people who will get through their lives without knowing at least one person who decides to end their lives.

It is traumatic and can be devastating; as much for the loss as it is for wondering if anything could have been said or done to prevent it.

This is a difficult question-it is impossible to say what could or would prevent someone from taking their own life. But you can try -- there is no harm in trying ever -- so keep in mind these two time honored phrases. You will know when to use them.


– Jim Turner, Fairfield

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