From Tragic Loss To Fully Rooted Faith
Faith posted by Erin Davis
Many of you responded last month to our interview with Kim Jaggers
. Kim's husband committed suicide fifteen years ago, and she offered a unique perspective into the lasting impact of suicide.
This month, Kim's son Will opens up to us about how his dad's suicide impacted his life. Will is eighteen
and a senior in high school. You will find his wise insight into his family's tragedy and his source of hope in today
and tomorrow's posts. Erin: Briefly share the circumstances around your dad's death.Will:
It was fifteen years ago on September 5th; I was only three years old. You'd think something
that happened when I was that young wouldn't impact me like it has. He was my hero, and everyone said I loved being around
him. I don't remember Mom telling me my dad had died, but I remember feeling the pain.
As the years went by,
I was told more of the story about the awful day my dad drove to a warehouse owned by his company, filled his truck with carbon
monoxide, and took his life. What had been a fairy-tale life for my parents had spiraled downward with a series of tragic
events including the premature birth of my brother, the loss of income and our home. My church-going, straight-laced, former-president-of-his-senior-class,
college-football-playing dad turned to cocaine to attempt to find relief. I guess he thought he couldn't beat the addiction,
and during life-threatening surgery for my little brother he committed suicide. I don't know for sure what he was thinking.
No one does. He didn't leave a note. I struggled for years with one question, If he loved us, why would he leave us?Erin: What do you remember about the time when your dad died? Will:
I don't have many memories of my dad. I remember him tying my shoes. I kind of remember the last day I saw him. He left
to take the garbage, and I wanted to go with him. My mom says I had just learned that Daddy went to work to make money, and
after he died I was worried about how we would have money. I remember drawing a picture of him and then drawing me with him.
I guess I wanted to be with him.Erin: How has your dad's decision to commit suicide impacted your
life as a teenager? Will:
Suicide just sucks, to be honest with you. As a teenager,
you really want to fit in. Once people find out your dad killed himself, you are automatically different. There is always
an uncomfortable awkwardness once people learn about my history. I remember when I was younger and before many of my friends
knew, I sat in a class at my Christian school where they debated if people who kill themselves can go to heaven or not. It
was all I could do not to cry.
There have been many things that have made me so sad over the years. I have often
wondered what it would be like to have really known Rick. It seems weird even calling him my dad. I wonder how things would
have been different if he had stuck around. I wonder how I would be different. I wonder, am I like him? I hate what he did
so much. For a while, I hated him. I don't anymore.Erin: What impact has your family's unique
circumstances had on your faith?Will:
This is going to seem crazy, but I don't think
I would know God like I do and have such a strong faith if Rick had not killed himself. I have had to lean on God in ways
that most people don't. I found out early that people can let you down. God never will. For a while, I had trouble trusting
people. I think I am definitely still more cautious about letting people get close enough to hurt me.
I also knew
for a long time that I needed to forgive Rick. It probably took longer than it should. Once I did though, a burden was lifted.
I am definitely a lot happier since I did. Unforgiveness is such a weight on your chest—and that is no way to live.
One good thing about everything that happened is that I learned my security comes from God—not people or
circumstances. God is good. I never really got mad at Him. I don't know if that was by God's grace or because I was
so young. From a very early age, God has been my father figure. My mom constantly talked about how He was providing for us
and taking care of us. She always told me how much He loved me and that He would never leave us or forsake us. God is real
to me because I have a real, personal relationship with Him. I read my Bible every day because I want to hear from Him. I
want to get to know Him better and grow in my relationship with Him. I pray and read my Bible to get answers to my questions
and to get guidance on making decisions. I also find comfort there. There is such a peace (that doesn't make any sense)
that comes from a real relationship with Jesus.
Thoughts On Suicide From One Of Its Victims
posted by Erin Davis on 09/13/11;
In yesterday's post,
eighteen-year-old senior, Will Jaggers opened up about the impact of his father's suicide, fifteen years ago. Check out
the second half of his interview here. (Note: Pay close attention to where Will finds hope.) Erin: What
would you say to one of our readers who is considering suicide as a way to escape their circumstances?Will:
Your emotions and your circumstances will change. That is just how life is. However, if you choose to kill yourself, that
is permanent and you can't get a do-over. You can't take it back. Others do care. Suicide should not be an option.
It is a horrible thing. Being a victim of suicide, I want you to think about others around you and how much it will hurt them.
However, if you are just thinking about you ... if you don't know Jesus and you kill yourself, you are definitely going
to hell. It is a real place, and there is no escape from the eternal torment you would face. You will not find relief.
If you believe you are a Christian, and you believe you can still go to heaven even if you kill yourself (and I am
not going to argue this one here), then you have to agree you are at the very least giving up some of the rewards you would
have in heaven. You are missing things God has planned for you. He has GOOD things planned for you. He really does.
He can and does bring good from awful, hard situations. I am living proof of that. So is my family.Erin:
Where do you find hope?Will:
JESUS, prayer, the Word, other believers ... especially
my dad, Deron Jaggers. He married my mom and adopted me and my little brother. He is the greatest man I have ever known. He
chose to love me. He is a good friend to me. The cool thing is he loves God more than he loves us, and that helps me know
he will always love us, too. He has always encouraged me to stay close to God and depend on Him more than anything. He has
been through some hard things of his own, and I have seen God be his peace. Erin: Specifically,
who has helped you as you work through the pain of losing your father?Will:
My dad (Deron)
... and I have to say my mom and God. My mom kept making me talk and sometimes when I didn't want to. The Enemy is the
father of all lies, and he loves to try to get us to believe some garbage. When you talk about things and bring them out in
the light, it helps you see the lies for what they are—lies. God says in His Word that we are to take every thought
captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I try to compare my thoughts against God's truth. This helps me with
lots of things in life and gives me hope.Erin: What steps would you encourage our readers to take who
are struggling and don't know where to turn for help?Will:
Tell someone! Tell your
pastor, a friend, your parents, call a suicide prevention hotline. Don't sit there and be a lone ranger. The devil loves
a lone ranger. Go where you can hear some truth. Pick up your Bible. God loves you so much. You have so much to live for.
Run to Jesus. Run to a real relationship with Him. God says His plans for you are exceedingly, abundantly more than you can
ask or imagine. You will get past this. Tell someone!