Every night in my dreams,
I see you, I feel you;
That is how I know you go on.

Far across the distance,
And spaces between us,
You have come to show you go on.

~ Lyrics from, "My Heart Will Go On." ~

There is a vile word in the English language that is unlimited to four letters. That word is "Suicide."

When my daughter died in this horrific manner, I felt a "holding back" from people...It was as though they didnít want to talk about her anymore. They seemed to hesitate to even mention her name. Didnít they understand that she existed, and my love for her didnít end with her death? I longed to talk about Lisa and often bent the ear of strangers. But, silence with some of the people who knew her became a chasm I was unable to breach. What were they afraid of? Didnít they know that I desperately needed to hear her name? Didnít they know that it did not matter to me how she died...Just that she did die. But, I came to understand that this silence frequently accompanies death by one's own hand. And, to be honest, I must admit that it took literally years for me to even be able to say the word. If I may, I would like to share a bit of what I have learned about the unspeakable "S" word and its victims.

Lisa was a kind, sensitive, loving human being. Too sensitive to carry the burdens of this world, you might say. However, after years of study and reflection, I feel that there was a deeper reason for her death. I believe that she had undiagnosed Bipolar mood disorder, also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder."

The symptoms seemed to begin in her twenties and progressed to where she had no control over her rapidly cycling emotions. Lisa did not want to die. She simply did not see any other way out of an existence that had become unbearable.

Kitty Reeve wrote, "How woefully we underestimated the mental torture {our son} was enduring. How deeply I regret my own lack of knowledge and therefore lack of action to help him. I no longer see his death as a rational choice, but rather as the terrible outcome of an unrelieved clinical depression that sabotaged his thinking and ultimately caused his death." Like this mother, I, too, must live with the facts of my own ignorance.

One man wrote of the suicide death of his beloved wife: "To all those who have loved ones that passed from what seems like their own hand...The death certificate reads, "Self-inflicted Gunshot Wound to the Head." Marilyn would never have killed herself. She would have never meant for me to feel this pain. It was not her that pulled the trigger. It was this terrible bipolar disorder. She died from a disease, just like cancer or any other fatal disease. It was a physical illness, it just happens to be in the brain instead of another part of the body. Maybe it was God, tired of seeing his child suffer. The only thing I know is that it was not her!" He went on to talk about his own pain, but he said that he knew it did not compare to the pain she felt while she was alive.

Yes, Lisa had this pain, this wretched "chemical imbalance of the brain." She also had another chemical imbalance, diabetes. This disease also causes all kinds of mental instability. When you put the two of these illnesses together, her decision to end her life was not a "decision" at all. It was decided for her.

Joyce Andrews wrote, "We whose children have taken their own lives must do all that we can to help eradicate the secrecy and stigma that surround their deaths. If we allow these to persist, we allow their lives to be diminished. We owe our children more than that." About her own daughterís death, she wrote, "I saw her battle firsthand, and I witnessed her valiant struggle to survive. She wanted desperately to live; she died because she thought she had no alternative."

And so it was with Lisa. She thought she had no alternative. With the right medical help and the proper medication, she might have lived a normal life. I beseech everyone who reads this to seek a better understanding of the feared "S" word and those who die from it. Through understanding, lives can be saved and the devastation that occurs in the wake of suicide can be prevented. Being a Christian believer saved my life. But, some believe that, "suicides donít go to Heaven." Desperately needing reassurance, I wailed out my anguish to God and implored Him to tell me where my baby was. He answered the same night, giving me an unbelievable dream about Lisa. The dream told me in no uncertain terms that Lisa was with Him. I came to feel that God had shown mercy towards Lisa when He allowed her to come to Him. He knew that life as she knew it was too painful for her to continue.

"There is no suffering greater than that which drives people to suicide; suicide defines the moment in which mental pain exceeds the human capacity to bear it.  It represents the abandonment of hope."

"When Someone Takes His Own Life"
By Norman Vincent Peale

In many ways, this seems the most tragic form of death. Certainly it can entail more shock and grief for those who are left behind than any other. And often the stigma of suicide is what rests most heavily on those left behind. My heart goes out to those who are left behind, because I know they suffer terribly.The immediate family of the victim is left wide open to tidal waves of guilt; "What did I fail to do that I should have done?  What did I do that was wrong?" To such grieving persons I can only say, "Lift up your heads and your hearts. Surely you did your best. Surely the loved one who is gone did his best, for as long as he could. Remember, now, that his battles and torments are over. Do not judge him, and do not presume to fathom the mind of God where this one of His children is concerned."

A few years ago, when a young man died by his own hand, a service for him was conducted by his pastor, the Rev. Weston Stevens. What he said that day expresses far more eloquently than I can, the message that Iím trying to convey. Here are some of his words:

"Our friend died on his own battlefield. He was killed in action fighting a civil war. He fought against adversaries that were as real to him as his casket is real to us. They were powerful adversaries. They took toll of his energies and endurance. They exhausted the last vestiges of his courage and his strength. At last these adversaries overwhelmed him. And it appeared that he had lost the war. But did he? I see a host of victories that he has won!"

"For one thing, he has won our admiration, because even if he lost the war, we give him credit for his bravery on the battlefield. And we give him credit for the courage and price and hope that he used as his weapons as long as he could. We shall remember not his death, but his daily victories gained through his kindnesses and thoughtfulness, through his love for family and friends, for animals and books and music, for all things beautiful, lovely and honorable. We shall remember not his last day of defeat, but we shall remember the many days that he was victorious over overwhelming odds. We shall remember not the years we thought he had left, but the intensity with which he lived the years that he had. Only God knows what this child of His suffered in the silent skirmishes that took place in his soul. But our consolation is that God does know, and understands."

"I do not ask that you forget your dear departed. I want you to remember. I only ask that you remember more than the moment of death, more than the funeral, more than the house of mourning. Remember life! Remember the whole life, not the final page of it."

Faye Martin ~ Lisa's Mother Forever

Lisa & Mom in happier times.

~ What Is Death? ~

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way, which you always used.

Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without affect, without the trace of a shadow.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.

All is well...

I think I'll go to Heaven.
There I will lay me down,
Leave all the pain behind me;
Bury it in the ground.

I think I'll go to Heaven.
I hear its peaceful there.
They don't allow your troubles,
'Cause everyone's had their share.

I think I'll go to Heaven,
Sail on into the night,
Watch as I set my soul free,
Watch as my heart takes flight.

By: Julie P. Gold
Sung By: Bete Midler

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
No disease that enough love will not heal;
No door that enough love will not open;
No gulf that enough love will not bridge;
No wall that enough love will not throw down;
No sin that enough love will not redeem.

~ written by Lisa Mewbourne ~

There is rejoicing in the darkness of the night,
when His light shines upon that darkness...

Allison Chambers Coxsey

Why the Butterfly?

Since ancient times, the butterfly has symbolized renewed life. The caterpillar signifies life here on earth, the cocoon, death, and the butterfly, the emergence of the dead into a new, beautiful and freer existence. Frequently, the butterfly is seen with the word "Nika,' which means victory. Many bereaved parents embrace the butterfly as a symbol - a sign of hope to them that their children are living in a better place with greater beauty and freedom. They are a celebration of our children's lives. And they send messages of hope to everyone that we "the families" survive but never, ever forget.

How Does One Become a Butterfly?

"How does one become a butterfly?",
she asked pensively.

"You must want to fly so much that you are
willing to give up being a caterpillar."

"You mean to die?" asked Yellow...

"Yes and no," he answered.

"What looks like you will die,
but what's really you will live."

By Trina Paulus,
From, "Hope for the Flowers."