September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide. It impacts millions of families worldwide annually. Each year, 34,598 people die by suicide.

An average of 94 completed suicides every day. More people die by suicide than by homicide (18,361) in the United States. Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death across all ages.*

My aunt died by suicide in her late 20’s. Dear friends lost their daughter, a college sophomore. The list goes on and on.

The following letter was written by a young man to his friend who died by suicide. The I Am Second website posted it. They typically share life-changing videos of celebrities, but this was different – special. I believe his letter contains important messages parents need to share with their children who struggle.

Each one could be spoken by a worried parent to a beloved son or daughter. We think they already know these things, but they need to be reminded. They need to hear it from your lips, because when the heavy cloud of depression and despair settles down on the heart and mind you develop amnesia. You forget.

These simple phrases could be life-saving.

Dear Daniel,

I was the last person you ever called and I missed it. I’m still not sure how it happened. But you took your life before I could call you back. I remember calling the next day. Your mom answered and said they couldn’t find you. I try not to hit myself every day since. I don’t know how heaven works, if you are able to hear me or not. But if you can this is what I would have told you, this is why NOT to end your life. And if you can’t hear me, then I hope someone who can will know though you seem alone, there is someone who cares.

  1. You are loved.

I used to cry myself to sleep. I’d beg God for one good friend. Picked on at school, bullied, lonely, hurt. I needed someone. You chose to be that someone. I don’t think I ever told you the dark spot I was in when we met. But you brought me out of it. Maybe you feel unworthy or undeserving of love in this moment. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to wonder if anybody at all loves you. Let me be real clear on this: I love you.

  1. You are forgiven.

Maybe it’s guilt that’s brought you here. We all need forgiveness. You have no monopoly on that. If you need it from me, you can have it. I’ve never denied you that. If you need it from God, just ask. He’s forgiven far worse.

  1. You are not alone

Maybe you feel alone. Maybe you feel the battles you face make you alone in this world. You are wrong. You are neither alone, nor unloved. I am here. Others are here. Even if you don’t feel our love, we love.

  1. The world is NOT better without you

You never said why you chose this path. I wonder if perhaps you thought we’d be better without you. We are not. You had struggles and they hurt me. That is true. But your friendship has always and will always be worth it. I’d rather have you with all your mess than spend my life unable to say thank you for the kindness you gave me in my time of need. Let me be there for you as you were for me ...

Read the full post by Tom and Dena Yohe on the Hope for Hurting Parents blog

Hope for Hurting Parents provides "resources for parents hurting over destructive behaviors or choices of their teen to adult children."
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