This is suicide awareness month and specifically suicide prevention week. I’m not writing this because of that. To be on the “what’s popular” subject line. It’s great that we have these dates to redirect us back to important subjects when life takes our attention away, but that is not why this is coming up. It’s coming up because tough subjects are my specialty and this is one. It is also coming up because of a stubborn, sweet, completely challenged by being human, soul in our family chose to take his right and complete this physical life through the avenue of suicide a few weeks ago.

Dylan James is his name. It will remain his name as his light didn’t go out by leaving his physical body. The light is a little dimmer in the lives of his parents, siblings and their partners,, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and friends who knew him to be a quiet guy with the crooked, slightly smartass (It’s somewhat of a requirement in the Baird genes to be a smartass.) cornbeef and cabbage loving dude, but he still has his light.

In September there is a focus on learning and I decided that I would use my platform and writing to communicate what I know to be the souls journey when choosing to self terminate. I know I can’t speak from fact, but I trust the souls who have come to me to tell me the process and the ones that have shown me what happened to them and how they were amazed by it. I’m not sugarcoating this process at all. Nor do I want to glamourize it. I want to bring healing to his family but putting a pretty bow on any of this won’t do that. Time and acceptance does that and like I’ve written before, we all grieve differently, so that time is not a measurable aspect.

Every soul, EVERY SOUL, is received in a loving energy when they cross. It does not matter what helps us leave our physical body or how we lived here. Every soul is greeted with love, spirit hugs and what I like to think of as a spiritual high five. So, even if someone decides to take their life, they are immediately in this experience of pure love.

We all have a contract of our time in and our time out. There is a little wiggle room and exit points along our lives but should someone choose that they are done here and forcibly complete their own contract, they will participate in the life review and then be received into what we would consider counseling here. I have had teenagers who crossed as a means of suicide tell me “you can’t hide from them here!” I loved that because it meant that they were being taken care of as our souls can be as fragile as our human self and it can fragment so the process of not being able to avoid help is a big relief to me. Remember, we don’t cross with our ego so this isn’t as challenging as it would seem here. I imagine it is still a little annoying as conveyed by one of my daughter’s friends who chose to complete her young life. Oh man, that girl would sit on the edge of my bed every night and talk and talk and talk. Some things don’t change on the other side!

I have had the blessing, and heartache, to work and be related to those who have felt so helpless that their only thought was “I have to get out of here.” While I have never felt that desperate, I can feel their pain and it is massive. It needs to be honored. I always ask if they have a plan and have driven a couple people to be evaluated by licensed professionals. I’ve refused to coach someone, except in conjunction with a therapist, if there is a knowing on my part that they are that fragile. The irony is, those that ultimately take their lives often appear to be doing the best they have in a while. We aren’t responsible for another’s emotions but we could pay a little better attention to the people who matter and less to the stuff we think does.

Once someone has gone through the counseling process on the other side, there is the message conveyed to them that they didn’t get a free pass. They will be doing another life with similar challenges and they will have to do this all over again with a slightly heightened attention to the learning they didn’t complete. This isn’t punishment. This is the way of the soul. We know that when we come in but we forget about it. So, when I have worked with those that I knew were solid and perhaps looking for the shock value from me that they are going to take their lives, I remind them that if you think this sucks, let’s see what the next one looks like. It’s a bit like being belligerent and not doing your homework thinking it will make things easier on you. It won’t. Do your work here. Get the help. Try new things. Listen to your soul.

When I’ve been able to communicate with those who have crossed via suicide, I am comforted by the acceptance they have of this idea. Because, no one really wants to bail on their life. The soul is stronger than that. They just want out of the pain, the dead end (intended) life view they have, the frustration, the annoyance of being human and all the other myriad confusions that come with being a soul having this human ride. This is one of the reasons I am so blunt about responsibility and accountability and that no one can do it for you. It feels GOOD to take responsibility once you have some tools to do it. Find the tools!

Let’s be honest that there are many ways to commit suicide. I’m not talking about the quick actions we mostly hear about. I am talking about the slow suicide people do by smoking, eating crappy, working too much, ignoring inner pain, drinking, being miserable just to be miserable, not seeking medical or emotional help, poor relationships etc. My husband and I had this discussion a couple times in his lifetime. He was very much like Dylan and just didn’t feel this was the planet for him. No, he didn’t think he was an alien, he just didn’t fit and he was emotionally lazy. He wanted me to do all the work for him. I did for over twenty years and then as much as I loved him, I wasn’t helping by doing it anymore and I placed it in his lap to do. His choice was to ignore medical advice, to eat poorly and to continue smoking even when he thought I didn’t know about it. It was his way out because he wouldn’t do the deed himself but he would by omission and that, to me, is agreeing to do it too. Now, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t honor his choice as a soul but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt or tick me off when I was trying so hard for the two of us. It created conflict with us because I knew it wasn’t me or the kids he wanted to leave, it was the lack of light he saw in his own self and this world, but I also wanted to, and did, scream “DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE!” It really is a gift this human life and he heard me say it but didn’t want to do his own process to feel it himself.

I knew I had no say over his choices. I actually like that part of relationships once I learned that I can care but don’t have to carry. We can’t take away others pain. We can’t even understand their choices sometimes. We don’t get that they aren’t hearing how much we love them and to stay and try for us but sometimes, they can’t and we need to honor that through our pain no matter how hard because that is how we learn and work our contract.

One of the comforts I had when I heard about Dylan was that Howard was there and he would understand what it felt like as a human and could show him the ropes until he remembered what being in nonphysical life was like.

This September let’s commit to learning how to best take care of our own emotions. Let’s be present and allow people to cry and hold them when they do. Let’s hear their frustrations without being afraid of what it is asking of you. Let’s hold someone’s fears as valid and be the heart and ears they require. It may not change the outcome, but I promise you will feel you contributed to what was comfort in their, and your, life. It takes courage to take one’s life. It takes courage to be in another’s life. Let’s do the latter so the former isn’t a consideration of last resort. Shall we?

P.S. I had permission from D’s parents to talk about this. I would like to thank them publicly for their courage and the gift of knowing them and their boys for the last thirty plus years.