My View From The Country

Opinion: A Friend Contemplates Suicide

I was surprised to get a call from my friend saying he was at the end of his rope, sitting in a motel room, and contemplating the inexplicable.

I had a disturbing call this week from someone I know, but didn’t really know. After looking at this article, he gave me permission to talk about this, because it made me realize just how important it is to connect with others.

This individual is a friend, but I don’t know how to explain our relationship. We’ve shared a few dinners, had some good discussions about genetics and cows, and we have a shared love of our kids, etc. While we might talk once a month, it never was anything too personal.

So, I was surprised to get a call from him saying he was at the end of his rope, sitting in a motel room, and contemplating the inexplicable. Before I go further, let me report that he didn’t pull the trigger, and I pray he finds the strength to see the light. Still, it hit me hard, and I still don’t really know all the details.

Like in many cases where people just get overwhelmed, it was a combination of bad decisions by my friend, and mistakes that compounded to the point it seemed there was no hope. He was looking at losing the people he loved and his identity, and he was desperate to make things right. Not able to do so, he was at the end of his rope.

The experience and situation underscored for me the beauty of the Christian faith, a place where one can find not only unconditional love, but forgiveness and hope. There is the promise of a new beginning and, more importantly, the strength to overcome.

In my weekly writings, I often address the thrill and beauty of ranching, but it can be a high-stress life as well. We all have a lot of responsibility – for ourselves, those we love, our animals and resources, our family legacy, etc.

I have no training in counseling and I didn’t say anything profound to my friend during that tense call; I just listened. Thankfully, that was all that was required. I just want to say that, as bleak as things might look, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. That isn’t original, of course, but the point is that no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, there is always a way out and a way forward.

Anyone struggling to find such light needs to find someone who can help them get there. Like a drought, the rain may be too little too late, but eventually it will come. The key is finding a way to get to the next rain or shower. Recovery can be slow but it will come with work, patience and love. 

I, for one, will be striving more to not only look for the light in my own life, but for those who are having trouble finding it in theirs and feel swallowed up by the darkness. Let’s look out for one another.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 11, 2013

Troy, Just wanted to thank you for sharing this with us, times are changing and we'll have different situations. Just remember "You can always count your closet friends on hand".
Keep up the good work.
MH

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 13, 2013

Unfortuantely we just experienced 2 suicides in our small community. One was a respected law enforcement officer, who took his own life. While he seemed fine on the outside obviously more was going on that he did not let his friends or coworkers see. The second was a 19 year old who had recently hit a state patrol car while drunk and could not face going to jail...He expressed his distess to his friends who thought he was fine...He was not. Mental health probelms and lack of suppot for those suffering in the US is amajor problem. I hope the gun control discussions will help bring this issue to the national spot light.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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