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Monday, 30 July 2012


Last month I wrote about my brother Paul who committed suicide.

Sometimes when we open up our hearts to others we expose dim, dusty corners. It's like opening the curtains on a sunny morning. What had been gray and indistinct becomes clear, you can suddenly see detail.

After I wrote that post, one memory kept coming back to me. It was the last conversation I had with my brother. The kids and I were in Owen Sound visiting my parents. At the time we had three children, a seven month old, a two year old and a nine year old. We'd spent part of the day with Paul. The rest of the day was spent keeping up with the children. During the afternoon and evening Paul called numerous times to speak with my mother. She was a patient, kind and understanding woman, her heart went out to anyone who needed help. She was a good listener, which is why Paul called her so often. Sometimes though, it's the compassionate, kind people who wear themselves out. That evening my mother was exhausted. When my brother called for the umpteenth time that day, I picked up the phone, he wanted to speak to my mother again. I told mom who it was and her face fell, she was wiped out, drained. I felt caught, my brother needed to talk, my mother was worn out. I thought maybe he would talk to me. I told him that Mom was worn out and needed a rest, too tired to come to the phone. Paul exploded! He screamed in my ear. At that moment I knew that any conversation was not possible so I said, "Paul I love you but I have to hang up now." He yelled again and I hung up. It was the last time I spoke to him, he died less than a week later.

Remembering this makes me deeply sad. I have never really thought about that last conversation. I didn't wanted to look at that memory, I kept it in a corner, half hidden. I was aware of it but I ignored it. I didn't want to look at it because it hurt too much and I had those awful niggling feelings of guilt.

Since I wrote the post that memory has been exposed to the fresh air and light of Jesus love. I have cried, mourned. I wish that my last conversation with my brother had been pleasant, but it wasn't. I have talked with Jesus about it and he is helping me to see the memory more clearly. My brother had attempted suicide before, more than once. He was a troubled young man and I was unable to help him, it was beyond me, beyond my mother, father or any of my other brothers. We did what we could and it wasn't enough. We are only human.

 Paul gave his heart to Jesus, he went through the waters of baptism, but still suffered in a way that few understand. He is with the Lord in a place where there is no sorrow or suffering.  The Lord gave me this portion of scripture long ago about my brother, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." God's grace is greater than any other; he is full of compassion and mercy.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!

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