Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Best Gift Ever

Life and gifts don't get better than this. Sometimes the best gifts in life are free- or are the cost of a first cent stamp.

Two years ago I worked on a suicide hotline. I cannot go into any more details than that.

I was on the phone one night- around twilight- with a very very suicidal man- who not only had a gun in his hand and was clicking the chambers, but he was very very very drunk.

I spent a long time talking to him, and when the call was over I went out in the pitch black night, no stars, overcast clouds blocking them. I bummed a cigarette, and a lighter, sat down on a bench and cried.

Fast forward to present day. I got a phone call from my former supervisor, and made a commitment to start again on the hotline in the fall, after completing 35 hours of class work this summer. Then she said she got a letter from someone I talked to eons ago, and wanted to mail it to me.

The letter arrived Monday. It had beautiful penmanship, but poor spelling. It went in kind, "thank you for helping me save my life that night, and the few things you have taught me have saved me again when life got that bad. Fortunately, it never got that bad again. I am working now, joined a church and dating a lovely woman.

I wrote this poem for you. I hope you like it and again, thank you.

"There is a rose in the garden
A Beauty with thorns adminst her leaves
If one desires to pick her
He must ask his hands to bleed"

You know, he says I saved his life, but he may have also saved mine.


Herrad said...

Hi Susan,

What a story glad you were both saved and safe now.

Please look at my blog

For your Outstanding Bloggery Award.



Sandy Naiman said...

Hi Susan,

This is a remarkable post. You constantly amaze me. Again and again. Like today.

Thank you for sharing this touching story.

Good luck to both of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh! That made me cry! I'm glad you're going to do that line of work again. :)

Mark p.s./Mark p.s.2 said...

Helping another (who wants help) gives the helpee selfworth for a good job done. Pride in ones work is a great natural antidepressent.
Only it is dangerous to take the job-responsibility on oneself for helping suicidal people because when a suicidal person still chooses to self destruct the helpee might feel responsible. Though most calling/asking for help have to be assumed they want to live , and need someone to talk to.

Polar Bear said...

What a beautiful story. I'm glad too that as much as you helped him, he helped you too.

Gianna said...

that's very beautiful. I'm so glad you got that gift. love to you.

Pyrs said...

It truly a gift given when someone lets us know we've made a positive difference in their lives. And this case a saved life. It can be so life-affirming when someone takes the time to let us know that some word or action of ours has been positively life-altering for them.

Your story serves as a reminder to me not to neglect express my thanks to others when I come to realize the positive contributions they have made in my life. Its far too easy to let the thought pass and take the goodwill of others for granted, and never let them know.

Gratitude creates a positive life-affirming energy for both the receiver and the giver of it. I confess that in my own life I often fail to express it, especially when I am preoccuppied by my own depression.

Thanks for sharing this story.

Anonymous said...

That was wonderfully uplifting. Thank you for sharing!

susan said...

@Herrad, thank you thank you thank you. Tis beautiful. I am very touched.

I will get it up shortly......

@Sandy, thank you. I hope the man is doing Ok. You never know these things.... but it was great to get that letter.

@Svasti- I am sorry I made you cry! Passing you a Kleenex....

I had to stop last year when I got sick with pneumonia and a reaction from one med.....and couldn't do the coursework to continue.

susan said...

@Mark, I think you hit the nail on the head. Most who call don't want to- they just want someone to talk to or help them through their existential crisis.

I know with all my training, the most I ever was, which was a few weeks ago, I didn't even think of calling a place like that because I didn't want to be talked out of doing something I was trying to get up enough courage to do.

@Hi Polar! I missed you! Thank you for the kind words.

@Thank you Gianna. You are an inspiraton to me!

@Pyrs, thank you. You have made a lot of positive contributions in this life time- to humans and kats.

@Bipolar life, thank you. And thank you for writing about Cymbalta on your blog! You helped me!

Anonymous said...

What a magnificent story, Susan - appropriate given that you are a magnificent sort :)

I think my heart skipped a beat at the sheer beauty of that one. Priceless experience.

Wendy Love said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I picked a good story to start on. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story!
Wendy Love

susan said...

@Catatonic Kid- thank you.

@Wendy, glad you stopped by. I hope you stop by again!

Crystal said...

awesome story, sounds like you must have really liked that job - i have been trained in suicide calls because i am a peer health counselor at school, but i've never had a suicide call.

Clr Patricia Ugo said...

I'm glad you got that gift, you deserve it.Thanks for sharing your story.Love from Argentina

susan said...

Thank you Cir Patricia Ugo.

I don't think I have had a comment from Argentina yet. This is neat!

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