Completing our “Snowbird” season, en route to our final Florida RV campground, we stopped at a USPS office to mail a package. Another customer in line asked about my Stephen Ministry nametag. I explained that twenty years ago, I’d taken 50 hours of training to be a Christian caregiver. Now I’ve developed a website, www.yourexitstrategy.org to encourage families to start talking about their End of Life plans. I was blown away when he said, “I’ve already found the cheapest way to get rid of my body when I’m gone—I’m donating it to medical science.”
Reflexively, I said, “Me too! My husband and I signed up with MedCure six years ago. In fact, I’m leading a seminar next Monday afternoon—would you like to come?” He declined because he’d be at work.
Returning to the car, I had a gut level reaction at how unusual this conversation had been, and went back inside to ask how he’d made that decision. He blurted out that he lived alone and had been considering suicide. At 23, he had no church affiliations, no health insurance, and so no prescription meds for depression. I reminded him that his life was valuable; God loved him, and would not want him to take his own life. I mentioned a favorite Methodist church that we’d attended, known for its friendly pastoral staff and congregation. I gave him my business card, but he’s never called.
I’m writing this blog post with the hope that he will find it here. His name and location have been changed to protect his identity. Although the letter is for him, it may be of interest to any who have contemplated that drastic step or who know family members who have done so.
April 30, 2015
Dear Sam, I’ve not been able to get you out of my mind, and I hope you’ll call if and when you need someone to talk to. Besides keeping you in my prayers, I looked at the Lake County website yesterday for resources that might help you.
- www.floridadiscountdrugcard.com Enroll by phone: 866-341-8894.
- I copied 16 phone numbers, and started with the Leesburg Community Health Center: they have a three to five month backup to enroll new patients. However, she suggested I call “United Way 211.”
Here’s where I hit pay dirt!
- The National Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-2433. This number also serves the Veterans Crisis line.
- On your browser, type www.HeartofFloridaUnitedWay.com –at the bottom left side of the page, you will find a “211” contact. Click on the blue box “FREE HELP Open 24 hours.” There are options to chat, email or text: 898-211.
- http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 1-800-273-8255
- www.211us.org opens a map of the United States to show locations across the country.
We’ve been retired for so many years, it’s hard to imagine the struggles your generation, The Millennials, are facing. One website that I’ve found very encouraging is www.dosomething.org I’m ineligible because I’m over 26! The projects that these young people have created are amazing.
Blessings and best wishes,
In HIS Love,