Cherish These Twelve Seconds

It’s late.
He tells me he
Doesn’t want to live,
How he’ll do it,
Take his life

And I will my heart to slow,
My mouth to shut
So I can
Hear,

Reach through the red,
Grab truth and
Hold it tight

Because he
Can’t see,
Crushed past caring,
Shrouded in gray

“Just an hour,” I say,
“Not a week or a month
Or even a day,
Just the very next thing.

He wills against emotion,
“One week.”

Oh, God!

I ask for a month,
Time for God to work

He writes it in red

One month in
Minutes and hours
Counting backwards from his
Wrist

Thirty days
Shrouded in gray,

I huddle,
Chilled to the soul,
Waiting for day

Praying silent,
Without words
I can no longer find.

I wake him Sunday
Touch his shoulder warm

We made it
Through the night…

And stop!

A cold black knife
Gapes from the sheet,
Angry words scrawled
Across both wrists,
FAITH and TRUST.

“Tatoos?” I ask trying to smile

“To remind me,” he admits,
Not to do it.”

Ohhhhhhh…

Fear curls cruel fingers
Round my gut and
Words whisper hard,
“I’m glad.”

Oh, Lord…

You are my God,
In perfect faithfulness,
A refuge to the needy,
A shelter from the storm.

On this mountain You will destroy
The shroud that enfolds,
The sheet that covers,

You will swallow up death and
Wipe away tears,
Because surely
You are God!*

I lean low,
Kiss his forehead
And whisper,
“I love you.”

“Cherish these twelve seconds,”
My husband had whispered to me just last week.

“Hmmm,” I muse. “How wise.”
Cause what if one day
These twelve seconds are really

All we’ve got?

*Taken from Isaiah 25:1,4,7,8,9

These have been the hardest parenting moments of my life. But in all, God is GOOD and He is enough…more than enough…always. This isn’t an easy read, but our hope as a family is that telling this story, being open and honest and transparent, will offer hope to someone else to “cherish these twelve seconds” and give God time to work.

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15 Comments

Filed under Poetry

15 responses to “Cherish These Twelve Seconds

  1. Powerful, Cindee. Powerful.

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  2. Wow. Is this an imagined conversation? Because if it’s real, this person needs real, ready help. I’ve walked a congregation through two suicides so I do not take this at all lightly – if it’s put into words, it is far too easy to put into action. There are excellent suicide hotlines and some very helpful websites as well. Here’s one: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Praying this is a lot of poetic license and that you are not really dealing with this difficult situation.

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    • Diana, this is real, and that’s part of why we opted to post the poem. As a family we’ve decided to be open and honest and transparent about the struggle, about walking this unexpected road, knowing that darkness lessens when exposed to Light, Truth, and Love. Thank you for the resources link. I’ll be clicking that next. 🙂 We have pulled in resources here too.

      I apologize for a painful read, but we felt, together, that the words needed to be released for God to use. May they be, beyond our understanding, all for His great glory!

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      • Oh, Cindee. I am so, so sorry. Surely one of the toughest illnesses to deal with in anyone, most especially our children. Praying that some combination of talk therapy/chemical balancing/prayer will open up the darkness and let the light shine in. Extra hugs to all of you. And you do not need to apologize at all – I was pretty sure this was for real because of the depth of the pain. I just didn’t want it to be.

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  3. Oh… this is painful to read. But good to remember to “cherish these twelve seconds.”

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  4. Sharon O

    wow… is this a story or a real ‘situation’ I too am worried.

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  5. Amazing; haunting; beautiful. So much depth.

    Thank you, Cindee.

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  6. Oh Lord… this causes me to pray over the raw, face value of these words, against the pain, fear, and confusion of the issues … and for the peace, power and wisdom that is needed in overcoming them.
    Thank you Diana for providing your insight and available resources.

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  7. I can remember when my son Ian was sick and spent most of his life in the hospital, everyday i would be there. I was luck as my job allowed me all the time i needed to spend with him. And i gave him all the time i could and i treasured every moment of it. I remember the last time i saw him alive as he played in my arms, slept in my arms, and when i left the hospital he smiled at me and laughed! The next morning i was awaken bya phone call to quickly come to the hospital…when we arrived they told us he passed while swinging in his swing his most favorite past time. He just stopped breathing. It was mother’s day and he was only eight months old. But i gave all i could to him during them eight months and i gave him to the lord. We know not our times, but one thing we can change in our lives is to give as much as we can to our family and friends, co-workers, and strangers you meet because you never know when our time or their times will come. Every moment of life is special! Thanks for the lovely message!

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    • Oh…Wendell…what you’ve experienced just breaks my mama heart! I’m so sorry! And you are so right. We do not know the number of our days, but we do the choice to love and love well, lavishly, deeply, as completely as we know how. Every moment IS special! Thank you for sharing your story and for reading a part of ours. Bless you!

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  8. Diana has already expressed my concerns. Just adding my voice–if this is real, please, get help today.

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  9. I am in awe of your humility in sharing part of your family’s story to His glory, a true witness of surrender and faith. Blessings to you all.

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  10. Cindee, Cindee…oh, how my heart aches for you. You have had so many arrows slung at you lately. I hope that you are taking care of yourself with all the stress you have endured. Praying for all you need. Blessings of the Lord’s storehouse for you, dear one!

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  11. Oh, Cindee, I’ve been in your place. My son tried Suicide by Cop on Mother’s Day, three months after my husband unexpectedly passed away. His step-father’s death was the catalyst to my son giving up on life. He made many poor choices and the repercussions had long lasting results. Rebellious, and defensive of his life choices, he ran off. We did not hear from him for over a year. We did not know if he was alive. His reappearance brought more drama and crises, coming to a dreadful climax that night. His step-father’s death made it impossible for my son to say he was sorry for all the hateful words, to mend the rift. This cut deep because his step-father was a good man, and loved my sons as if they were his own flesh and blood.

    Thanks to experienced officers, my son survived that night, went through counseling and is now a happily married father of two. He still has moments that are a struggle, but his wonderful wife keeps him from falling too far. She is a saint.

    Praying for you and your son. May God reveal to him a way to live in peace with joy.

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    • Cecilia, oh…thank you for sharing your story. Hard, good, rent, blessed, wrung, filled. Holding on. Trusting in God. Living grateful for this moment…even in the hard, maybe because of the hard. Bless you!

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