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A good assumption to make

Let us open our arms to each other, accept each other for who we are, assume everyone is doing the best he or she can, and look for ways to help leave quiet messages of love and encouragement. -Marvin J. Ashton

When I read this quote, I thought of something I wrote on the one year anniversary of my nephew's death. It was straight from my broken heart and I've decided even though it's not perfect, I'm sharing it in all its authentic truth. Losing my nephew to suicide truly changed my heart and I see everyone differently. I don't want anyone to feel like he did, hopeless and unwanted. And I think if more people lived by this guidance from Elder Ashton.

My truly amazing 15-year-old nephew died by suicide a year ago. I can honestly say without a doubt it was the hardest thing I've ever experienced. I think it was (is) hard mostly because I love him and miss him and will always miss him, but it was also hard because I talked to him about his suicidal thoughts so I feel a lot of guilt like maybe I said the wrong things or didn't say enough or should have done more. I'm not trying to make this about me, I'm just keeping it real. I know suicide affects many people yet we don't talk about it very much... I guess it's because we don't know what to say. Well, I have a few things to say...
I think life is hard yet we are all TRULY doing the best we can to navigate the chaos. I really, truly believe that! Sometimes when a loved one or even a stranger does something I think is hurtful, I ask myself, 'are they doing the best they can?' Without fail, the answer is yes... with their history and their coping skills and what information they have about the situation, I really believe they're responding in a way they think is best. So it's just so much easier at that point to love and forgive and move on! I think once we see that we're all doing our best, we can LOVE each other a little more and we can judge a lot less. I've been working on not judging this year... it is easier said than done, but certainly we can TRY. I think it's okay not to be okay. I think we should show up authentically and be true and present and real with each other, giving others permission to do the same. I think it's a terrible idea to compare yourself to anyone else, especially the unintentional false ideal portrayed on social media. I think we will never regret being kind. I think we could adjust our priorities a LOT and find an abundant amount of time and resources to be there for the people we know, and many that we don't know, who could use some uplift in their life. I know I'm not ultimately responsible for how anyone else feels or any actions they take, but it certainly won't hurt to be as loving as possible in every single situation.
If anyone happens to be reading this who is depressed or suicidal, please get help. Call your mom, call your aunt, call your friend... and don't just call them - get radically honest with them about your thoughts and feelings... get on your knees and talk to your maker, tell Him everything, ask Him for whatever it is you need! Call the National Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK... Every instant you're alive, you have a choice to make... choose hope and choose life. It will get better. It might be hard and messy first, but it will get better. You are loved. You are not alone. You will be amazed at the miracles and joy that await! Choose life.


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