"O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?"
There I was, standing near the edge of the subway platform at Chambers Street—feeling the hot, muggy wind surging forward through the tunnel from the arriving train and crashing against my face. Just a few more minutes and the "A" train would be charging its way into the station. All I had to do was time it just right, and then, ever so quickly, jump off the platform right in front of the oncoming train.
BAM! That's it! It would over for me.
But then, I begin to ponder. No...no. It may not work out exactly like that. Someone might get in my way because now, all of a sudden, the Chamber Street platform was starting to get crowded. It must of been the beginning of rush hour. And besides, knowing my luck, I'd end up having to shove through a bunch of people to get to the edge. I'd probably bump into someone and possibly make them fall with me. No, I couldn't have that happening, I didn't want to kill anyone else...just myself.
I remember shuddering at the very thought of continuing to live! To live through another day was simply unbearable.
Then I thought, maybe I should back up a little to get a running start. That way, the impact of the train against my body would definitely guarantee my speedy death? Hmmmm, or should I instead just stay where I am, close to the edge and just begin to inch my feet ever closer to the ledge so I could kind of like fall over, letting my feet slip off the platform? Yeah, I'll just stay where I'm at—that's better.
I looked around to see who was within my close surroundings; I wanted to ensure that this would be an uncomplicated fall. I noticed how dark the tunnel looked as I peered down at the tracks running into it. Suddenly, I remembered that there was the third rail that was supposedly full of electricity. Should I perhaps climb down onto the tracks and just touch the third rail? Would death come quickly, or would there be a violent electrocuting pain? Naw, I'll stick to my original plan. Besides, I don't want to give anyone the opportunity to try and "save me"—God forbid that from happening!
Jump, Jump, Jump!
Yes, I could hear the roar of the engine as it was quickly approaching, and I could see the front lights of the train in full view. Yes, I felt happiness mixed with fear and freedom mixed with dread. I looked down once more at the tracks and then quickly glanced from side to side to make sure it was clear of pedestrians. Okay...here it goes. Jump, jump, jump!!!
Out of no where, a hand grabs me around my waist and pulls me backwards, I spin around to see who it was, and ha! It was my mother! She gave me a stern look and said, "Back up from that platform girl before you fall WandaMarie!"
I took a big gulp of air and swallowed my tongue (at least that's what it felt like) and just nodded my head in agreement. The train whizzed by, and the wind almost knocked my 145-pound frame down.
Where in the world did my mother come from?! She was supposed to be at work at this time of day! Plus, this train station is nowhere near her job! Well, before she could corner me and ask me any questions, I slipped into the crowd as everyone pushed and packed their way onto the train cars. And just to make sure that I was far enough away from her, I pushed and shoved my way down three train cars...out of sight, out of mind.
Feeling Like There Was No Way Out...
As if seven kids living in a household with strict, religious rules wasn't oppressive enough, life at church was even more oppressive, hence, the reason for wanting to simply die. Life was becoming exceedingly overwhelming.
My family was part of a very religious, very Pentecostal church that I absolutely loved being a part of since nine years of age. My entire life revolved around my childhood church where I grew up at. Church was a major part of our lives.
A False Accusation and "Marking the Wrongdoer"
When I was dating my teenage boyfriend, we were wrongly accused of committing the damnable act of FORNICATION in a nearby park. This false accusation caused me (not him) to be labeled the following: "Here stands the whore of 125th street." (These were the words of my then sweet Pastor, whom I still adore and hold no blame towards.) These were the words that allowed the entire church community to treat me as an outcast. This was called "marking the wrongdoer"—something commonly practiced in the early 80s by many controlling churches. An individual would undergo a public humiliation in front of the entire congregation.
I can't even begin to articulate in human words the level of rejection and dejection I felt because of this event. The pain and trauma was so deafening and numbing that I couldn't hear the explicit names hurled at me like stones. I couldn't even feel the tug on my arms as two ushers held me in place, making me stand in front of the congregation while they engaged in what reminded me of Roman times, when wild beasts were let loose into an arena to attack, maim, and mangle people deemed to be criminals.
The Event Left Me Feeling Empty, Lost, and Utterly Rejected.
I didn't get a chance to prepare my clueless parents, who sat in the back of the church, for what was about to happen to their 16-year-old daughter. Nor did I get a chance to look over at my boyfriend sitting at the drums, hoping to signal to him with my eyes to come to my defense and declare my innocence. All I heard and felt was my heart beating in my throat, and all I saw were hands and arms flailing about in slow motion—like things were being thrown at me. It was all a blur.
That event left me feeling empty, lost, and utterly rejected. The hurt was so deep that I questioned the very existence of God and His Love. I felt as if I had died that day standing there—that I had been spat upon by God Himself. So why not do everyone, including HIM, a favor and just make the death a natural reality—even if I would go to hell instead of heaven?
Was It a Miracle?
After the incident at the train station, I nearly ran home, trying to beat my mom there. The time was around 4pm when I rushed into the house and straight to my bedroom. Two hours went by until I finally got tired of waiting for a knock on my bedroom door, so I cracked the door of my bedroom to listen intently for the sound of my mom's voice talking with my dad.
Nothing. That was strange.
I looked over to their bedroom and noticed the door was wide open. I sort of sauntered down the hall to peer into her room. Nope, she wasn't in her bedroom. I decided to walk to the kitchen, which was opposite the living room where they usually sat and chatted about the day's events. As I slowly walked by, trying to act as normal as possible, I glanced into the living room. No momma.
Looking for an Explanation
Well, guess what? My mom didn't get home until 8:30pm. I waited until she came through the door and got herself settled before I asked her why she was at the Chambers Street train station so early today. My mom gave me this puzzled look and shook her head to say no, she wasn't at anybody's train station. She had been stuck inside her work building all day and never came outside until 6:30pm. In fact, she even had her lunch in her building's cafeteria. As she rambled on, complaining about a coworker who wouldn't stop talking to save her soul so she could eat her lunch in peace, I drifted away into my thoughts, playing the day's event over and over again in my head.
To this day, I don't have any explanation as to what had happened. Who was it that grabbed me around my waist and pulled me away from the platform? I know it was my mother; I looked her right in the face. But I also know my mom was speaking the truth because she NEVER lies about nothing to anyone—never.
A Turning Point
A miracle? Yes, I believe it was—in the form of an angel, perhaps my Guardian Angel. I believe we all have angels assigned to us from the time of our birth, I would like to believe at least seven of them. Whatever the truth may be, that night, as I laid in my bed, I made up my mind that I was meant to live, not die.
Suicide Is a Leading Cause of Death—But Also Highly Preventable
Suicide causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. On average, 129 Americans die by suicide every day, most commonly in middle-aged and older adults. In 2013, in the U.S. alone, about nine million people reported having suicidal thoughts.
But suicide is preventable, so it's vitally important to know what to do when you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts. I realize now that I really didn't want to take my life—I just wanted to stop the pain and the hurt, and most individuals that think of committing suicide have similar feelings. Suicidal thoughts result from overwhelming feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, and a person who is suicidal doesn't see any other way of getting any relief from these feelings except through death.
Suicide Isn't the Answer
These are the non-negotiables that I've come up with to help remind me to never sink that low in my thinking:
- People who talk about committing suicide usually aren't going to do it. I never said a word to anyone because I didn't want anyone stopping me. All conversation took place in my head. However, there are subtle statements to listen like "You'll be sorry when I'm gone" or "I can't see any way out" that can indicate someone is contemplating suicide. No matter how causal they may say it, pay attention because this is a cry for help.
- It's a common misconception that people with suicidal thoughts must be crazy. This is so not true. I wasn't crazy, psychotic, or insane. I was in emotional pain. But not everyone dealing with emotional pain, grief, despair, or depression is suicidal.
- Your life does matter, and it needs to matter to you, first and foremost. Even a people who are severely depressed have mixed feelings about killing themselves; sometimes, all the way up until the moment just before committing the fatal act. But the good news is that this is just a feeling, and it doesn't always last forever. Suicidal thoughts can eventually pass.
- Seek help! Not just from friends or family, but professional medical help. Remember, friends and family are not medical professionals, and they may not take you seriously, or they may just brush you off as playing or joking. Even if they do take you seriously, they may not know how to best help you or deal with the situation.
- When you first have suicidal thoughts, quickly find someone to talk to. A counselor, a friend, a family member—open your mouth and share your thoughts of wanting to end your life. Broaching the subject and talking about it openly has proven to be very helpful.
- You are of worth even if you were made to feel worthless. Do not give people power over you by caring about what someone thinks or says about you as an individual. People's opinions of you should NOT shape your perceptions of yourself.
- Do not allow others' actions to determine how your life unfolds. Take control back and take charge of your own life. Where you go and what you do with your life is still up to you. Your life is not over because something detrimental happened to you.
Choose to Live!
Why should you die before your time? Why should you take your life because of other people—because of what they think or say of you? How does that show them anything?
You see, that's the lie that floats around in the mind of a person contemplating suicide. Those thoughts are deceptive and destructive to who? YOU, and only you. You only hope that after you're dead, the person or persons that drove you to harm yourself will feel guilty for what they did to you, but there's no guarantee of that. There's no guarantee that they will even own up to such a blame. Life will just go on, only you won't be there to enjoy it.
So no, there is absolutely nothing sweet about suicide because you lose out. Live, my friend—CHOOSE TO LIVE!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Robert Williams on April 21, 2020:
That was such an amazing story to see the hand of God at work. I am glad God send His Angel to Save You From Satan
Lee C. Martin on March 06, 2018:
The suicide factor is of the devil and only the will of God can break the feelings of self Destruction for only God can give life and not for humans to take their own life. Many factors can open ones influence in this demonic attack but for those who overcome it have felt the hand of the Lord over their life binding and turning away the hand of the enemy from taking their lives. Tremendous testimonies of deliverance of overcoming death for life as the will of these people would not give into the enemy's plans to make them destroy their lives.
Reginaldo silva on April 16, 2017:
Halleluyah!!!God needed you to stay Alive just for nothing but for you to fulfill destiny,there is a purpose for us here on earth.God bless you and i pray you will fulfill destiny.
Dr Wanda Marie Middleton (author) from Currently Virginia on April 10, 2017:
Thank you Ms. Denise! I believe that God sent an angel that day to save me from myself. ..thank God, but can you imagine the many who did not get that kind of divine help? So yes I hope to be that angel of help sent to stop someone else from contemplating suicide by sharing my story.
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on April 10, 2017:
I beieve that God helps us in those ways that we best understand. He knew what you needed that day to help you turn your life around. The time was right and you were ready for the message. Thanks for sharing what you learned that day. It may save someone else's life!
Dr Wanda Marie Middleton (author) from Currently Virginia on April 09, 2017:
Now you know Casey, this means a lot coming from you my dear sister. ...as I was writing it, I felt even more strength being released to me...I'm 51 yrs old and I can still remember this as if it happened yesterday....thank you for your encouragement as I keep sharing.
Casey Stevens on April 09, 2017:
WOW....This hit home in so many ways. I Can relate to the feelings you felt and also coming to the realization that no one deserves that power over us. This will touch the lives of many , especially those contemplating suicide. Great Read, sis !! I love you and your strength. Powerful woman of God .