Faith

Woman Falls to the Floor in Whole Foods Screaming “He’s Dead!”—10 Months Later, This Comes Out…

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Dear Strangers,

I remember you. 10 months ago, when my cell phone rang with news of my father’s suicide, you were walking into Whole Foods, prepared to go about your food shopping, just as I had done only minutes before.

But I had already abandoned my cart full of groceries and I stood in the entryway of the store. My brother was on the other end of the line. He was telling me my father was dead, that he had taken his own life early that morning and through his own sobs, I remember my brother kept saying, “I’m sorry Deborah,  I’m so sorry.” I can’t imagine how it must have felt for him to make that call.

And as we hung up the phone, I started to cry and scream as my whole body trembled. This just couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be happening.  Only moments before my life felt intact. Overwhelmed with emotions, I fell to the floor, my knees buckling under the weight of what I had just learned. And you kind strangers, you were there.

You could have kept on walking, ignoring my cries, but you didn’t. You could have simply stopped and stared at my primal display of pain, but you didn’t. No, instead you surrounded me as I yelled through my sobs, “My father killed himself. He killed himself. He’s dead.” And the question that has plagued me since that moment came to my lips in a scream: “Why?” I must have asked it over and over and over again. I remember in that haze of emotions, one of you asked for my phone and asked who you should call. What was my password? You needed my husband’s name as you searched through my contacts. I remember I could hear your words as you tried to reach my husband for me, leaving an urgent message for him to call me. I recall hearing you discuss among yourselves who would drive me home in my car and who would follow that person to bring them back to the store. You didn’t even know one another, but it didn’t seem to matter. You encountered me, a stranger, in the worst moment of my life and you coalesced around me with common purpose — to help. I remember one of you asking if you could pray for me and for my father. I must have said yes, and now when I recall that Christian prayer being offered up to Jesus for my Jewish father and me, it still both brings tears to my eyes and makes me smile.

suicidal

In my fog, I told you that I had a friend, Pam, who worked at Whole Foods and one of you went in search of her. Thankfully, she was there that morning and you brought her to me. I remember the relief I felt at seeing her face, familiar and warm. She took me to the back, comforting and caring for me until my husband could get to me. And I even recall as I sat with her, one of you sent back a gift card to Whole Foods; though you didn’t know me, you wanted to offer a little something to let me know that you would be thinking of me and holding me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. That gift card helped to feed my family, when the idea of cooking was so far beyond my emotional reach.

I never saw you after that. But I know this to be true: If it were not for all of you, I might have simply gotten in the car and tried to drive myself home. I wasn’t thinking straight, if I was thinking at all. If it were not for you, I don’t know what I would’ve done in those first raw moments of overwhelming shock, anguish and grief. But I thank God every day I didn’t have to find out. Your kindness, your compassion, your willingness to help a stranger in need have stayed with me until this day. And no matter how many times my mind takes me back to that horrible life altering moment, it is not all darkness. Because you reached out to help, you offered a ray of light in the bleakest moment I’ve ever endured. You may not remember it. You may not remember me. But I will never, ever forget you. And though you may never know it, I give thanks for your presence and humanity each and every day.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

About the author: Deborah Greene lives in Superior, Colorado with her husband and three daughters. She lost her father, Lowell Herman, to suicide on April 20, 2015. She is a devoted advocate on issues of mental illness and suicide prevention/awareness. She blogs at Reflecting Out Loud.

About Barry G. Morris

9 Comments

  1. henry

    March 23, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I know what a tragedy this must have been. Wouldn’t you think for a moment her brother didn’t handle this too well. Why didn’t he say: We need you here now something has happened to dad. If she was driving this could have been a double tragedy. Be careful how you respond to bad news to others.

    • Harold

      March 25, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      at that time who would be thinking straight. we have to remember that the brother was the bearer of terrible news and the strangers who offered help will be forever Blessed

    • Lisa

      March 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      Really? That’s your response? To jump right in with a judgement? How if that at all helpful? Maybe her dad and brother were in another part of the country. Who knows? And the brother was grief stricken too. I would never have let my brother get away with just telling me “something has happened to Dad”.

  2. Robert Simes

    March 23, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    There are many kind people in the world, no matter what the News tries to tell us. My prayers are with you.

    • Lisa

      March 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      I agree. So many kind people.

  3. CJ

    March 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story…I love the fact that you smile when you think of the Christian prayer sent up for your Dad…I do believe,sometimes,that it’s better to be safe than sorry…please accept my sincere condolences and know that we never truly lose the ones we love….they live forever in our hearts and minds.

  4. Antoinette Maywald

    March 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I hope the people who helped you are able to
    read this. What a touching article. Maybe one day you will meet some of those who helped you.

  5. Nelda~Ann Cox

    March 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Thank God for the good compassionate people who were with this lady that horrible day of crisis. Just two days ago I almost went thru this same incident. Fortunately, my sister’s life still exists.She is receiving treatment and I have the opportunity to see her again. I’m feeling very blessed ?

  6. maria alfeo

    March 31, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    god bless you and all who helped you , may god have your dad in his presence everyday , ….

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