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The 3 Words My Grandmother Said That Made Me Rethink Dying by Suicide

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

I see my grandmother about once a year around Christmastime. She’s an old, short little Chinese lady. She’s stubborn and persistent, but also perhaps the sweetest lady in the world (at least to her grandchildren). Every time I’ve seen her for the past few years, I’ve tried to cherish the memories I’ve made in case it was the last I made with her since she is getting older. But last year, I intended to make the memories for a different reason: in case I died in the next year.

When I saw her, I was suicidal, and I had started to imagine life without her and my family. I love her with all my heart, and even the idea of leaving her and adding grief to her life was almost too much to bear. But so was the pain I was going through.

I know my grandmother loves me. But as long as I can remember, I don’t recall her actually saying it to me, she always just showed it through her actions. And frankly, that was enough. But while we were saying goodbye to her before going back home, I was giving her a hug, and she whispered something to me I hadn’t even heard her say to my Dad (her son): I love you.

That really hit my heart hard, like really hard. These words I had never heard from someone who I knew loved me, it was almost like she knew I needed those words. They were almost enough to make me cry. On the 14-hour drive home, I couldn’t help but spend most of it thinking about that moment. And even now, I look back on that hug and just feel an overwhelming amount of love and care from her.

That was exactly what I needed to hear from her. And it wasn’t even in a conventional place for that statement. We were sitting outside a pancake house waiting for my Dad to bring the car around. I told her I loved her too, but as we were walking back to the car, I was grieving the fact that may be the last time I saw her, or that she would see me. That threw my whole idea of death by suicide for a spin. My grandmother just told me she loved me, for the first time in my life (or at least for the first time I could remember). So maybe other people do love me, maybe others do care for me more than they show.

Remember this: there are a lot of people in this world, including me, who love and care for others more than they express. Just because they don’t say it, doesn’t mean they don’t love you. But my grandmother uttering those three words were enough to make me reconsider my whole life, all my plans to close the book on my life. Cherish each other, tell those around you that you love them, because you don’t know what those words can mean to someone struggling.

Getty image by ronen

Originally published: March 2, 2020
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