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My Grandson Was Not 'Selfish' for Taking His Life

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These are words from my grandson, Tyehimba Crear. He wrote this about a year and a half before his death:

“Every single person is a different type of love.
It’s not about being in love.
The only way to not be in love is to be in hate.
Can’t be unhappy, I can feel your happiness from miles away.
Knowing people is loving people.
My mission. To personally get to know every single one of my Facebook friends.
Because I want to. Cuz that’s love. Love Power Slay the hate.
In my world, no one gets played, no one gets hurt and its all good.”

I have heard so much about the “selfishness” of those who die by suicide. The anger and disappointment of those “left behind” gives rise to the blame the victim game. In the aftermath, survivors try to find relief. That sometimes comes at the expense of the truth. There is no cure for the pain, so we look for the reasons behind it. Unfortunately they are not often clear and it becomes easier to fall into “I hurt and someone has to be held accountable” thinking.

The reality is the person who died most probably thought they were saving us from pain by leaving. The reality of mental illness, generally depression, is that sometimes the only way “out” looks like death.

No, I will not stand by and allow anyone to call my child selfish for what he must have seen as his only salvation. The pain of the illness is heavy enough; please don’t lay responsibility for our own reactions on the victim.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: October 27, 2016
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