Emptiness. Vacancy. After suicide there is a hole in the lives of those left behind, the ones we call survivors. There is an empty chair at the table, an empty bedroom with an empty bed, an empty silence where a beloved voice once spoke. Most of all, there is a hole in our hearts, that empty place reserved for the relationship with that one person whose presence will be a painful vacancy from now on, at least on this side of eternity.
When Robin Williams completed suicide, he left a vacancy. People said, “The Genie has left the bottle.” Others said, “He is finally at peace.” But the real vacancy was the emptiness that all who loved him experienced: his family, his friends, his colleagues, his fans. His life has ended, but all of ours go on without his humor, without his contribution, without his presence. Whether our acquaintance with him was close, or just from afar through his work, we all were stunned by the verdict of suicide. We are especially pained that one who was so gifted at bringing laughter to others found himself alone and without hope. It does not do to romanticize his despair; such frivolous talk puts a false shine on a terrible act; we never want to make suicide look appealing, or look like a good option for hurting souls in difficult circumstances. We want to preserve life, and therefore preserve hope. Proverbs 24:11 tells us, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” Learn the signs of someone in danger of suicide, learn how to intervene, so we can help the hurting. No more needless holes in people’s hearts. No more emptiness. No more vacancies.