As you all know, Lady Hiva and I are here in Hawaii for the second time in three weeks for a funeral. I normally would LOVE to have a chance to be here but it is sad that we are here for this reason. Lady’s older brother Moana committed suicide unexpectedly. We had just been with him a week ago and he was so happy. I am thankful that we do have those memories. I am also thankful that I am nosy and asked several questions about his truck, insurance, work, and life in general. Little did I know those answers would become really important this week as we sorted through paperwork stuff to find out what the situation is.
Moana was a good man, compassionate, kind, and a friend to all. He was the kind of person that would give you anything if you needed it and he could help out. Stories abound about him sending packages of goodies, notes, or phone calls to tell people that he loved them. He is a man that will truly be missed. Lady Hiva and I have been on the receiving end of Moana’s love several times. Service, chocolate, a note, you name it, he was always watching out for us.
A few years ago my brother, Trevor, also committed suicide. Finding out that Moana did too brought back all of the questions from Trevor’s death. Questions like, “Why did they do that?” “Why did they not talk to someone?” “Why did I not tell them I loved them more?” “Why did I not see this coming?” “Why?...Why?...WHY!?” The questions are endless and they never have answers
As I have thought about Moana and Trevor over the last few days, there is one theme that keeps returning. LOVE. Trevor’s and Moana’s situations are quite different, but where their situations ARE the same is that both of them did not understand how loved they were and that ANY of us would have jumped at the opportunity to help if they would have said how much pain they were dealing with. Hind sight is always more clear and we wish we would have seen the signs. Even now after 3 years of Trevor’s, we still talk about how we wish we could have done more, said more and loved more.
Then there is the realization that most of us are too prideful or too depressed to admit to someone that we need help. To quote one of my favorite Hymns, “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.” Yes, it would have been easier if Trevor or Moana would have waved a red flag to get everyone’s attention and yelled “I NEED HELP!” However, that does not happen. It would be too easy. Whatever challenges people are lugging around in their emotional and physical suitcases are so heavy they are blinded by the myopic view of struggle and they miss all the love and positive aspects of their lives. It is sad to think that someone was so down they did not think they were worth living. But that is not true. There is always something you are needed you for. Each of us have a purpose, we all have worth. And that worth is great. Sometimes we just need someone to remind us of that worth—and it cannot be AFTER it is too late. Today in Lady Hiva’s talk during the funeral she said, “The worth of a soul is great. We need to invest time in our relationships with each other so we all know the love we have for each other.”
So what do we do?
We listen, we reach out, we understand, and we love. We listen to what is being said and what is NOT being said when we talk with people. We reach out to those that are in need. I once heard a saying when I was young and it still is true today: The hardest people to love are most often the ones that need it most. It is true. So showing love all around is always a good way to start. We understand that although a person or a situation may be frustrating, that people are only trying to do the best they know how. And we love. We love openly and truly.
In our doorway there is a sign that greets visitors who enter our home. It reads: Speak Love. A simple, but powerful, command. It is only by SHOWING our love, not just ASSUMING people know we love them, that we are able to communicate to those we love that, yes, life is hard, and yes, we may disagree and be frustrated at each other once in awhile, and yes, we all have challenges to work through, BUT we are NOT alone! There is help. There is healing. All you need to do is ASK. If we show love now, when people DO need help they will let us know. They may not have a red flag boldly waving for us to see, but in their own subtle ways they will make us aware that they need our help. We have to be ready to provide that help when the time is right. Not tomorrow, not in five minutes. BUT NOW! It does not have to be big, it can be a smile or a hug, but at least it is acknowledging their worth…their personal worth.
For three years I have dreamed of Trevor and having conversations with him. In some I am angry with him, in others we cry together. In day time I often think, with sadness of the last conversation I had with him and wonder if I missed his hints that he needed help. Or with Moana I wonder if he knew that I, or Lady Hiva, or any other sibling or cousin, love him SO much that he could have come to any one of us to talk so we could share his burden.
But for them it is too late. We now need to resolve to do all we can so we don’t lose any more people that we love. For today there are people to love, things to learn, and service to do—we MUST do it today, for tomorrow may be too late. My resolve is to be more meek and humble—more prone to speak love, more prone to show kindness and patience, to forgive more, serve more and most of all, to listen to that small voice prompting to me reach out to a friend in their time of need.