For those who saw my recent prayer request on social media, here’s the rest of the story. I can finally get through a day without sobbing constantly, so now I will share…
It began on the Friday before Christmas…
Which by the way is the same date that Kent’s Dad died of Alzheimers in 2012 and also our neice on Kent’s side died of a brain tumor in 1999. Kinda hate that date. (Although my faith tells me it was a great date for them, just hard on those left behind!)
So we had our good friends over for dinner after a fun game of pickleball–I’d been so excited that Kent finally agreed to try it. We were laughing and having fun when I glanced at my phone and saw this text from my brother-in-law Mike: “We need you ASAP. What r u doing?” Of course I knew that didn’t sound good, so I stepped into the other room to call and he told me through heart-wrenching sobs, “Jared is gone, and they say he took his own life!” All I could do was yell, “NOOOOOO!” Then, “Where are you?! We’ll be right there. I love you.” (I think that’s what I said, I don’t even know.) I came out to tell everyone and saw Kasey looking at me. I’ll never forget his face as I had to tell him and the others the news. I knew it would crush him, he and Jared have always had an extra special cousin bond.
The above photo is Jared and Kasey at Thanksgiving, it was the last time we saw him. If only we knew…
So our friends busted around here cleaning things up, hugging and crying with us as I tried to get my head together. While Kent drove the hour it took to get there, I called my other sister (what a horrible phone call) and tried to call my other siblings. I texted people asking for prayers and just sobbed, unable to believe it, and still don’t believe it two weeks later! I constantly shake my head and say, “No, not real!” or “Lord please have mercy.”
Had Jared died suddenly in an accident we’d all still be shocked and devastated (we have a very close family, nieces and nephews are like our own!!), but the pain of suicide is on a whole other deeper level. The unanswered questions, the constant WHYS and always trying to figure out if he’d been hiding this, or was it a bad night, a bad hour, a bad moment? He’d had anxiety, but we all thought it was better in the past couple years!
Jared was 25 and a really great guy, everyone loved him and he always cracked us up!
He and I had many deep talks about faith and other things, he was even into real food! (No, he did not get the jab, for those of you wondering.) One thing we know for sure is that he (obviously) couldn’t have been in his right mind when he did this. He lived only 5 miles from his parents and had a VERY close relationship with both of them, and also with his brother and sister, not to mention all of us extended family and his good friend and roommate who found him. He would not have done that to any of us had he been thinking right–there’s just no way. It’s heart-wrenchingly sad on so many levels–we know God had big plans for Jared’s life, like He has for all of us. He’d had a job he loved and lots of friends, he loved spending time with family, and rarely missed the big family reunions with great aunts and uncles and second cousins, he loved hanging out with all of them. He must have been hurting too much to think about any of that…????
I’m so proud of Terri and Mike and Jared’s brother and sister for so many reasons:
- First, just 2 days after that fateful visit from the police, they still went to Mike’s family Christmas Eve gathering and the next day to our family’s Christmas Day gathering. We told them, “We’re all going to be a mess anyway, we may as well be a mess together”.
- Second, they adamently do not want it kept hush hush how he died, they want people to TALK ABOUT the evil epidemic of suicide with their loved ones so no one will have to go through what they’re going through. (Although Terri said she just recently asked Jared how he was doing and he let on that he was totally fine–the masking is crazy and she said he should get an acting award. Again, unless it was just a bad night or whatever, see how my mind goes around and around?)
- Third and most importantly, they’re not blaming God. They’re leaning on their faith and know that while they’ll never be the same, they will be okay again, and they’re trusting that because Jared had Jesus in his heart, through God’s mercy they will see him again.
For those of you who have gone through losing someone in a tragic way…
You know how it is, you wake up and pray that it’s a nightmare, and when you realize it’s not, all you can do is wail in pain. My sister has said over and over, “I just can’t believe he’s never going to walk in that door again, he was just here 3 days ago! HOW do people get through this without faith in Jesus and the hope of seeing their loved one again?!”
So now all we can do is figure out how to live with this pain and the unanswered questions, and to pray for, support and love on the four of them in every way possible. We’re trying to keep them busy and plan extra family things together. On New Years Eve Kent and I had most of the family over for dinner (21 of us), then we went to a Griffins game, and back here for games, snacks, champagne and some sleptover too. It was fun, we had lots of laughs and it was so good to be together, but always with this heavy sadness in our hearts.
We would sure appreciate any prayers you can send up for us and especially for Jared’s immediate family.
SO many have been reaching out and have been kind and supportive for them, heck so many of OUR friends have been supportive too (praying, meals, cards, phone calls, texts to check on us)–and obviously this isn’t about us, but the point is, close friends and family are such a blessing. If you don’t have that kind of a circle, cultivate it and be there for others. Don’t let petty things get between you and loved ones. As far as friends, a church community is one of the best places to find this circle, so seek that out if you don’t have it yet!
Lastly, I know that many of you have suffered through this same nightmare and my heart and prayers go out to you.
At first I was so raw I didn’t even know how to pray. Later I pulled a few prayers together to write one for Jared, and if anyone wants to copy that below, you could take out his name and add your loved one’s name to it.
By the way…
Do you know and believe in Jesus and are you living how He asks? Our souls will live forever *somewhere*, and whoever might be next in your family to enter eternal life, you don’t want your loved ones to worry and wonder about your soul! Your family members want to know that you will ALL one day be together again with those who have already passed on! If you aren’t sure about this, go here to learn more, or ask me anything. Feel free to email me: Kelly@KellytheKitchenKop.com.
A Prayer for Jared (and for those who took their own lives)
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen…
We come to you today mourning the sudden and tragic death of our dear Jared.
We cannot imagine and don’t understand the suffering and despair that prevented him from reaching out to You or to us for help.
We cling to the promise You have made in Psalm 34:18 where You say, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”
From this Your Word we believe that You, in Your great and tender mercy, were near to Jared at the hour of his death and that Your mysterious saving power was at work in his final moments here on earth. We ask that by the Blood of the cross You forgive his sins and failings and have mercy on his soul.
We cling to the hope that Jared is now surrounded by Your healing, loving presence. We claim Revelation 21:4 for him and for ourselves, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Dear Lord, we lay before you the burning questions weighing heavily on our hearts. We place ourselves, our deep pain, our questions and any regrets at the foot of the cross. We ask for your peace even though we don’t have the answers we desire.
We pray that the beauty and gift of Jared’s life will not be negated or overshadowed by his tragic death or final pain. Often bring to our minds his fun personality, his big heart, his desire to learn new things, his accomplishments and the constant joy and laughter he brought us. Help us to celebrate his memory and to be thankful for the gift of having him in our lives.
Finally, we pray desperately for ourselves that You will teach us how to go on living, even though we know our family will never be the same. Show us how to bear the daily pain of our grief and sorrow. Give us the courage to reach out for help, to share our story, to admit our needs and to pray and call out to You in the times when we feel darkness and discouragement.
Show us how to put our hope in You and stand on Your promise that “neither life nor death” can separate us or Jared from your love. (Romans 8:38-39)
Guide us, help us, hold us tight. Grant strength daily and hourly and give us the grace to lean on and grow closer to You in this trial. Carry us one day at a time, until we are again surrounded by the light of life.
We say farewell for now and commend Jared to Your great mercy and loving arms.
In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Amen.
More verses to cling to:
Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
John 11:25-26 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let Your perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
More you might like:
- How do you say goodbye to your Mom? (This is what I wrote after my Mom passed in 2014)
- Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him (This is what I wrote after Kent’s Dad died in 2012)