You didn’t cause Hannah to die from suicide.

He messages me. He says he wants to come visit. It’s been 2 years since she’s been gone. It’s his first time. It’s his time.

Everyone mourns differently.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually met this young man but I know who he is. Hannah wanted to marry him. Not just the crush she said she could marry – she had many of those. No, this one is different.

I turn around and catch him walk up the driveway. I’m stunned by his handsome face and slim frame. Yep, I can see Hannah with him. I have to remember that Hannah’s passed on. For a moment, I forget.

We say hello and embrace almost simultaneously. I feel his sincerity. A slight dread enters my heart then it gives way to curiosity and excitement.

I invite him to follow me and we head to the shaded patio. That’s the healing spot for so many. I invite him to sit. Very naturally, we position our chairs to face each other.

He goes on to share his journey with Hannah. It’s beautiful. It’s fun. It’s Hannah. I love these moments. I’m so grateful for them.

And then he starts to pour out his broken heart.

Just like almost every single person that loves Hannah, he identifies a moment in time that he’s decided he’s the reason that Hannah completed suicide. My heart drops but doesn’t break because I know that it’s not true and that this is a moment of transition for him. A moment of healing. A moment of clarity. A moment of relief.

This story that we hold on to, the one that says we’re responsible FOR someone completing suicide is not reality, not true, and a torture instrument that we can let go of.

I explain to this beautiful 21-year-old young man who has tears in his eyes that ‘What-if’s’ are torture, completely unresolvable and unproductive. And for us, does not acknowledge the extremely powerful gift of the Atonement. If we identify a mistake, we fix it. There’s a better route. We don’t say ‘what if’. We say ‘because of’ Hannah’ we will do it differently now.

If you’re feeling guilty about something then look at it. Acknowledge it. Resolve it. Pay it forward. Guilt is a beautiful gift. Let it motivate you to higher ground, not bury you for a lifetime.

Because of Hannah

I’m not going to say, “Remember to hug your kids or be careful what you say because there might not be a tomorrow.” Nope. Here’s a secret. Regardless of when that physical unexpected separation happens, you won’t be prepared. You’ll have regrets. No matter how perfect you try to be today, you’ll have some kind of regret. Hindsight is always more powerful. All we can ever do is learn, grow, move forward, and love. Love each other and love ourselves.

Unless you willfully participated in ending someone’s life, the fault is not yours. People die. People end their pain and suffering by suicide. It’s not your fault.

Colby Ferrin is the young man in this story. He is a talented artist. He went on to produce a tribute song to Hannah. It’s message is beautiful. Thank you Colby.

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