Today I am honestly pretty sad. I’ve had to join yet another family who has tragically had to bury a family member (who died all to suddenly and shockingly) in the space of a month. Each loss is very much connected to secrets in these individuals lives. In July I led the memorial of a beautiful 30-something young woman who believed her depression and feelings that she just couldn’t “feel enough love” were good enough reasons to end her own life. It saddens me that almost everyone experienced a happy, bubbly and loving person on the outside who never really told most people how hurting she was inside. I don’t know how much of a difference it would have made, but I do wonder – what would have happened if she’d widened the scope of her honesty about her struggles?
Then this weekend I led the memorial of a winsome 30-something young husband, and father of two, who was doing so well but stepped off the ledge and couldn’t come back from the abyss of his long struggle with addiction. I look at the flowers left behind from his memorial and I just cry. Again, I’m saddened that almost everyone experienced a friendly, fun-loving guy on the outside who never really got to the bottom of telling the entirety of his dark secret (he told a lot of it, but not all of it) and could never really bring himself to let go of all the poison that killed him – clinging to just a little bit of it while thinking “just a little means I’m doing fine.” I don’t know if it would have elongated his life, but I do wonder – what would have happened if he told everything to a group of trusted people and was honest with himself that he couldn’t be trusted to “only take a little, and be fine”?
Please, please let these excruciating losses be lessons to each of us about the destructive power of our dark secrets. Last week, in my post “An 80 Year Old Secret” I talked about a man who was set free by telling everything about his dark secrets, and this week I’m just so sad about kept secrets. Tell your story, and by that I mean every last shred of the things that make you most ashamed, to someone you can trust somewhere in this world. It may save your life!