When Hope Is Gone

By Jerry Price
Jul 1, 2006

My father committed suicide five days before Christmas.

I had requested an early discharge from the Air Force to help my family, but it was delayed for six months while the situation at home grew worse. After undergoing two surgeries, my father was facing another one. He was barely able to work, and his business was failing. The prospect of losing it and their home was looming large before him.

There were other factors that I’m confident led to his suicide. Family tragedy and hardship caused him to grow up in two homes for orphans. He began drinking after leaving the second home and soon became an alcoholic. He quit drinking when I was young, but he began again while I was away in the military. By the time I returned home, he was drunk nearly every morning before I left for work.

My father’s relationship with my mother was rocky at best because of his anger and his drinking. To my knowledge, neither of them talked about divorce, and for that I am grateful. Ours was a family in distress—but it was still a family.

My sister and my father had a hostile relationship, and she had expressed her hatred for him on several occasions. Years later, I determined that she hadn’t hated him—just what he did. She was fifteen years old when he died and became emotionally stuck at fifteen—and died that way at age fifty-two.

I have discovered over the years that my father’s life consisted of one struggle after another—struggles that he seldom won. I am convinced that he had lost his faith in God’s ability—or desire—to get him through it all. At the time, I didn’t know how to help restore that hope. My family had dropped out of church while I was away. After several attempts to get him to go to church with me, he agreed. That, too, met with disaster when the church we visited was cold and unwelcoming. He walked out that November morning muttering, “Never again!” Three weeks later, he ended his life.

Like many others, my father’s disappointments and failures compounded themselves until he felt helpless and hopeless. And when hope is gone, there remains little, if any, energy for the challenges of everyday life.

That was forty-three years ago. I still grieve for him at times. I grieve that I didn’t know enough to help him and that I didn’t tell him I loved him often enough. I have discovered since then that God is a God of hope—hope without limit—hope that is ours for the asking.

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13 Comments (post your own) feed

1 On Jun 12, 2008, at 4:43am, Ron Feather wrote:

Jerry,  I’m so sorry to read your father’s story,  but I can relate.  I too am struggling with thoughts of suicide.  I’ve lost hope.  I’m in my mid 50s,  and I’m presently facing financial ruin.  I won’t bore you with the circumstances that have led to this,  but suffice it to say that I have gone from 1 end of the spectrum to the other in a very short time.  I can’t see any possibility of recovering what I’m loosing and therefore I’ve completely lost the desire to continue.  I blame nobody else but myself for my predicament.  I’m trying to find the strenth to continue but it is so hard.


2 On Sep 17, 2008, at 4:02pm, mike wrote:

Thank you.
I have been that man with no hope.
my Wife died.
my son would not speak to me men after remarring.
Bussiness failing.
close of loosing my home,
I felt God who I loved was taking it all away.
tryed to commit suicide and my best friend who spoke at my wife funeral and best man at my wedding
would not speak with me any more.
But somehow God is helping meto come back to hope. love from my new wife has also helped.
I still have this big hole of loss in my heart trying to live with it
thank you for helping me to see a little closer.

          sorry for the messpelled words
          not the best writer

3 On Sep 21, 2008, at 7:13pm, Rose wrote:

In a world that is in high speed, we seldom take time to talk to or visit each other any more.
When a person looses hope it is very hard to get back on track again. 
We all need to be very aware of the circumstances around us and do what we can for the other person.
In a “me” world, we have forgotten to put others first.  We cannot solve other peoples pain but we can just be a friend to listen and love them.
The above stories are tragic and heartbreaking.
We have to remember that there have been many people in this world who have been extremely happy with out being financially prosperous, we cannot base who we are on money.
Try to realize how valuable you are in the eyes of God and know that he not only wants to see you through this life, but has prepared a wonderful place for all of us when this life is over.
Life is not easy, but hold on and realize we are all in this together, so lets help each other along the way.
God help us all!!

4 On Dec 24, 2008, at 2:13am, Candi wrote:

These stories are so touching.  They remind me how important every single thing we do is. They remind me that life is very precious and every single thing we do for someone else may tip the scales of life one way or the other.  The daily trials often detract from the overall picture.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.  The treadmill moves so quickly we can’t stop to gain perspective.  We are trying to find a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  We try to understand pain and misery and the shortcomings in our own lives, but we fall short when it comes to answers.  We are all simply here for eachother.  If each and every single one of us did ALL that we could for eachother this nasty place would be a whole lot better.  Thank you for sharing.  It continually reminds me of how important perspective is.  We must gain perspective of our own lives and the secret to that is to include others in that equation.  How can you help someone today?

5 On Feb 7, 2009, at 10:12am, Ken wrote:

I truely feel that God is with us all.  These barriers that he puts in front of us, is just a test to see how strong our faith is in him. I am not the one for self pity and have told myself that I will never feel sorry for myself. But the pain is so overwhelming that it seems to multiply as time passes.Not all families are picture perfect, but missing out on having a family, you see all the little things. Holding of hands as a child, a hug, and a meaningfull I love you…Don’t get me wrong I have hugged many people, but there is a difference when you hug a friend and you hug a father or mother. I miss my dad.  This is my first ever post about this, and probably is long overdue…it just seems the more I learn in life, the worse it becomes.I have been known to just block things out in my life and now that I’m moving forward, I seem to be digressing while I’m progressing.To close I would like to say that I know my dad is watching over me and say that I love him and miss him very much.

6 On Feb 14, 2009, at 12:41am, Lisa wrote:

I have serious doubts about a God who, in infinite love and wisdom, puts stumbling blocks and cinder block walls in our paths to “test” our faith in Him.  Why would I have faith in someone who plays dirty tricks on me on purpose, even if it is for “loving” reasons?  Why would I love someone who teases and torments me, even if it is best for me?  Why doesn’t God practice his own preaching?  Doesn’t scripture say “love not in word and speech, but in truth and deed?” and also, “don’t withhold what you owe you when you have it with you.”  Humans must live under such backbreaking rules, but God does not because, well, he is God and he makes the rules.
  God does not do what is best for us. He does what is best for his cosmic agenda whatever that is.  I know that some people will benefit from this while others will be steamrolled.  Who buys it is totally random. 
  Hope in God?  Yeah, whatever.

7 On Jan 9, 2010, at 1:54pm, Elaine wrote:

My husband and I have tried for 12 years to have a baby, he had cancer at 30 that left him sterile.  I have been through IVF, counseling and many other things all failed.  I am really past the age where any of these things are sensible now, my family have offered to help with surrogacy and changed their minds, it all poses ethical and spiritual questions that I have no answer for.  But essentially hope is over, and I find it so hard to relinquish this hope because the alternative seems so dark a path.  I have a lot to be thankful for in life, but it’s still seems so unfair.  My entire life and work has been devoted to the care and help of other people, why can something as simple and wonderful as motherhood not be mine? I have prayed for years, for the end result or the strength to accept the outcome -but I don’t have either.

8 On Mar 18, 2010, at 7:57am, Suzanne wrote:

I’m very touched and blessed by everyone’s comments and stories. Being unemployed over 16 months now, I was surfing for solutions to my loss of hope and inability in journaling daily to find “the answer.” I think everyone’s postings here are the answer that I have sought. First of all, don’t take life personally, it happens to everyone! And secondly, everyone has their cross, different yes, but we all have been given one. Mine is the inability to find a solid christian man and family. I’m approaching 50 this year, and while things can change slightly, I’ve given up on believing if I pray and do God’s work that I will get the “desires of my heart.” Like the gentleman that spoke earlier, God’s tests make no sense, but I know that he’ll have a profound answer once we get there.  All I have to say, is our reward in heaven better be real good to make up for what I consider hell on earth. Let’s help each other get through it and hope for the best in the end.

9 On Aug 16, 2010, at 4:30am, Matt wrote:

Lets look at what Faith and Family mean: Faith means being able to submit yourself to a greater power that not only is not answerable to you, but uncomprehensable to you and Family; when family is gone and no longer cares or has become hardened to your life and your torments they cease to be family. This is my story, I have been divorced almost 2 years, 18 months ago i lost my job, i can make no real decisions concerning my daughter, and my blood has all but abandoned me. GOD has abandoned me. A good person. And it has been long enough for me and I think the weight of my “cross” has finally been enough to push me to the ground and bury me.

10 On Oct 30, 2010, at 11:02am, mearlyoung wrote:

I can relate to your loss of faith in God. I have prayed for goodness in my life for the past 25 years and recieved nothing. God must really hate me. If I have done such bad things in life, why am I still alive? Praise God for pain and suffering

11 On Dec 4, 2010, at 11:46pm, Alex wrote:

God never intended the world to be like this.Sin did!May we learn and draw strength from Jesus-who for the glory set before him,endured the cross and despised the shame.life doesn’t always go the way we want-remember Jesus @ gathsemane.However be comforted,u’r not passing through this alone-He feels the pain,sorrow,hopelessness that you pass through too!He’ll see you through it.Moreover,never sew clothes for God.If you do,you limit him and what he can do in your life.I still believe in miracles-won’t you?

12 On Dec 7, 2010, at 12:05am, Mary wrote:

I lost hope when i became pregnant after my secödary school.my boyfriend deserted me.i set off to commit sucide.i locked my self in a lodging with my poison and i even wrote a note indiating my parents contact but i later changed my mind.i delivered a baby girl.i went through rejection and did odd jobs to sustain my daughter.After four years i joined a teacher’s college.i took my daughter to a private boarding school.now am in university in keny a after receiving a scholarship.lets trust God.i thank him for saving me from taking my life.The reason why you postpone comitting sucide is because God has a plan to bring a smile back to your face.

13 On Aug 20, 2011, at 5:21am, chris wrote:

hello all, thru reading I found that some type of meaning has to given to your suffering, becouse the circumstances and the severity of our trials and tribulations destroys our hope and faith, we experience great despair and immense feelings of helplessness.in times like this we tell ourselves that life has nothing more to offer, but the real question may be what are you offering to the life you have. I have found through personal experience that I must hope when there is no reason to hope, have faith when there is no reason to have faith, and help as much as I can, others who are in worse shape than me. The only thing I can say is there is a purpose for all of our suffering that will result in something greater than ourselves that we cannot see at this point in our lives

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