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.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Life, Suicide,

You May Also Like

ERLC Live Training

By Thomas Willis - Nov 25, 2013

Streaming of December 2nd (first session beginning at 9 am CST) event for ERLC staff will take place below:

Schedule (all times central):
9:15-10 am – Media Coaching Session #1 – Visual and Voice (for our in-house interviews, conducting them, how to lookat camera, etc)
10:15-11 am – Media Coaching Session #2 – Speaking to the Media/PR Best Practices/Engaging with Media
11:15-11:45 am- Q and A with the Staff
12-1:30 pm- Lunch break
1:30- 2:00 pm- Interview with Dan for ERLC.com (Christians and the Media) (Not streamed)
2:00 – 3:30 pm- Consulting on media with A/V team (audio/video), mobile operations, voice-over, etc.

Read More

Women, sexuality and the ERLC Summit

By Chelsen Vicari - Apr 22, 2014 - (1)

Liberal Christians often champion themselves as facilitators of deep, authentic dialogue about the cultural issues facing America’s faithful. But when the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) gathered together yesterday for their first-ever leadership summit to genuinely discuss a myriad of sexual morality topics–including same-sex marriage and sexuality, the premier cultural conundrum facing the Church–unexpected kickback erupted on social media.…

Read More

The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived

By Trillia Newbell - Feb 28, 2014

Our faith stands on the shoulders of one person: Jesus Christ. Many of us, however, have never studied what it was like for our Savior to walk out his final days on earth. Justin Taylor, PhD candidate at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and vice president of book publishing and an associate publisher at Crossway, wrote a book to help us understand those final days.…

Read More
The Needs of Stepfamilies The Heartbreak of Suicide