I have it on very good authority from the plumber who fixed my kitchen sink—and he has it on very good authority from a prophet—that there is a repentance process available in the spirit world for people who commit suicide. More interestingly, 100 percent of people who commit suicide immediately regret it. Whether you believe in the existence of prophets or the wisdom of plumbers, it’s interesting to consider these questions.

First, the idea that there is a repentance process available in the spirit world for people who commit suicide. I want to believe that, and it makes sense that there would be. It is an extremely arduous one, according to the philosopher plumber, but it exists. If you think about it, how could it not? The whole point of repentance is a change of mind: a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world.

If repentance is a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world, death is an utterly transformative view of those things. It makes sense that 100 percent of people who commit suicide immediately regret it, although the thought had never occurred to me. The instant we die, in whatever fashion, the scales are lifted from our eyes, and we again have access to the eternal truth of all things.

It is said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but from the eternal perspective, mortality itself is a temporary problem. Whatever agonies we endure, they are but a small moment in the grand scheme of our external existence. It seems significant that someone who takes action to end hopelessness and despair only makes hopelessness and despair far worse once the veil is lifted. It also seems significant that the anger and betrayal we feel when someone we love commits suicide only distress us on this side of the veil. When we pass on, the scales are lifted from our eyes, and we see with full knowledge who we are, who are loved ones are, and the purpose of all our earthly lives.

It’s easy and completely understandable to feel angry at someone who commits suicide. It’s a helluva thing to do to people who love you. But if the person who commits suicide were thinking rationally, they wouldn’t see suicide as a solution to their problems. Does it help—and it does me—to know that the person who commits suicide doesn’t really escape anything after all? Maybe that’s petty, but it’s real. How infuriating that someone “solves” their problem by making it your problem forevermore.

Once they’re dead, and they have full knowledge restored to them, they realize how distorted their thinking was and regret terribly the action they took that cannot be undone. It could be said that they suffer far worse after suicide. Does it help—and it does me—to know that those left behind are not the only ones suffering?

When we are on this side of the veil, whatever we struggle with is still easier to handle than the consequence of no longer struggling with it because we gave up. If the decision to leave mortality was of our own making, we will no longer struggle with mortal problems, but we will know the precious gift we’ve wasted and the crushing, searing pain we’ve inflicted on our loved ones. When we get to the other side of the veil, if that decision was not of our own making, we will no longer struggle with the things of mortality, but we will value the part those struggles played in our eternal destiny and purpose.

It sounds terrible, I know, but if someone is going to bail on me to escape an overwhelming life, I feel better to know that they immediately regret it. If they could take it back, they would do it in a nanosecond. But they can’t. We both have to live with it going forward. God forgive me for being glad their burden is heavier than mine. And thank God my knowledge of their heavier burden softens my heart with a little forgiveness.

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