I’ve read a couple of articles in The Nation of people sharing their experiences with how they lost friends and loved ones through suicide. I lost a best friend, a childhood buddy, through suicide, and it was devastating. I could only imagine how other people feel when it’s a close family member.

Close family members of mine attempted suicide, and it’s the scariest feeling in the world, wondering if the person will pull the trigger. I too at one time was very suicidal. I can sympathize with people not wanting to live. Too many obstacles, too many brick walls and not having the strength or the will to tackle them, and eventually blaming God and blaming others.

This being my experience I came to the conclusion that nobody was to blame and that most of the time it was self-pity, and this self-pity led me to believe I was worthless. But thank God, I came to my senses. If I had succeeded in those attempts I wouldn’t have moved those extra few steps forward to realize I do matter, and that life for me will not change unless I make it happen for me. I want to share a very traumatizing moment I experienced and how my two youngest children and I cheated death by just a few minutes, and how this experience changed me and helped me view life as a gift that was given to me by the Creator.

On the day of February 24, 1999, at 9 a.m. a fire arose in our home. Unfortunately, because of my carelessness I left matches lying around, and my two youngest children, Christine, age 4, and Jordan, age 3 at the time, were playing with the matches and started a fire in our living room. My daughter came running into the bedroom holding her brother’s hand, saying there was a fire. I immediately ran out of the bedroom holding both their hands, thinking I could put out the fire. But the fire burnt so wildly, it was as though the trailer was a piece of paper. We ran back into the bedroom and I tried to break the window with the night table. I hit the window twice without it breaking and by then the fire was already in the room with us.

It took only a few seconds, perhaps one minute, for the fire to reach the door of the bedroom. I looked down at my children crying. My daughter so visible to me in all the black smoke seemed like she feared very little. I cried and told my children that we wouldn’t make it. The fire was intensely hot. This was going to make me give up. I was getting ready to put my arms around my babies and sit there until the fire took our lives. Suddenly I felt something in my heart, this love and will that would save my children and myself. I could not give up. My children were not going to die because I gave up, and I looked at the fire and yelled out, “You’re not taking my babies.”

I picked up that night table again and the window broke. The Creator gave me the strength through my children to break the window. A good Samaritan stood outside the window, but in my eyes an angel of God, Ronnie Snowboy, held me and my children, and to him I am thankful. My son suffered second-degree burns on his foot, my daughter a few cuts, and me, I got flown out to Montreal because I inhaled too much smoke, but the important thing was we were alright.

So you see when life gets you down and it seems too difficult to fix, don’t give up. When we run into obstacles just as I did with the fire, I challenged the fire – something that was more powerful than I – and I won. The gift of life that was given to us by the Creator is precious and it’s us that can make it better for ourselves. For me I had a choice to give up and risk the lives of myself and my children, but I chose not to give up and this is why I am here today, and this is why my children are here today. A good friend of mine shared a quote with me that was given to him by an Elder:

“Nothing is impossible if you put your heart into it, with will, determination and patience. If you pick one stone at a time you can move mountains.”

This quote was passed on to my friend. He passed it on to me. Now I am passing it on to you. Read it and use it whenever you’re feeling down. Perhaps it can help you in some way as it did my friend and I.