Hi my name is Jerry Allen, a member of The Ridge’s pastoral teaching group. “I would like to share the story of how my Brother-in-law, Darrell Hood’s suicide affected many lives. Here’s a key thought:
Suicide is a permanent solution to life’s temporary problems.
In March of 2009, I remember our life was amazing. Kathina and I were enjoying life with our boys. The boys and I had been building model rockets for several weeks and decided on March 21st to go out as a family to launch the rockets. We had the best time launching the rockets, watching the parachutes open, running to recover them and doing it again and again! After a full day of rockets, we went to Chili’s to eat and enjoy a meal with the Kid’s. I remember telling Kathina, “this has been the best day ever.”
Then the phone rang! Our entire world was about to change for several years. Kathina’s mother called and told us that Darrell had committed suicide!
I had known Darrell Hood for about 20 years and considered him a good friend. I actually introduced Darrell to my sister-in-law Serena. After a short courtship they were married. Darrell and Serena had one daughter Vandala and Yancy, a son from Serena’s previous marriage. They lived near Houston. Darrell Hood was this guy with big dreams and always seemed to live beyond his means to appear to those around him that he was more than he truly was. Money, Success, and Position were the things that were the most important to him. Darrell is what I would consider an “American Christian.” You know I must be a Christain because I am an American! I would speak with Darrell about once a week. He gave me no indication that he was in trouble. Everything was just great! However, Darrell and Serena had filed bankruptcy several times during their marriage and apparently were on the verge of having to file bankruptcy again. Darrell could not handle how this might affect his status!
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 NLT
Do you keep things to yourself? Do you try to handle life’s problems alone?
Here at the Ridge Fellowship, we offer growth groups that create a sense of family. At our Men’s group here in Jarrell, men are able to talk about the things that they struggle with without fear of judgement. Our group is growing closer and forming a strong brother hood. The ladies have experienced similar results.
On March 21, 2009; With the entire family home, Darrell stated that he would NOT file bankruptcy again! Darrell then left the room. Went to his closet. Took a revolver. And right as his son Yancy entered the closet…..Darrell Hood squeezed the trigger.
In case you’r’e wondering about suicide in the bible, here’s a suicide recorded in the Bible: When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb. 2 Samuel 17: 23
After receiving the call from Kathina’s mom, we got the boys situated with friends and headed to Houston to help deal with the aftermath. The entire Hood family was in shock and we went into management mode. Serena was not capable of dealing with anything. Yancy and Vandala were distant. We began to make plans for the funeral, their finances, and ultimately their future. Eventually Serena and Vandala moved in with Kathina and me after the funeral.
Does Suicide keep us from going to heaven? It’s controversial, but the answer is no!
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Romans 8:35 NLT
37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:37-38 NLT
I have learned that,
People who survive losing a loved one through Suicide can face:
- Feelings of Guilt and Responsibility.
- Feelings of Anger and Betrayal.
- Fear of doing the same thing.
Here’s a picture of my niece Vandala Hood – (Darrell’s daughter)
Vandala writes – “I grew up in Georgetown with my parents and brother and was provided with anything I needed and more. I was “daddy’s Princess”. At seven years old, I was devastated to learn that I would be leaving all my friends behind to move to Houston where we would start fresh. After the move is when things began going downhill for my family. For a while we were okay, but then my dad would come home and drink after work until he became an alcoholic. My family began falling apart. My mom kept to herself and was dealing with medical issues and my brother got into trouble of his own. I felt as though I was the only ‘normal’ one and felt alone.
There were several times when my dad and I would have deep conversations; he would ask me, “What would you do if something ever happened to me?” I never thought anything of the conversations other than drunken concerns. I thought he was just talking-not planning for the future. On March 21st, 2009 my father took his life in the home I grew up in. My mom, brother, and I were all there. My mom and I just got home from getting dinner when my dad came into the dining room distraught and emotional. “I can’t do it anymore” he said, “I’m not going to file for bankruptcy again.” We tried calming him, but we could not soothe what was going through his mind. He turned his back and headed to his room, my brother followed after him only moments too late. The next few hours seemed like days. The vivid details still play in my head today. I replay the day in my head, I remember exactly what I was doing, wearing, and what he said. I was his “princess and pumpkin and thought he would always be there for me until his one decision turned not only my life around, but my entire family.
For a long time I felt a lot a regret and anger. I could have saved him, I could have done something about his suicide, if only I caught on to what he was really telling me from our past conversations. There were a lot of unanswered questions I had for my dad and often looked for notes he may have left behind. I was hopeless, lost, and afraid. I lost my role model, my support system, but more importantly my daddy. I watched as our belongings were sold one by one and the life I once knew became a tornado that ripped everything I had ever know away. I knew my mom would not have been able to support us own her own so I was terrified of what would happen.
Jerry and Kathina open their doors and hearts to my mother and me when we felt we had nowhere to go. I can’t imagine what kind of life I would be leading if it was not for them. I resented them for a long time. I didn’t want to live there or play by their rules, so I did a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have. But if they didn’t step into my life and show me love and compassion I would not be the woman I am today”
For a long time I didn’t want to attend church with the Allen’s. I felt no need, Going to church was hard for me, it had been about seven years since I had steadily been to church and they wanted me to go after the upheaval in my life? No thank you. My dad always said, “I don’t have to go to church to believe in God, I know where I stand”, and for a long time I thought he was right. However, it was not until my relationship grew with Christ, that I disagreed with my dad’s thoughts. Attending church provided me with strength, both spiritual and emotional. I also found love and encouragement; those things alone made me want to persevere.
Because of The Allen’s, I have a strong relationship with Christ and am able to share my relationship with others.
My dad made a permanent decision to a temporary problem and now my family and I are left to pick up the pieces. I’m not going to sugar coat the fact that the feelings, emotions, and struggles never go away. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my dad and all the things I would share with him if he were here. Because of his selfish decision, he has missed out on teaching me how to drive, meeting my first boyfriend, graduating high school, or sending me off to college. When I get married he won’t be there to hold my hand and walk me down the aisle, nor will he meet his grandchild. All of these are milestones in my life that he will never be able to share with me, because of his selfish choice. To anyone that has lost a loved one or may be thinking of ending your life, listen to my story and know that you do not have to walk alone.” Vandala Hood
“Vandala lived with us from March 2009 until she graduated High School in 2011. She currently attends Taralton State University as a Junior. She will be graduating in 2016 with a Degree in Social Work. She has been a true blessing in my life and I will do anything for her.
Suicide is a permanent solution to life’s temporary problems.
This selfish decision is one that affects all of those around you. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide please talk with someone immediately! I know for a fact that those around you do not want to see you take your own life! We love you and want to have you around for many years to come!
We have included several links and numbers below for people who are thinking of committing suicide and for those who are dealing with the aftermath of suicide.
Is anyone reading this living a false life? Outwardly everything is fine but secretly inside they are screaming out for help! If that is you please make a positive change by sharing you story with someone you trust or write a comment below and a member of our pastoral group will contact you.
Do you desire to have a personal relationship with Christ? He can help you. Click here for more information.
- (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
Suicide prevention and awareness sites:
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://www.afsp.org/
- SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education https://www.save.org
Grief support for suicide survivors:
- Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors http://www.allianceofhope.org/
- Survivors of Suicide http://www.survivorsofsuicide.com/
- Center for Relational Care http://www.relationalcare.org/
For more about Growth Groups for support or The Ridge Fellowship go to: www.RidgeFellowship.com
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