Neither Quick Nor Easy
Re “Life After Suicide,” by Ashley McKinless (3/19): This is an excellent article about what sounds like an excellent and still much-needed program. Our family certainly could have used a program like Loving Outreach for Survivors of Suicide back in 1991, when our mother walked into the tidal bay at the bottom of our street in the middle of a cold November night. It has taken us a very long time to come to some sort of peace with her death. We eventually got there, but it was neither quick nor easy. We can and do talk about her death now, trying to chip away at the stigma of suicide that remains pervasive even today.
Grief and Guilt
As a chaplain for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, I find suicide is a pervasive part of my work, both with those who have attempted it and with the families and friends of those who completed suicide. I am gratified to see that there are people in the church who understand the intense grief, guilt and shame people feel and who are able to respond compassionately and pastorally.
Hear the Children
Re “From the Ashes” (Our Take, 3/19): God bless the kids of Parkland, Fla. May their voices be heard.
Re “Lent’s Honest Light,” by Richard Barry (3/19): At one point in my life, I was attending Mass each Tuesday at our local Catholic high school. It began at 7:15 a.m. and was absolutely over in less than 20 minutes. The priest, who was the school’s chaplain, had a wonderful gift for making a striking homily in—I kid you not—two or three sentences. I still remember and meditate on many of those 30-second homilies. If only all priests had that gift.
Thanks to Mr. Barry for sharing his Lenten experience. As a Catholic sister who has celebrated over 50 years of religious life, I am still blindsided by the lack of luster in my own prayer. Attendance at daily liturgies and reflection time are what I need and want to do to “improve my performance.”
Myrtle E. Keller
A Feature, Not a Bug
Re “Fixing Our Broken Political System,” by Kyle Gautreau (3/19): Our political system was never designed to function smoothly. Monarchies, dictatorships and autocracies function smoothly.
Re “Our Canine Kin,” by Antonio De Loera-Brust (3/19): American Wolf, by Nate Blakeslee, looks interesting. As to wolves and humans being alike, an argument could be made that we co-evolved with dogs (who came from wolves), which would make us some kind of blood brothers.
Re “Awaiting Morning in Moundsville,” by John Miller (2/19): The lead picture in the article is the northern end of the penitentiary in Moundsville, W.Va., as seen from the top of the Mound. I saw this as an unknowing tribute by the writer to one of Moundsville’s most famous citizens, the American novelist Davis Grubb. Mr. Grubb left the town at an early age, and like Wheeling’s great Keith Maillard, he never stopped writing about his hometown. The line I love most from Mr. Grubb is the one that I used when I argued one of the early prisoner rights cases before the West Virginia Supreme Court: “All visitors to Moundsville are shown two sights: an ancient Adena burial mound and the West Virginia State Penitentiary. One is the burial place of the unknown dead. The other is the burial place of the unknown living.”
H. John Rogers
New Martinsville, W.Va.
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