October 28, 2004 started the ripple effect.
We received a call at 2:24 in the afternoon to inform us that our son had been found. At first, you think He was never lost, we knew exactly where he was, what he was doing, where he was working, so how could someone have found him? Then in the next few seconds you go through major surgery. Your heart, soul and life is pulled out of your body through a phone connection. Life as I knew it five seconds ago existed no more. I just did not realize how much it did not exist, even now: two years later. After what seemed to be hours, after the initial shock sank in, my wife and I went through the heart‐wrenching task of calling our family. Within hours all were home, not knowing exactly what happened, except that our son was not living any more. His life was gone forever, forever being a word that carried no meaning or comprehension.
So the ripple effect kept spreading to grandmother, aunts, uncles, friends. All with some or all of the same effects I had. The only thing we could think of at the moment in time was that our son, the kind that was always doing something to get you to laugh, to smile, or just to cheer you up was physically gone forever. How could this be? At first, even though we kind of suspected it was suicide, we did not want to believe it.
Even weeks later when the official certificate came and on it listed the cause of death we still did not believe this. As time progressed, hours to days, days to weeks, you slowly see yourself in your new life, a life of true reality. A true life experience that would put all other reality shows to shame. That’s where that word survivor comes in. After all the ripples have come to shore, real life sets in. This new life is here for me and my family. Nothing is or will ever be the same but somehow we may survive this. Being a survivor of suicide is something one cannot escape. The grief and the toll of emotional suffering for all involved is unimaginable. And imagine this is happening in our country every 18 minutes. Then every minute later someone is thrown in to the ripple effect, waiting on that last ripple to come to shore, which could take years before one is able to accept survivorship. As a society, we are so afraid of a word that describes one of life’s horrific conditions. We do very little about it, we know what to do about it and how to help reduce the number, but still do very little to intervene.
Physically our son is no longer with us but within our hearts, souls and lives he is still such an important part. The memories of Steve will never part from us. Knowing that our true Father in the heavens now takes care of him makes surviving survivable.
Ron L. Puckett
For Stephen Lee Puckett 11/19/81 ‐ 10/28/04