By Charlotte Moyler
My story is one of a peace that stands stark against the circumstances of my life and of a hope that never lets go.
On September 13, 2011, my world came to a standstill and turned itself upside down and all around. I was caught in a tremendous amount of shock and extreme darkness. My precious 17-year-old daughter, Maggie, took her very own life. Getting into the details can become confusing and not terribly healing.
There were no real signs of the internal struggles that caused her to lose all hope. She was recovering from tonsil surgery, had experienced sadness over broken relationships and her neurologist had continued to increase medications for Maggie’s fainting disorder. The night before Maggie died, she slept in my bed. My husband of 32 years (and Maggie’s beloved daddy) was out of town. As I look back, I think the evil thoughts and Satan’s lies were tugging at her and it scared her. She must have been too embarrassed to reveal to me these dark thoughts. We never discussed suicide, as I never thought we needed to. If only I knew then what I know now.
The day Maggie died, I posted on her Facebook wall; “Today will be a great day!” I told her how proud I was of her returning to school after recovering just one week from having her tonsils removed. She went to school that morning looking especially pretty. She had completed all of her outstanding school work, even the AP classes. Maggie was smiling brightly when she left that morning. Her senior pictures were taken that day. The proofs arrived in the mail weeks after her death.
The night Maggie lost all hope and did something that we still cannot comprehend, I was at church serving. I struggle with this and continue to wrestle over and over with God.
This is a story on surviving, and after 4 and a half years, I am now finding my voice.
Almost immediately after Maggie died, by pure grace, God placed upon me the need to not look inward, but outward and upward. To stop asking why, but how.
How can I salvage something worthy from this horrific disaster?
Where can I find the hope my soul yearns for?
Will any joy ever return to my broken and shattered life? Where can the beauty from the ashes be found?
This is where the totally broken me and the Great Healer collided. This is where God’s glory met my suffering.
Philippians 4:8, became my life verse after Maggie’s death. God’s word has comforted me, and this verse helps to bring me back to life.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. “Philippians 4:8
God’s word tells me that I should attempt to “think about such things,” keeping truth, purity and loveliness at the front of my feelings at all times. God calls me to fully embrace His mercy, grace and blessings and to reveal such in my daily walk by recollecting all that is lovely, admirable and moral. By doing so, I am able to offer words of hope and restoration. God is with us in our suffering, and His power can explode in our lives and the lives of others. That is our hope. In a world blinded by the pursuit of happiness, there are many people in pain. While we rush to get ahead, there are people being left behind.
Maggie taught me a lot about love. It is a simple word with vast meaning. The morning after her death, I found a text she had sent to me minutes before taking her life: “I love you.”
Maggie taught us that it is love that holds the meaning of life for us here. As deeply saddened we are by her loss, our hearts lift in gratitude for the richness she brought into our lives.
We choose to remember Maggie by the lovely manner in which she lived her life, not the tragic accident that ended it.
Charlotte Moyler has been married for 36 years and is also a mother to their 24 year old son Jake. After Maggie’s death, she was instrumental in founding the Williamsburg Survivors of Suicide Loss group in 2012. She also facilitated a grief support group at her church as well as helping with the local Compassionate Friends support group. Charlotte is passionate about shining her light and bringing hope from and to the hopeless.