So I got this idea. It grew partly out of the widespread belief that more people commit suicide during the holidays. I did some digging, and it turns out that this is sort of a myth. In reality, suicide rates peak in the springtime, though there is a significant uptick after Christmas… “a 40 percent uptick, according to one large Danish study” (see here and here). But, whatever. It doesn’t really help to get lost in the details when it comes to suicide. Regardless of when suicides are highest, they’re always too high.
In the US, nearly 30,000 people die by suicide each year, and the rate of attempted suicide is much higher—so much so that there is an estimated one attempted suicide per minute. Worldwide, suicide claims more deaths than accidents, homicides, and war combined. And many cases of suicide, particularly in the elderly, go completely undetected and unaccounted (Neal Burton, MD, Source).
Suicide is also one of the leading causes of maternal death, as I’ve written about before.
My family will be taking a long road trip for the holidays to visit family. When I was driving to the store the other day, I thought… hey, we should do something to make the drive more than just a drive. We should do something with our drive that will shine light into the darkness. We should leave messages of hope in our wake. I told my husband about it yesterday, and acknowledged that it would be kind of littering, sort of. He said, “But we’d be littering love.” (He’s brilliant.) Hence, the idea of “Littering Love” was born.
Originally, I thought this would just be an anonymous gift from our family to the world. But here I am publicly putting our “anonymous” plans on display. The reason I’m telling all of you this is because my ultimate motive is to save as many lives as possible and shine as much light as possible. My family could do it alone, and our efforts wouldn’t be wasted, but imagine how much more powerful and effective our efforts would be if they were joined by thousands of other families doing the same thing all over the world?
Here’s the game plan:
First of all, I need to go buy more tape. :-)
We are planning to…
- Wear suicide-prevention t-shirts from Sevenly.
- Leave uplifting messages (courtesy of Pinterest pics and my kids) of hope along our trail at gas stations, restaurants, rest stops, and wherever else we feel inspired to.
- Bring along fruit and granola bars with water bottles taped to them and “Merry Christmas!” labels to give to hungry/homeless people (the vast majority of whom I would guess are suffering untreated from one mental illness or another).
- Leave envelopes that say “Merry Christmas!” with cash inside and a note that says something like: “If you’re down on your luck, this money is yours. If not, add to the stash and make someone else’s day that much brighter!”
- Pray before and during our trip that we are guided in where/when we place our messages so that they will do their highest good for those most in need of them.
- Smile and send love to everyone we see.
Will you join us? Join and share the “Litter the World with Love” facebook page. Make #LitterLove your facebook profile pic. Let’s litter the world with love. #LitterLove #SuicidePrevention #ShareTheGift #GiftIdeas