The following letter was written in 2014, and was most recently presented at the funeral service of Cathy Rueff on February 20, 2021, in Columbus, Mississippi.
“I was all set to commit suicide in late 2010, due to circumstances in my life that I never dreamed I would have to face. I was 3,000 miles from family, and although I had wonderful Church family and friends around me, I felt so terribly alone. I had planned to take my life one afternoon because I couldn’t see past the horrible betrayals and pain caused by the people closest to me at the time. Letters of farewell were all written, addressed, and stamped to specific family and friends. All I had to do was drop them in the mailbox on my way to my appointment of ‘escape.’
“Then a treasured friend asked me to come and meet with her that day, just two hours before my self-committed ‘appointment.’ I felt so free knowing I was soon going to be relieved of my pain that I happily went to see her. As I walked in, she greeted me with a smile and a big hug. Then she sat me down and told me that she just wanted to commend me for ‘being such an example of faith’ to my three children by holding on to God during this difficult time for my family. She said, ‘Your children will see this example and know they can make it through difficult times in their own lives with God’s help.’
“It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit broke through to my heart, and for the first time, I was able to see past the hurt, the pain, the devastation, the fear, the anger, and the betrayal of all I held dear to my heart. I was able to see how my actions would look through my children’s eyes if I were to carry out my plans of taking my own life.
“I said nothing to my dear friend. I only wept on her shoulder as I had done many times during the preceding weeks. She had no idea I was weeping because of the love that I had just allowed to envelope me from my Heavenly Father through her kind words. I left her office where we met and immediately shredded those letters that were ready to be mailed. I prayed and asked God for the forgiveness of my actions and thoughts and asked Him to lead me in His way and His time, and to show me how to best be an example to my children of leaning on Him for strength to survive.
“My friend had no clue what her words had done to me and for me that day until I thanked her in a Christmas card that year by telling her of her gift to me and to my children, for her allowing the Holy Spirit to use her to reach my heart and save me with His love.
“So, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not forget to encourage one another every day. You never know what impact your seemingly small gestures of kindness and love may mean to a struggling soul. We need each other, and we need to share the love of Jesus with everyone. This life is too short to allow our brothers and sisters to be tormented by the darkness of this world. Jesus has a better way. Let’s encourage each other — it can be the difference between life and death in this world and in the world to come.” –Cathy Rueff.
Cathy Rueff passed away in early 2021 from causes associated with COVID-19. Her wish, and that of her friends and family, was that her note of inspiration could encourage others.
Gulf States | June 2021