Michael Ingmire: In My Life

“All these places have their moments
Of lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all”
In My Life, John Lennon

Michael Ingmire

September is an unusually serious month for me. Throughout these years, with the passing of friends, family members and influences, it has become a month of loss. These are some of the regrettable remembrances of this life. Some wounds never truly heal.

September 14, 2023 marks the 27th anniversary of my brother George’s completion of the act of suicide. More than ever, even with the amount of time involved, my brother still inhabits my daily thoughts. But in 2023 the influence of Jesus Christ began figuring even more predominately in my life and in my work and this year my faith is important in my remembrance of my brother’s suicide and the other losses in my life.

Many years ago, I forgave my brother, and myself, for his suicide. He was truly miserable in this life. “Completion of the Act,” is a term that is used in the group conversations that exist within many Suicide Survivor groups. Except in a few odd cases, a suicide is usually a planned act. There were many attempts at suicide before my brother completed the process. He was desirous to find peace and if there was anyone seeking Heaven towards the end of their life, it was my brother. George’s last months were like the Bob Dylan lyric:

“I’ve been walking that lonesome valley.
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door…”

I am assured, by faith, that my brother was embraced and forgiven by Jesus Christ. I have never believed that God would immediately send someone to an eternal damnation because they made the mistake of suicide in their despair. I believe that God is infinitely wise as well as infinitely compassionate and, perhaps, he considers suicide on a case-by-case basis.

Since my days as a writer for the FOX Opinion page and here with Politichicks I have written about the subject of suicide. Recently I wrote about this process for PolitiChicks, “Michael Ingmire: Eight Years Writing for Politichicks and Celebrating Women.” In the article, I wrote that it was FOX Opinion Editor, Lynne Jordal Martin, who first encouraged my writing on the subject. I owe her a debt of gratitude for that. Since those days with Lynne, and in the suicide pieces that I have written for Politichicks, I have had many readers reach out to me, the majority of contacting me because they had recently lost a loved one to the darkness of suicide. I appreciate their sincerity and understand their sorrow.

In truth and humility, these folks honor me. As I have written and have stated before, I feel that it is my Christian duty to aid those who suffer from the loss of a loved one by suicide. The best way to honor my brother is to assist others because experience is the best teacher of compassion in regard to suicide. I try my best to answer my readers on this subject, to the full extent of my capabilities.

In 2008, Suicide Awareness Month was established for the month of September. Additionally, September 10 is also noted as Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day. The 10th is an appropriate date, as suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults.

This is fine, but I believe we should do more than name a month after a very real and horrific subject. We should
treat this matter like the national healthcare crisis that it is. Sadly, this year the biggest increase in suicide–as it was in 2022–is among women, our youth, and our veterans. Suicide is the real pandemic in our country and throughout the world.

And the biggest prevention of suicide is accomplished by an active faith in Jesus Christ. His mercy is infinite.

I love this life, but my losses have been wounding and depressing. “Loss” has been a daunting reality throughout much of my life. In fact, to a large extent my life has been framed by loss. I once took it personally, to my detriment.

Regrettably, sorrow was a presence in my life far too early. My father’s murder when I was eight years old could have destroyed me. Instead, I survived that loss through faith, my mother’s love, my music, and my writing, all of which helped to define the better parts of my character. Without the pursuit of these survival techniques, including the comfort of family and friends and my art, I could easily have been a fatality, too.

And yet, my faith, heart, soul and talents have also been framed by my triumphs over these tragedies. That comes from a firm belief in our Savior. It also comes from an appreciation of the many blessings He has bestowed upon me in my life. Without a doubt, I am a survivor, by the grace of Jesus Christ. Anything that is good or noble in my life began with Jesus, and also through the direct instruction that I received from my mother. And, these days, from my wife.

That doesn’t mean my life has been a lesson in sainthood. The manner of my father’s death created an unresolved anger in me, an anger that was often a real hindrance to my happiness. I am actively working on eliminating all unnecessary anger in this current existence. I react too quickly in anger to what may seem like a challenging situation. Sometimes anger is not the appropriate response; sometimes it is.

But as I look at my own life through the hopeful eyes of eternity, I realize it is time for all of us Christians to place our houses in order. I remain in training to be a better Christian Soldier for Christ. And changing begins with Jesus Christ and continued prayers to Him.

After 57 years, I finally forgave my father’s murderer in prayer this March. I wrote about the process in a Politichicks article, “The Difficulty of Forgiveness.” For me, forgiveness is amongst the most difficult Christian principle to embrace.

Regrettably, another personal loss in my family occurred on 9/11/2012 with the Benghazi attacks that killed my nephew, Sean Smith, along with Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Since 2013 I have written many articles about the subject of Benghazi, most of them colored with anger. One PolitiChicks piece from 2018, “Six Years of Benghazi: The Comfort of Friends”, remains important to me because of the community of friends I met. The individuals named in this 2018 article have remained my support team in the process of seeking accountability for Sean’s death and I continue to value their compassion and counsel.

The lack of justice from the Obama administration for the Benghazi Four was incomprehensible, but I know real accountability for Benghazi will come through Christ’s return. Ironically, Sean Smith voted for and supported Barack Obama in 2008; that level of cosmic betrayal is enough to break one’s heart.

Eleven years after the attacks, the constant anger has taken its toll. Anger is merely reductive for me in 2023, unless it is backed by the will of God.

This is where the increase in my faith comes in. When your heart gets broken in this life from an endless number of losses, you begin thinking of not only the people you lose but how you may honor their lives. In turn, I need to turn over the people I have been angry with (including politicians) to Jesus.

I have survived and thankfully thrived because of my faith. Additionally, God has blessed me as a Bluesman and as a writer, with their attendant abilities. But the salvation offered by Jesus is more important than any earthly wealth or talents. In retrospect, those talents helped me to make sense of the madness of this world that is consistently troubling. For we know, this world is truly mad.

As John Fogerty sang,

“This here’s a jungle, ain’t no lie,
Look at the people, terror in their eyes
Bad business comin, can’t be denied
They’re running with the dogs, afraid to die.”
Change in the Weather, John Fogerty

There is a depth to a level of endured sadnesses that cannot be taught, only experienced. In 2023, I choose to remember my father, brother, and my nephew, and the other losses in my life, through the eyes of my faith. Additionally, our family pays tribute to my brother by continuing to believe that Suicide Prevention Month is every day and every month. And I will continue to seek accountability for my nephew Sean’s death because it is the correct thing to do.

The joyful moments of life move our hearts. But it is the difficult and tragic moments in our lives that build the substance of our character. The loss of friends and loved ones, combined with a clear faith, informs my soul. It has made me appreciate who and what remains in my life.

I greatly appreciate the Jewish tradition that is called Elul. Elul is the last month of the Jewish year and the final month prior to Rosh Hashanah. It is a month for the faithful to spiritually prepare for the High Holy Season and a period of introspection, taking stock in your soul. (On a side-note, September is a way to say Elul to a non-Jew.)

September 2023 is my personal Elul, a space of time where God knows both my weary spirit and my newly redeemed heart. Through Christ, we truly honor, with faith, the people that have made an impact on us and whom are no longer present.

I know I will see my loved ones again, in one form or the other. As the Bible says in Revelation 21:4, And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away. (KJV)


Michael Ingmire

Michael Ingmire, is a musician, writer, commentator, activist and author based in North Carolina. As a musician he has shared stages with artists like John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Bo Diddley, Dr. Mac Arnold, Wilson Pickett, Allen Ginsberg, Kenny Neal, Bob Margolin, among many. Michael's work is available for listening or purchase at reverbnation.com under Michael Wolf Ingmire. Since the death of his nephew, Sean Smith, in the September 2012 Benghazi attacks, Michael’s writing has taken on a strong political edge. He has previously written about Benghazi extensively for The Daily Caller and foxnews.com. Starting in September 2015, Michael has been a consistent contributor to Politichicks, writing about, political, musical, and social topics. His article, “Benghazi: A Tale of Two Reports,” closes out the chapter on Islam in the collection, “Politichicks: A Clarion Call to Political Activism.”

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