Start Unknown – Finish Unforgettable

A few months ago, I read this quote on the backs of t-shirts worn by cheerleaders from Middleville. It struck me that we are all unforgettable, even if we don’t believe it. Yesterday one of my friends was mourning a friend of hers who took her own life. Last year I lost a nephew to suicide and years back a sister-in-law. I wish these were isolated cases, but they aren’t. There have been others from my past who ended their life because they felt like they didn’t matter.

This isn’t ever a topic I want to write about or talk about or hear about. But that phrase ‘Start unknown. Finish Unforgettable’ is stuck on replay and I can’t get it out of my mind. Of all forms of death, suicide is the most wretched and heartbreaking. Grieving can’t even begin for people who loved them because we are caught in limbo between reality and unbelief. It’s not possible, we say. There’s some mistake. Why? They were the strong one. What were they thinking? And we can’t get the right answers because the right person isn’t here.

I’m not writing this to bring you down, ruin your day, make you sad, or give you a solution. Here’s the thing. Statistics for suicide rates are depressing, so I’m not going to relay them all here, but I feel like I need to be honest about two of them. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages and for every life that ends in death, 25 suicide attempts are made. Someone you know is having a hard time. Their coping mechanism is off-balance. The most visibly depressed person may never try to end their own life. The one who’s known as the life of the party might end up dead tomorrow. We can’t see beyond the facade that is someone’s life. Only God has that power. “God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us. Psalm 138:6”

Yesterday as I was becoming more immersed in thought about how to show compassion and caring to people when we don’t even know they need it, I remembered a poem I read back in high school. That was a lot of years ago and I wasn’t sure I could find it, but I did. And it’s one solution to knowing when to do good, be kind, and act toward others like they matter.

This is by Stephen Grellet (1773-1855) but it seems to be based on these, and other scriptures Hebrews 13:16 and Galatians 6:9-10;

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

I don’t know how to detect struggles and sadness in anyone who hides behind their “I’m OK and all is right with the world” mask. I’m not good at detecting struggles and sadness when it’s visible, so this is a reminder to myself more than anyone else. Be attentive and in the moment when you are with people you care about. Don’t say, “You matter” then ignore their presence. “When we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people – Galatians 6:10”

The best we can do is the best we can do. Dr. Seuss had the right idea when he said;

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

Start unknown. Finish unforgettable. If you don’t think you matter, be brave and tell someone you need affirmation that you do. i promise you, they will tell you that you do.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

SOLD OUT! JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE



    • Lynn, my friend. I apologize for not noticing your comment on this article until now. I’m sorry you also know suicide from a personal perspective. Its been a long time since we’ve connected. I hope you are doing well.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry I’m just noticing this after a very long time..

  1. Dear Jane,

    Your posting had be think about the quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and take their song to the grave”.

    Yes, desperate people sometimes do desperate things when they lose their hope. They can’t see beyond themselves. They only see suicide as their only answer to their problem.

    Their cry for help is not heard or not recognized if the cry is even uttered in the first place.

    My position on the person who actually commits suicide is one of “selfishness”. They leave behind loved ones with the sad legacy of picking up the pieces and torment of asking themselves the question “why?”

    Please know that I do have compassion for these troubled individuals but the real victims are the ones they left behind.

    I have been at the scenes of numerous suicides (in almost every method you could imagine) during my law enforcement career. The scenes are never clean or neat and the horror and the heartbreak of the family members is always overwhelming!

    I firmly believe that if the person who ultimately followed through with their self-murder would have had the chance to look at the sheer anguish and pain they have caused – they would have chosen life. But then again – it was all about them – damn selfishness! The devil was delighted and danced to their song they took to their grave.

    • Danny, this article is very old but I just noticed that you commented and I somehow missed it. I can’t imagine being at the scene of the suicide. The emotional mess is bad enough. The physical effects has to be impossible to forget. Selfish….yes. Devastating…..unbelievably. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope life is treating you well.

  2. Jane, this is a beautiful, hope-filled message of truth. Many people are powerhouses of love and hope throughout their lifetime, yet remain unknown except to the few they’ve impacted eternally. Your life will have eternal impact. 🙂

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Devaney. I wish that people had little flags that popped up when life becomes too much. But that isn’t how it is. Being attentive is our only sensor for what’s going on and then we still can’t get a read on deep emotions. One truth is, we will never regret being kind.