When my son died by suicide in 2008, well-meaning friends sent me a variety of books on grief. I couldn't stomach most of them. I was in shock and deeply traumatized by what had happened. I knew something had gone terribly wrong to transform my child from a boy with a sunny disposition into a hopeless young man who saw no way out of his anguish aside from death. Spiritual platitudes were no antidote for what ailed me.
He had experienced spiritual betrayal in two high-profile evangelical Christian contexts, which alienated him from his own cherished values, leaving him spiritually adrift. There were other complex issues, including serious health challenges, but I was convinced he had been suffering from something like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).