The LAST thing you would do
January 24, 2013 by almostakiss
I just got done saying in my last post that I didn’t want this blog to be a place of heavy pain, serious subjects, etc and then I proceed to address suicide. Gah! I’m not going to throw statistics at you but most of us have had our lives impacted directly or indirectly by someone who chose to end their own life. I have spent a lot of time thinking about suicide. These are my feelings and observations, you may not agree with them. I’m not an expert nor do I pretend to be one. If anything I say offends or hurts anyone reading this, it’s entirely unintentional. I never thought I’d have to preface a post with that but I write from my heart and try to be careful with my words but still seem to make a select few unhappy.
Monday Jan. 28th marks the 6 year anniversary of my nephew committing suicide. Steve was 41 when he made his final dramatic exit from the world. Steve was 3 years younger than me. Due to our strange family dynamic, I became an aunt at birth. I was never called “Aunt” by any of my 11 nieces or nephews since I fell more easily into the cousin or playmate category. I only saw my half-sister Dianne’s brood at holidays and a few other times a year due to the fact that they lived a couple hours away in Minnesota. We would bundle up and make the 2 hour drive to their farm or more likely they would come to our little house in Eau Claire, WI. My mom would fix a big meal and I’d always have to sit at the kids’ table in the kitchen while the adults ate in the DR. Steve and his twin brother were my constant playmates when we were together. It was always like no time had passed since we’d seen each other and we talked incessantly, played countless board games, Barbies, school, house, dinosaurs, spacemen or played outside. They made the holidays tolerable for me. We basically grew up together. I remember Steve asking me when I was 11 and he was 8, “Why do you wear a bra?”. I had just got my first bra and was self-conscious about it. I didn’t know how to answer. I knew I could’ve explained the whole reason to him but instead I said, “Ask your mother.” For some reason I also remember him asking me “Why are you so fat?” and I think I answered the same way. It hurt my feelings but he was very outspoken and less shy than his brother. When I started collecting Wacky Packages, the twins wanted to collect them too.
When I received the news that Steve had committed suicide, I went into shock. It was all I could think of. It was surreal. I thought back to all the times we’d shared as children and there was no way to predict that he would be the one to do this. There is no way to make sense of suicide. There is no way to look at someone and know that they’re thinking of this. We can’t see how fragile someone is or what burden they are carrying around. From what I heard from his mother and brother, he’d been battling depression and had been dealing with incredibly challenging situations. I hadn’t seen Steve since my father’s funeral many years before. I have to believe he knew how much he meant to me and how I treasured the fun times we shared when younger.
Suicide is not just for the lonely. Many people who make that fateful choice have spouses, and children. They have good paying jobs, are well respected in their communities. They’re not failures, except maybe in their own eyes. I couldn’t fathom why Steve did this. He had more to live for than I do. He had a big, close family with a twin brother. He had 2 children and a wife. He had a fantastic job that paid well. He was good looking and funny. I have a husband but none of those other things. If he does that with that much going for him, what hope is there for me? His twin is an IT genius and put together a beautiful video montage of pictures of him throughout his life along with music. One of the songs played while the pictures flashed was “Smile though your heart is breaking”. Another was “The Valley Song” by Jars of Clay. Scott played it at the funeral and sent me a copy. I watched it over and over and over. I cried every time it started and by the end I was sobbing. It really broke my heart. He always looked so happy. Like he was having a good time and he had the world by the tail. I was griefstricken more than is normal. I was depressed thinking of a world that existed that he was not a part of. He had such a sensitive soul that could not thrive in a world this harsh. How did I finally stop crying? I quit watching the video. I still think of him but haven’t been able to get out the photo albums with the childhood photos of us to look at. Until now. I am going to include a few in this post.
Suicide is a moment of weakness. The God I choose to believe in does not call it a sin. He is understanding and will know what was in the person’s heart and if they were a good person. God doesn’t want people to be worrying about a deceased loved one going to hell. Suicide is simply a waste of potential and what’s left of a life unlived.
You can live to be 100 and only exist. Never making your mark on society or accomplishing anything major. You can live to a ripe old age and never put your heart out there. So just because someone commits suicide doesn’t mean they didn’t make a difference in our lives or the lives of others. They may have done more in their short(er) lives than someone living much longer. Not to make sweeping generalizations but those who kill themselves are often more sensitive than others and frequently smarter. The fact that they can’t see a solution to their problem, an end to their pain is a mistake. We make mistakes everyday. Some are bigger than others. Some can’t be undone. Suicide reinforces that the person was human and fallible. Maybe in our eyes they were Superhuman. Someone we loved, looked up to and admired. Forgive them for leaving us. Remember how they touched our lives. Remember how hearing the news of their tragic passing by their own hand impacted you. So that you can help others know there is nothing that can’t be solved together. No problem is too big if you have others to lean on.
I’m not trying to justify the irrationality of suicide. It doesn’t make you a hero to take your own life. It’s debatable if it makes you a coward. I haven’t touched on the anger and blame the survivors can experience or the tangible and non tangible mess the departing person leaves for the living to clean up. I feel like each of us are born a blank slate or an empty book. We are given the chance to fill our book with whatever is of our own choosing. Since we are given free will, we are also given the opportunity to end our story at any time. The fact that we choose to no longer get up every morning and see what the day has to offer is a choice. It’s probably not always a well informed choice, the decision can be tainted by physical or emotional pain, drugs or alcohol, horrific consequences of other poor choices we’ve made. The saddest thing about suicide is the story is over prematurely. None of us will ever know the true ending, what would have played out if leaving this world by their own devices wasn’t chosen.