I thought I’d republish this post in honor of National Suicide Prevent Week. I originally wrote it on December 23, 2010 – a few days after my cousin committed suicide.
Suicide is a big, heavy, angry, hurtful word.
It destroys families. It breaks hearts. It leaves parents, teary eyed, heavy-hearted, staring into freshly dug graves. It leaves children dazed, confused, and emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives. It leaves spouses alone, afraid, wondering what, if anything, they could have done to prevent it from happening. It leaves friends astounded, wondering why the person never reached out – how could they have not known the person was hurting so much that they thought suicide was their only option?
I have been unfortunate in my life with regard to suicide. A classmate in high school, emotionally unstable after going off of his bi-polar medication, hung himself in his parent’s garage. My uncle, grief-stricken after divorce, turned a gun on himself in his bedroom. My ex-boyfriend (my daughter’s father) suffered from drug addiction and suffocated himself after the heartache of a failed relationship, debt and job issues piled up on him. My cousin, for reasons that are still unclear to me, shot himself over this past weekend.
The “reasons” why don’t really matter to the survivors, do they? They don’t make the grief any easier. It doesn’t make it any easier to search through photo albums and boxes of old letters, searching for mementos to bring to the memorial services. It doesn’t make it any easier to watch their caskets as they are lowered into the grave. It doesn’t make it any easier when its time to erase that name off of your contact list. It doesn’t make it any easier on Christmas morning, when Daddy isn’t there. It doesn’t make it any easier when there is an empty seat at the dinner table. It doesn’t make it any easier.
No “reason” is reason enough to end your life.
A friend recently commented on my Facebook status regarding my cousin’s suicide. He said that he was a selfish bastard…and immediately, other family members began commenting – so much so, that I ended up deleting the post, feeling that my post regarding my cousin was not the time nor place for people to debate the topic in general. They were upset at my deceased cousin being called a bastard, and in their grief, I can certainly understand why they were offended. It hurts to hear something negative about a family member you have just lost. However, I completely understand why my friend said that, and I whole-heartedly agree with him. Suicide is, after all, the most selfish act a person can commit. Although I have not “been with” my daughter’s father since I was pregnant with her, and his suicide came a full decade after our relationship ended, I felt that loss in an almost incomprehensible way.
What was my first reaction to her father’s suicide? Anger. It was months, if not an entire year, before I was able to really feel the grief. I was angry because he thought of no one but himself during those final moments – he didn’t think of his daughter, struggling for years to come with the loss of her father. He didn’t think of his parents, whom he had been threatening with suicide for ages. He didn’t think of all of the friends and family who had helped him over the years. All he thought of was the moment he was in, the pain he felt, and instead of sucking it up and trying to recover, he took the easy way out. And everyone around him – we will all suffer for the rest of our lives because of his selfishness.
Suicide is the coward’s way out. It brings a quick end to whatever unhappiness the person may be experiencing. They don’t have to endure anymore “suffering”…but what about their families? My ex took his life for reasons I feel were ridiculous – they were things that every person goes through at some point or another, and his lifestyle and unwise decisions led to some of them. Instead of “riding it out” and having patience, he took his life. I have not spoken to my cousin’s wife at length in the past days, as I have not wanted to upset her further, I do not know all of the details of the days leading up to my cousin’s suicide. I know he was suffering from depression and that his life wasn’t exactly easy, but I don’t know of any specific event that pushed him over the edge.
Regardless of why, what he did was horrible. Do I miss him already? Yes. Am I heart broken? Yes. Will I ever go to our family reunion and not be struck in the chest with the horrific realization that I will never see his smiling face again? No.
When someone takes their own life, they aren’t merely taking their own life.
They are taking a piece of our lives as well.
There is NOTHING that could ever possibly happen in this world that compares to the pain of losing a loved one. Whatever could have possibly driven him to suicide – I am certain that it pales in comparison to what his suicide has done to his wife, his two young daughters, his mothers, and the rest of the family.
If you are depressed, if you are thinking that there is no way out – if you are considering taking your own life, I implore you to call someone. Suicide is not the answer.
If you feel that you have no one to call, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.