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Posts Tagged ‘death’

This is about the new book thing I am writing–the one I mentioned in “Decisions.”

 

There are certain things we consider taboo in life, things we refuse to discuss but we have certain feelings about. Suicide is one of them. Tony Scott, director/producer and brother to Ridley Scott (google them if you don’t know) appears to have jumped from a bridge in Los Angeles on August 19. I have been a fan of the Scott brothers for many years. When reading about Scott’s death someone posted this comment to the article I was reading: 

  • “He committed suicide. I have no sympathy for him but I do for his wife and kids. Suicide is the ultimate form of conceit because you are only thinking of yourself.”

What I am attempting to write has to do with the basis of this statement—that suicide is the ultimate form of conceit because you are only thinking of yourself or actually it is the antithesis of it and how we are fast becoming a society that does not absorb information but gobbles it up and spits it out with relatively little thought.

wikipedia

 

While it might seem suicide is the coward’s way out or that is the ultimate form of conceit as this writer put it, there are people who kill themselves not because they want out of this world but because they do not want to be a burden to their loved ones—usually due to some health issue. This is not always the case, but some could care less if they will suffer; they don’t want their family and friends to watch in agony not being able to do anything about it. That isn’t conceit and it isn’t a coward. This is not an excuse but I think we should try to understand people better. Life is what it is about. Walking in the shoes of others is what we need to do.

 

I understand suicide from both sides and have found that many people who post or talk about their wanting to end their life are craving attention and not really wanting to die. Those who are most at risk in my opinion are the ones who do not say anything about it. So while there are groups on the internet and even in real life for those who do crave attention (and they need attention) there are those who go unnoticed. I am not here to debate these situations–just to say they exist and we need to do more than turn a blind eye.

 

Life and Death–Have you ever watched as an animal that has been hit by a car lay in the road squirming, wriggling from pain, dying from internal bleeding? Living in the country, we had pets and saw animals this happened to. My dad would take a gun, shoot them and then bury them—it was right and humane. Not long after my dad died, one of my cats got hit and was still alive but there was no chance of saving it. I was 21 for reference. I got the gun, took the cat to the field behind our house, was ready to shoot it, but I found myself unable to do so. It was one of the many jobs that had fallen to me. I got a neighbor to do it as I stood there. I remember the scene so vividly. I then buried the cat. There was no stopping to think what I needed to do. I just did it or took care of it. It’s part of life. Death is part of life and we move on—sometimes a little too quickly.

 

Why am I telling this story? Because ever since that moment of realizing I was responsible for certain things—sometimes making really tough decisions and I had no one else to look to—I have acted because these things had to be done. No one else was going to do it. Things kept falling to me. No, this is not a God-like thing; it is a responsible thing. I was not the little sheepish girl one would think from the woman I am today. While others looked around and waited to see what someone else will do, I would do what was needed. Whether it was dealing with animals or people—wildlife, pets, pests, humans or whatever—I acted. It is the survival instinct coupled with the caring and protective one. When someone or something was hurt, I helped them or remained there until help arrived…over and over. I didn’t think about it. I just did it. I was raised to do so. Later, my job required it.  

 

**Before anyone reads between the lines and thinks I am suicidal…I have been but I’ve never been able to do that to myself or to my family. However, I understand how people can get to that place. I have been there. I know what it is like to be at the end of one’s rope and feeling the rope is breaking with no safety net in sight. Many people do not understand how anyone could allow themselves to get to that point, but it is not something one allows to happen. I digress.

 

My mom had a friend/colleague who killed herself. I remember the place she died and thought about her each time I passed the location. People would not talk about it. A few years ago, one of my dad’s best friends and distant cousins shot himself. He was suffering from health issues and had recently lost his wife to cancer—my dad died years before. This man’s death wasn’t discussed or mentioned. It was like it didn’t happen. A few years later, a friend of my husband’s killed himself. Family didn’t want people to know he had died let alone that he committed suicide. There were students the girls knew in high school who killed themselves—tragic—and it was forbidden to discuss it at school almost to the point to acknowledge that they had passed away. I understand not glorifying suicide but to try and forget their life too is not right and I think that is what we are doing. And, we are not discussing suicide and ways to prevent it before people get to that stage. There are so many people who contemplate taking their life and we as a society seem more interested in other things. We think, “So what if they are the ‘weakest link.’ Good riddance.”

 

Why a book about suicide? It is not a writing for people who might want to kill themselves. It is more about awareness. I feel that something is urging me to do this. Sure, we are taught that suicide is taboo, but just saying that it is isn’t enough. As with most things, I think we need to understand and walk in the shoes of others before we pass judgment (we really shouldn’t judge). Things are not always black and white. Most people get to a dark place before they kill themselves. Sure, we are each responsible for what we do but if there is any way to help someone else, should we not try to do something? What if it were you? Would you not want a helping hand or a shoulder or perhaps an ear? What if it were a loved one or family member?

 

When my health began to rapidly decline several years ago, I was telling my neighbor how I was concerned about the girls and my husband having to deal with it all—my not wanting to suffer and knowing that if anything happened, they would have to watch. I knew what it was like several times over to watch as loved ones suffered daily. I suspected then that I was going to have a hard road ahead. She immediately jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to kill myself. I didn’t want to die or kill myself. When I tried to explain, she cut off all communication saying that I was only thinking of myself. What I was trying to say was that I never wanted my family to watch me suffer—never a mention about suicide—just that I was concerned for the future, the future of my family. People jump to conclusions and make judgments far too quickly. I understand wanting to spare the family but what kind of pain will be left if I were to kill myself. It doesn’t balance out because it makes it worse for the family left behind. I would never want to do that.

 

To note:  Earlier this year when I was filling out my advanced medical directive I had to decide on whether to keep a NO DNR order. After my cousin’s car crash last year that broke almost every bone in his body resulting in his death a week later, I changed my mind.  His family had time for closure (to some extent), to say their goodbyes, to ready for his leaving this world. I would want that time to say goodbye if it was my loved one and I would want that for my loved ones, so I changed my mind to let them decide when it is time to let go if that is the case. And, I can’t see myself committing suicide for health reasons because my family needs to say their goodbyes and need me around no matter how difficult it is for them—and me. However, I have had days that I have gotten so frustrated and in so much pain both physical and mental that I can understand people wanting out because of it. I understand it from the person’s point of view and a loved one’s viewpoint. I never want anyone to hurt so much that they want out. We all need a support system.

 

I would hope everyone who ever gets to that point of their life before committing suicide has at least one someone to serve as support. Too often, those who kill themselves do not open up and even some who do, do not feel they are understood. I would venture to say that none are thinking clearly. Many are not trying to find a way to check out because they are conceited but many feel that they cannot deal with what they are going through whether it is health issues, heartache, lack of purpose or what.

 

–>  You have heard that suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem? Understanding ‘temporary’ is most times impossible for someone who is going through a dark depression or a lasting health issue. It is the equivalent of asking someone to find their way out of a room with no windows, no doors, or other means of escape. Oh, and they have been blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back. You cannot explain to someone what temporary means no more than telling someone to think of their family, trying to prevent suicidal thoughts. Adding guilt or trying to get someone to reason things out does not work. We owe it to ourselves to understand people and give help when needed. We owe it to others to take a walk in their shoes and truly understand what it is they are facing.

 

You may have known someone who killed themselves and wondered if there was anything you could have done to stop it. It is an awful feeling to bear such a heavy burden, but it is common to have guilt afterwards. With some people, the guilt causes a pain that never dissipates and is like a pebble in a shoe. For others, they feel that they must distance themselves in order to cope with their feelings. People deal with it as best they can but it is not like a natural death–and we have problems dealing with those to begin with. Suicide is not natural–not really–but preventing it can be if we know how. And, dealing with the pain afterwards can lead to better lives for everyone hopefully preventing it from happening again. 

 

Happy Gardening in all of life! May your gardens be beautiful always and may you sow healthy seeds along the way! 🙂

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