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Life Is A Burden

5 Jun

Ein Ende mit Schrecken ist immer noch besser als ein Schrecken ohne Ende. -Sophie Scholl
(Better an end with terror than a terror without end.)

One day, not so many years ago, I looked over the edge of the cliff that was my life, and I knew that with one short step I could fall forward, into the oblivion, and perhaps into peace.

For reasons that are still unclear to me (maybe I’m too brave? or not brave enough?) instead of taking that last step toward an untimely end, I backed away from the edge and sought the help I so desperately needed.

Not everyone is that lucky. People around us live day in and day out with voices inside their head pointing them to one conclusion: the only way out is to jump.

Suicide is a topic we tiptoe around. It happens every single day, in every single state, and yet we still whisper the word, like even saying it out loud will push someone into it.

It happened today, in a tiny town in Southern Wisconsin, to a person I didn’t know well, but who was loved by many – evidence of this overflows on his Facebook page, and the pages of those who held him dear.

I can’t even fathom the grief these people are feeling – the blame they may be shouldering for his loss. I keep thinking, if this person had been my friend, what would I do? Could I have helped? Would they have called in the middle of the night if they needed me? Would I have answered?

The pain I feel for this man’s loss, and the pain I feel for his family, friends, and the community we shared, overwhelms me tonight. I don’t have any advice – having been on that edge, I know the hopelessness he felt, I know what the voices sound like, and I know there was nothing anyone could’ve done for me. Suicide is a conscious decision that will be made without thinking of those around you. It is the ultimate act of selfishness. And yet – we cannot place blame on the victim. We have no right to judge something we do not understand. You can’t look into someones eyes and understand their pain.

Every day, 88 people in this country take their own life. We have a moral obligation to put aside our judgement & fear and support our fellow human beings through their times of crisis. This ability to help, to lend an ear, or a shoulder, or make a call when our friend can’t do it themselves… this is what makes us innately human.

If you are in crisis – there is help. Making this call is truly the bravest thing you can do.

1.800.273.8255 – www.asfsp.org

And if you’ve stumbled here and are grieving a loss… please know there is help. The web is full of first hand accounts from survivors – you don’t have to suffer your sadness alone. Here’s a good place to start. http://www.afsp.org/i-am/grieving

One parting thought. 90% of suicides are caused by mental illnesses that can be treated with medication. It’s time to share our stories, and shed light on this dark disease. I am always here to listen.

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