Archives for posts with tag: suicide

Tuesday it was Kate Spade. This morning, I read that Anthony Bourdain has also taken his own life. I pause for a moment to consider the engaging chef whose books and television shows entertained and educated me. I enjoyed his wit. The headline “Anthony Bourdain Has Died” didn’t prepare me for the further information regarding his suicide. There’s a certain different ache in my soul when I read of suicide…

…I know what despair feels like.

Well, shit. It’s a scary, seriously frightening and frustrating world these days. I get feeling overwhelmed by despair. Some days it is hard not to. We will see, for days to come, articles about suicide help lines, and some analyses of what drives people to take their own lives. There will be salacious gossip about the lives of the fallen. Someone will share a recent article about the high rate of senior or veteran suicides. Most of the people who read those will shake their heads, and turn away, unaware someone dear to them is on the brink of making that major “life” decision.

Connect with your loved ones, your friends, associates, and coworkers. Be sure to mention that they matter to you in an authentic way, and be real about it. It’s not about hyperbole and fake compliments, and it isn’t necessary to use superlatives. Easier to straight up give voice to that thing they do that you enjoy, or count on, or appreciate, or wish you did as well – or, fucking hell, just have lunch, or coffee – make time. Be present. Don’t rush those connected social moments; they are what matter most in our days. There’s no knowing when someone may choose to check out, and while you may not be able to change their mind about it, you can, at least, enjoy who they are while they are here.

On the other side of the equation, please consider sticking around awhile? If you’re considering a firm end to the chaos, and stress, and trauma, and struggle, and despair… please, just for a moment, consider that there may be other things you have yet to try. There may be practices that improve your experience, even if they don’t change the entire world, itself. Incremental change takes time – please give yourself some. Someone, I promise you, will miss you if you go.

I stayed. There are a lot of verbs involved, but it has been, very much, worth it to have stayed. I’ll go on with that, with staying around I mean, because things got better. Things continue to get better. I can’t promise that for you, but I can assure you that choosing change results in changes, so long as you do the verbs. ­čÖé Your results may (will) vary, and the changes you choose in life may be somewhat askew from the changes you subsequently find unfolding around you, but change is. Despair isn’t particularly sustainable, it’s just annoyingly difficult to see through when we’re feeling it.

There’s one irksome thing about suicide that never fails to leave me feeling bereft and discontent; I don’t know why. No, I mean… I don’t know why. That’s what leaves me feeling so bereft and discontent. I’m not sure there’s any solid “why” to suicide. Surely, people have their reasons. Many leave a note behind, but often those are not public, and even when they are public, they leave so much left unexplained – as if I think there is, or should be, a reasonable explanation when despair overtakes someone. Despair is shitty enough to be its own reason.

One more time, I let the “why?” go, and pause for a moment to say good-bye to a fallen soul. I pause for regret. I pause to appreciate, to mourn, to find personal solace after a time. I pause to be aware I am, myself, okay right now… as though it could creep up on me, and take me by surprise, myself…

…Then I begin again.

I lost someone yesterday. Actually, that’s ludicrously selfish of me, and quite inaccurate. We all ‘lost someone’ – it happens every day. In this case, a man once went to war, came home, lived some portion of his life after we lost touch, and yesterday he chose to end it. I found out fairly promptly, from another friend. What’s odd is that I never heard about birthdays, weddings, divorces, vacations…he only recently joined the Facebook masses. We’d only recently reconnected. ┬áLife can be very like a soap bubble, sometimes, fragile and impermanent.

I wept at the loss of a piece of myself, however small. I wept that we hadn’t shared more, longer, and that I really just don’t know what burden had become to heavy to carry further. I contemplated other lives that ended, one way or another, and gave a moment of heartfelt loving recollection of times shared, and moments worthy of remembrance. My thoughts were of family, and love, and struggle, and warfare; good memories and difficult memories, exciting ones, and commonplace ones, all had their turn. I wept because however much I ever know about those dear to me, and however much they know about me, there always seems to remain unsaid what lacked words; I find myself wondering if I could have said more, or listened more skillfully.

A moment of reflection: life, love, honor...

A moment of reflection: life, love, honor…

Always. Never. These are words I work hard to avoid; they nearly guarantee a logical fallacy as soon as they are dropped into a sentence. How is it they come up so often in a moment of grieving?

“Man down”. At 51 I guess I will start to hear it more often. Those were the words on the phone, when I answered. “Man down. We’ve lost another one.” Enough detail to move on with grieving. Suicide is uncomfortable to contemplate, at least for me. It puts the pain of despair too near to my own pain. ┬áSo far, I continue to choose life over death, myself, but I understand considering it.

Every journey ends

Every journey ends

Someday the phone call will be for me… a friend will call another friend, then the pause… “Man down.” I hope I too will be described as having ‘served with honor’; from my friends that is a very big deal indeed.

Today is a good day to embrace life and love, and to live wholly invested in the experience, and present in the moment. There isn’t any other, and this one is very much worth it.