Here we go again with needing a vacation from endless communication. I know when I get this way because damn, everything gets so depressing. Then, the day after I withdrew from “endless communication,” more suicide news, this time the famous chef and raconteur, and I won’t say his name because it’s way too depressing for me. As if politics weren’t bad enough, now this in the news. Coupled with much information about depression, suicide, suicide prevention, hotlines, psychiatrists, devastated loved ones left behind… WHAT is going on.
Among the few things I had the stomach to read in my already currently low emotional condition, one article stuck out. This one stated, don’t pair the word “commit” with suicide, because then it sounds like a crime. Instead say “took their own life,” for example.
This was the first time I ever heard a phrase replacement for the act of suicide. Having grown up Catholic, for certain, it’s considered like murder, like a violent act, a lack of respect for life. Obviously, Catholicism has existed longer than people have acknowledged depression as a medical condition, which needs to be treated without stigma.
But… suicide IS a big thing. It’s forcing a death. It’s you forcing your own death. For certain, there is no way to “soften” that blow, the blow of killing. It the ultimate form of violence to the self. And I have been to that brink, I have been to dark places in my life when I didn’t want to be alive, when sometimes, taking the train to and from work, watching the lights of the train come toward me, I thought about jumping in front of it. I watched it come, time after time, and thought about it.
During those years, my children were very young. When I went to these hopeless places in my heart, they were a lifeline for me. I could not imagine leaving them without a mother. But both famous people who took their lives in the past week had children. One child each. A girl. A young girl.
When I would go to my doctors and they would ask me how I was doing with diabetes, I would tell them that I was doing my best, that I HAD to, because I want to be around for my children. And they would say, “You should live for you first.” Which point of view would maybe have helped these two famous people stick around? I don’t know, if any. Maybe when you are famous and wealthy, YOU is the main event. Not the kids. Not the people you support and who need you, in so many numerous ways. I may be “nobody,” but the truth of the matter is that I know, I feel it, especially for my children, that I AM somebody. And I can’t remove myself from this planet, because I know that.
When you are suicidal, you are barely above the ground. Maybe your nose and mouth are there, but the rest of you feels like you’re already buried. The weight over you is truly like six feet of earth. You really have trouble seeing reality. You’re too tired of life. You feel besides the point. You REALLY, REALLY need someone to be like, “Hey, come over here, we can’t do this without you, we’re struggling without your presence here, you do this like no one else does, you MATTER.” For me, taking care of my kids was this. They need me, they love me, they like me to be around. Just needing someone to “be around” says everything. You don’t have to be painting the Sistine Chapel. Your presence brings joy. Your presence reassures. You’re a part of the bunch who knows you. They want you to always be close. They LOVE you.
That these two people did not have that feeling, that knowing, at the moment they took their lives, and all the moments leading up to that, is the heaviest grief of all.