Thursday, October 10, 2013

"I Want to Die"

"If relationships matter most then [at the end of our lives], 
shouldn't they matter most now?" 
-Max Lucado 

Before any of you get concerned, I don't actually want to die.

But there was a time when I did.

Years ago, that phrase haunted my mind during most waking hours. If you've ever felt that way, truly genuinely wanted it to all be over because you just couldn't imagine how anything would ever be better, you'll easily understand this post. If you've had bad days but couldn't fathom ever wanting to check out, you are lucky and it might take a bit more, but try anyway.

On Saturday I found out one of my old friends shot himself the night before. I've lost a lot of friends to suicide over the years, and every single time I wonder what the differentiating factor is between who makes it through and who doesn't.

The age old nature or nurture question pops into my mind first- "How much is determined by environment and how much is an inherent strength?" Then I think about that cliche "you're never given more than you can handle," and wonder if maybe that's not entirely true.

I hear opinions varying from the sympathetic to the judgmental. "How could they be so selfish?? Why weren't they thinking about everyone who loves them? Why weren't they thinking about ME, how I would feel???"

But then I think two things. 1. Maybe they did think of you and (erroneously) thought you'd be better off without them and 2. Did they know you loved them or even cared at all?

I'm not going to write an in-depth analysis of suicide because I have no answers.

Sometimes I have what I equate to survivor's guilt. I have no idea how I survived the years when I wanted it to all be over. Perhaps it was because I was lucky, maybe because I was blessed enough to have at least one person who loved me at some point each step or maybe it's because of an uncontrollable character trait I was born with.

Most likely it's some incalculable equation of them all. I wish I knew how and why I'm still here and they aren't. Maybe some of them would still be here then.

The one thing I do know is there's a pervasive loneliness that I've watched shape the way people see themselves and the rest of the world. We live in a world that's more socially interconnected than ever, and yet our sense of displacement is increasing.

So often I've heard the last words were something along the lines of, "Nobody would care if I was gone. I can't handle any of this, I don't know how to fix it. I'm so alone. "

Why is that?

We hear the old wisdom and see it burned onto a crafty pieces of wood,"Love the ones you're with", "Home is where you feel love", and other stupid bullshit that sounds great and we whole heartedly agree, but we still ignore it or at least don't really live it out... till things like this happen.

We could use cop-out lines like, "they needed to change their perspective" or "they wouldn't have believed me, it wouldn't have made a difference," but sometimes I think that's a cover for the guilt we feel because we remember all those times we thought to call but didn't or said we were "too busy" to talk or hang out.

The world we live in will continue to move at unmercifully dizzying speeds. It's easy to have a rational sounding excuse to dodge putting the effort into the people we say we love, but when the end comes, we're too often left with regrets.

Love changes everything. I'm not saying that we can prevent all suicides. There are innumerable factors that play in, many of which we never know about. I am saying that there is a problem with the growing sense of disconnection and displacement.

We all have a role to play in that.

We don't get control over how someone else experiences life, but we do get control over how much love we give.

Sometimes, it makes a difference. I know it did for me.

"As the globalized placeless world spreads... it could be that the most radical thing to do is to belong."
 -Paul Kingsnorth


  1. Hi Haiku,

    I am sorry for your loss. I lost an aunt to suicide many years ago. Like yourself, I spent many waking hours asking that question, for years.

    Loving ourselves, a true love, helps us to love others more fully and embrace all which comes our way. It is a softening of the heart. Here in India my heart has softened much, with all the suffering around me.

    People. Stray animals. I feel their pain a bit more, and this is a blessing, because I am learning how to love for the first time.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Hi Ryan- I love this, " I feel their pain a bit more, and this is a blessing, because I am learning how to love for the first time."
      Loss really redefines what we thought love was before had lost anything... Thanks for your thoughts. :)


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