The pain is not less

My tear ducts have been to the gym. 

Let me explain. I am 65 and in the process of taking things out of storage. I’m going through boxes and large (sometimes clear, sometimes not) garbage bags. The bags are filled with soft items that mostly turn out to be curtains, fleece blankets, stuffed animals, clothes. Old t-shirts of mine that when held out full, look shockingly small. 

I’m clearly not half the man I used to be.

And then I emptied the contents of a pale cotton bag, maybe a pillow case and a half in size. Out fell a dozen or so neatly folded washcloths,  colors faded, pinks, yellows. Two hand towels. 

I couldn’t place them. 

And then, the coin dropped. They were my mother’s. She committed suicide August 12, 1992. Today is January 17, 2019. No, the pain is not less.

My tear ducts have been to the gym.

On Suicide

There is nothing easy about the subject of suicide and whenever the subject enters the realm of my awareness, I am internally stilled and quietly shifted into a chilly lonely place.  I’ve lost a mother, brother and birth-father to suicide and so know firsthand the carnage it causes. Reading this week about the suicide of Robert Enke, the goalkeeper for Germany’s National Soccer team brought tears to my eyes. The young man battled with depression and, reaching a point where he believed death was the only way to free himself of the pain he was in, ended his life. He as 32.

I am not against suicide in all instances. I think if one is terminally wants to end their life with the dignity, they have a right to do so. But suicide, the ending of one’s life, is like many things in life. The choice can be made for healthy or unhealthy reasons. I can tell you that in the instances of my brother, mother and birth-father, all three made the choice for unhealthy reasons which makes their choices all the more heartbreaking.

What I can say is this, when one is contemplating ending their life, it is likely they are feeling out of control of all their life and the ending of it is the one thing that do have control over. I think each individual deserves to discover that while they honestly and understandably feel like they are out of control, they are not. And if there is a way for them to discover they do have control, the have a right to know about it. Once the decision to end life is acted on, the light is out. However, when one explores the possibility that they have more say over their life than it seems and discover that this is so, lights go on.

Life is better with the light on because this way you get to live it.