….unless you’re going to express sympathy.
Some of my officemates were discussing the suicide of Don Cornelius. This is not the first time they’ve discussed someone’s suicide, nor is it the first time I wanted to punch them in the face for their remarks.
“That person had so much to live for.”
“Come on, how bad could their life have been?”
“Tomorrow’s another day, people!”
Okay, morons, let me tell you something about suicide. It’s not something done lightly, and it’s usually born of severe depression. What’s depression? My best way of describing depression is a lack of any and all hope that life will get better. You hear that, twits? The suicidal person doesn’t see anything to live for. They can’t see the good in their life. They can’t see tomorrow being any better.
These people who lack empathy are everywhere, and it seems I’ve always known SOMEONE like that. I remember when I was in high school, there was a rash of teen suicides. Like, 6 in a month or something. I had ridden the bus in junior high with one of the boys who died. I remember one of my classmates talking about how stupid the guy was…Chris (the teen who had killed himself) was on the football team, drove a nice pickup truck, was on the honor roll, had a girlfriend….what’d he have to kill himself over? I remember jumping on my classmate, in front of everyone…”You have no idea what you’re talking about. Every one of those things is superficial. You have no idea what was going on in his life, or anyone’s life outside your own. Someone could tell you of the things they’ve experienced and you STILL wouldn’t have any concept of the pain that person felt”. My classmate was stunned. He’d never seen me speak up like that.
I’ve written before of Josh’s suicide, so I won’t rehash that, but I can speak of my own suicide attempt a month after he died. I was drunk, of course, and I had (stupidly) called (psycho) Lee because I had heard her mother had died shortly after Josh and I wanted to express my condolences. She was so hateful to me. She told me I could die and no one would care. Between Josh’s death and my intoxication, those words were just enough to send me to the medicine cabinet. I found a bottle of Unisom, and swallowed half of them. I remember feeling completely terrified, and trying to throw them back up. Two came up. I resigned myself to dying, and swallowed the rest of the bottle.
As the drugs worked their way into my system, I remember seeing “worms” crawling on the ground, and hearing voices, making the experience even more frightening. At some point, my mother came into the room. We had a conversation, and I vaguely recall her asking me if I knew where I was. I told her I was in Dallas (I wasn’t), and I think I mentioned something about having gone to see Kristen, my best friend from junior high whom I hadn’t seen in years. I remember my mother getting mad at me for not making sense, but I also remember her crying. She was terrified. She made me turn off the light and she sat there, in the dark, watching me until I fell asleep.
To my surprise, I woke up the next morning. I’ve never been so sick in my life as I was that weekend. I remember hearing my mother having a conversation with my brother outside my door. She asked him if he had any idea how much I’d had to drink the night before, and told him some of our conversation and how out of it I was. She apparently convinced herself I had just been drunk, but asked my brother to stay home with me that Monday, just to keep an eye on me. When I look at my daughter, I’m certainly grateful my attempt wasn’t successful.
A woman I worked with for four years committed suicide a couple of years ago. She hung herself. It broke my heart.
Yes, life tends to get better, but the thing people have to understand is, a suicidal person simply doesn’t see that. And in that final moment, that moment when you pull the trigger or slip your head through the noose or swallow the pills, you don’t care about your loved ones. That was a tough thing for me to accept…that in the moment that Josh put the barrel of that rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger, he didn’t love me or anyone else. Your job, the car you drive, or what you’ve accomplished…none of it registers. All you want is a way to escape the pain. Imagine how much you have to hurt to want to kill yourself.
As much as those who commit suicide have my sympathy, I also want to smack them. I’ve said many times, the next time I see Josh, I’m gonna squeeze the stuffing out of him and shower him with kisses. And then I’m gonna smack him for the pain he caused his brother and his family, and me. Same with Margie. A hug and a smack.
And maybe the next time I hear people up in their ivory tower condescending about someone’s suicide, maybe they’ll just get the smack and a lecture about how lucky they are to have not felt that kinda pain.