Suicide notes

 

 

 

Suicide notes are the final statement, last words for someone who doesn’t believe anyone is listening. They are the message someone wants to share which sums up their life (as viewed through the depression which has led them to end that life). They can be filled with blame or despair, or they can simply be an explanation of a rational decision (Yes, it is my belief suicide can be a reasonable choice). I’ve read a few suicide notes, some celebrities, some acquaintances, and of them several have been quite rational.

When I say suicide can be a reasonable choice, I am not speaking about euthanasia for the terminally or chronically ill. I am speaking of circumstances in which the reasonable expectation of a satisfying and productive life have been removed. And no, I’m not suggesting a permanent solution for a temporary problem, I’m saying it is indeed possible to be trapped in a meaningless life, the problem is permanent.

As a chronically clinically depressed person, I can identify with the suicidal. I’ve certainly considered the act. I’ve been honest enough to admit it and been placed under observation. If there is a doctor out there who can explain how being incarcerated in a hospital room with no contact is supposed to return the will to live, I’m listening. It just teaches you to lie when asked if you’re going to hurt yourself. I did not, in fact, wish to kill myself, I just had no desire to live. I refer to it as “passively suicidal,” I still look both ways before crossing the street. My decisions about my life are no one’s concern, no one’s responsibility, until I decide I no longer wish to suffer. Then everyone has an opinion, usually an uninformed opinion. Speaking for myself, you do not know how I feel, you are not me. You have not survived over two dozen years with my case of Multiple Sclerosis, you have not watched my wife die, you have not watched the collapse of my dreams from my vantage point. I keep these things in mind about you when considering your choices, please extend the same courtesy to me.

A couple of noteworthy authors come to mind, and while they were active participants in ending their lives, they had given the act a good deal of thought and just ran out of reasons to stay alive. Ernest Hemingway’s note, written after months of illness, expresses many of my current feelings. He was disappointed with his legacy, and disgusted with the poseurs of the world.  His summation was (of course) classic Hemingway, “But here’s the beauty part. Forty, fifty years from now, when all the wanna-be Hemingways are old and fat and their chin-fuzz is fried to bristle and their huevos are dried up like figs in a dusty street… But they still want to do it all like Hemingway…They’ll have to eat a shotgun too.”

Hunter S. Thompson wrote a note I can identify with, even though I don’t care for football. Titled “Football Season is Over;” No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun – for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax – This won’t hurt.

It doesn’t have to hurt. It’s all a matter of removing the central nervous system from equation, understanding the life process and how to interrupt it.

So here I am, a birthday looming on the horizon (only seven years past fifty), glory days in the past, and a series of disappointments in everyday life. I had made every effort to be out of this country before the election cycle began, but here I am, faced with two absolutely scary prospects as presidential candidates, and a populace torn over which sociopath to rabidly support. I had really hoped to avoid this. There’s a television at work, and I have to concentrate on not laughing out loud at the news in front of my co-workers. They actually take this stuff seriously, which highlights just how out of touch with reality the majority of people are. I find myself unable to relate to people, lots of people, the overwhelming majority of people. There are so many more issues, but this is not my suicide note.

Suicide is ostracized, making life difficult for those left behind, if they care what other people think. The fact is, all life ends. It is random, you could be hit by a falling aircraft while eating dinner. Your friend was not going to live forever, so it doesn’t matter if it was suicide or cancer that took him. Actually it does. Suicide is an act of ownership, taking responsibility for ending a life no longer worth living. It is not cowardly or an escape, it is an act of control, a conscious choice of path.

All of my religious influences have been strongly opposed to suicide. “Life is a gift from God, suicide is throwing away that gift, an insult to God.” We each have our own vision of our judgement day (Emma’s was cartoonish), I see it as an acknowledgement of my life to my creator. You can visualize it as a straightforward exchange across a desk (or a child begging for mercy, depending upon your temperament), but the conversation is taking place every moment, at the end we just make contact and I find out if my beliefs are correct (or not). Perhaps such a responsible point of view is unusual. This could very well be why suicide is so misunderstood, people who live their lives never actually taking responsibility for anything, judging those who have taken responsibility and faced the consequences.

You don’t know how it feels. Even if you have walked along the edge, it was your edge, you don’t know this one. Carry that lesson forward, apply it to all of your judgements.

 

 

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7 comments on “Suicide notes

  1. Mike R says:

    I am moved by your closing statement and the admonition to not be quick to judge the path of another’s life. Only the person caught within the pit of depression can understand the utter absence of hope and the state of mind that sees the only end to the pain being the end of life, itself. Like you, I have walked that path. As you point out, all suicides are not the same. I recall the loss of a man that I supervised when I was in the military. His suicide was a rash one committed in a moment of drunken crying over a broken love affair. Much different than the recent loss of much older friend who simply was exhausted from a life-long depression. For the first man I felt great sorrow, both for his loss and for the fact that he did something that drunken men can do that they would never do sober. For the second, I will be left to always wonder if there is something that those of us who knew him could have done that might have changed the course. But his pain was so deep and had gone on for so long. His depression had gone on to the point that he likely felt that his death would be the best thing for everyone. Only those who have been dogged by the hound of depression for so many years can beginning to perceive of that state of mind–truly believing that the world and others would be better off with out you.

    And I will admit to a fear when I first starting reading that you might have been going through such mental or physical pain that you were writing your own note. I would wish that state of mind on nobody. And you have certainly have had some very difficult years that would try the very soul of any man. Having been through a life of much depression, I could always sympathize, although i have never suffered the loss of a wife. My recent decline into poor physical health has given me better insight into what you must go through with MS, although I can never know the real depth of that illness, as you do well to point out. Only the person who is living that life can truly know. The rest of us do well to open our hearts and look upon each other with grace and understanding.

    Thank you for being so transparent. It certainly ministers to my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike R says:

    Not suicide discussed in the way we normally do, but this article is interesting:
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/27/health/girl-chooses-heaven-over-hospital-part-1/

    A young child, with the agreement of her parents, chooses to die at home and go to heaven rather than continue with painful medical intervention that offered little hope. I couldn’t help but think that we can never know the path of pain that the little girl has endured. In some ways, surely the decisions of some to commit suicide are arrived at in a similar, if less socially-accepted, way. No, I don’t personally agree with suicide as the right moral choice for myself, but hopefully God will give me the grace to be more concerned about the wellbeing of my neighbor than I am about forcing my views upon him. And to spare me from the sin of judging a person in whose moccasins I have not tread.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mari Collier says:

    I have put off responding because I am exhausted and felt that I might say something wrong. I cannot agree that suicide is a logical course. Right now I am very close to what is referred to as the extreme old age and I find myself having to arise early every morning to take two grandchildren to their respective schools and while at home watch my son die. Not something I thought would every be in my life. I simply thank the Good Lord that he has given me the strength to do this and provide shelter for my son and his family. I also am embarked on a publishing career that seems to be gaining steam. That means more hours out of my day. I do not worry about the afterlife waiting as I have seen it when I was very ill. Yes, at that time I saw no reason to go on and had quit trying to expel the air that I could drag into my lungs. The one doctor had told my mother to take me home and let me die. Yes, I heard him. Not exactly what one wants to hear at the age of 14, but I digress. I was there and it was wonderful except the voice said, “No, you are not suppose to be here. Go back.” It was like a huge grey wind blew me back and I was in my bed again trying to expel air and then breathing in more. I was really disappointed. Three days later my mother had me on the bus and we headed West. No, I never told her of that experience. It has sustained me, that and my faith in Jesus Christ. That kind of love overcomes all. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s not the ‘reasons’ one believes are valid for committing suicide ( I would never judge ) it’s the ‘results’ for those left behind that seem so unfair.

    Liked by 1 person

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