In the last two days, I have heard about two young girls killing themselves. One a local girl and the other my son’s ex-girlfriend in Texas. Both girls far too young to have no other options than death. My son grappling with a love and connection that was ended...permanently.
But I know that life, sometimes can feel like a death sentence. I mean, really it is, a death sentence. But it doesn’t feel that way most of the time, at least to me, anymore...
There have been many times I thought about killing myself. A couple times in recent years. It was always because I couldn’t see a way out of the pain. I couldn’t see things changing. Luckily for me, things either changed and I got some relief or I was able to mentally alter perspective enough so that I could see that if I could just hang on, it would change and I would be ok.
I didn’t know either of these girls. I didn’t know their pain, their joy, I literally know nothing about them other than their death. But it affects me. It hurts my heart and my soul. It makes me so very sad that these girls had no one in their lives that could help them. That they felt that the world would be better off without them...so they left.
Two lives cut short. I can feel the dangling of a life force that was not over, that was not done. It is like I can still feel them, even though I didn’t know them at all.
I think I relate to the pain. The exquisite pain of being alive and wanting to not be anymore. Of living on that edge of life and death and choosing the later. I do not really know what that feels like because even though there have been times in my life when I considered suicide an option, it wasn’t really. What I really wanted was the pain to stop. I didn’t really want to die. I wanted to be relieved from suffering and I found other options besides death...because I looked hard and I didn’t give up. I kept looking even when the blackness surrounded me.
I also have to acknowledge that I always had people who were close to me...my friends, my family. I always had someone to talk to and was able to talk to. Now maybe I didn’t share this little nugget that I was in so much pain I wanted to die...but I had people close enough to me that were paying attention that my thoughts might have been detected.
When someone chooses to end their lives, the people left behind try to figure out why...and I get that. It was the first question I asked when I was told of both deaths. But no matter how one answers that question, the answer is the same: They ended their lives because they wanted to die more than they wanted to live. The scale tipped and for probably a lot of reasons, they couldn’t right it back to balance.
My heart hurts for the friends and families of these two young girls. My heart breaks for all people who stand at the edge of life and death and pick the later. One does not arrive easily at that conclusion...I know, I have been there myself. I even had a plan once upon a time. But as I stood on the precipice of living and dying, I told on myself. I let someone in, I told them what I was thinking and why I was thinking it and I was lucky because they helped me. Turned me around and brought me back in from the ledge. (Not literally).
I have been saved so many times in my life. So many times I have felt that the burden of living was too great. The risks outweighed the reward. However, each time I have felt that way, I have held on long enough for the world to allow for change of thought, perspective and pain experience. And I am ok today. I decided some years ago that no matter what happened, ending my life was not an option, no matter what. I have to plod on to the maybe bitter end...hopefully I just get to live the rest of my days being happy, joyous and free while also paying attention to all the things that erode that feeling, and give them the time and respect they deserve. For I know all too well, that if I don’t, it will be the end of me.
Today I am sad. Sad that these two girls were successful in their quest. That the world will not know them. That their families will grieve. Their friends will have a huge hole that cannot ever be filled because they are gone. I think mostly though what pains me is that they were so acutely alone. Walking through life surrounded by people who cared but not enough to see that what they really needed was to be saved from themselves.
I pray that each girl is now at peace. That their leaving this world brought them lasting peace and comfort. I pray that death relieved their suffering. And I pray that whatever waits for them on the other side is infinitely better than the circumstances that caused them to leave this side way too soon.
It is said that suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. And while I see the truth in that statement, that is a survivor statement. That is not a statement that helps the ones suffering. They are intellectually aware that nothing lasts forever, but they did it anyway. They crossed the line and took life off the table. So they felt, rightly or wrongly, that their lives were not about just surviving a temporary problem...it was deeper than that.
I will not pretend to know either girl’s pain. It is none of my business and I cannot possibly know. But I do know pain. Oh, I have come to know it well. Pain caused by lack of feeling, of being so lost that there appear to be no answers. I know that kind of pain and I would not wish it upon anyone...ever.
I have no conclusions today. I have no quick answers or neat wrap up. My heart hurts this morning, grieving the loss of these two young women I never knew. I feel less than because they are no longer here. As if their absence created a connection between us. In truth, there is no connection. What I am connecting to is just the feeling that I am laying upon them. I think I know, but in reality, no one knew which is why they are now dead. No one knew the extent and level of their pain, so they exited, quietly while we all went about living.
I can’t help but think of each girl standing at life’s edge and experience the crushing pain of the solitude they felt. So I pray that their souls are now free, living on the other side, in a manner that they could not on this side of death. I pray that I pay closer attention to the people in my life, especially those young people whose lives are harder than they should be. I pray that I am a safe haven. I pray that I am freed from my own self involvement so that I can notice when I see someone standing on life’s mantle. I am privy to the small, seemingly insignificant tells. I pray that I am able to see pain’s significance. I pray that I am at least present enough in this life so that I can be available should someone need me.
And until I am called upon, I am going to try to pay closer attention. To not be afraid to confront the things I see in my own life. The peril that is experienced in my own children. The permanency of adolescence...angst that is fleeting but deceitful in its tenacity. I am going to do my best to cheat death by staying present because that is the only way I know how to combat life’s living pain. Be here, be present. Allow each moment to roll in and wash me fresh so that I can see what is really going on inside myself and to do that so completely that I see, really see, what is going on with all of you.
Namaste to all the people who stand on life’s precarious prominence...I hope you choose living. And if death be your choice, I hope it brings you peace. And if I can help, know that I will. I will meet you on life's overhang and sit with you, listen to your pain while you make up your mind, knowing always that the choice is always and forever yours. And knowing always that that feeling of control in your deciding is a powerful force, one that I lack the power to combat. But maybe, if I tell you that control is a hollowed out victory, living the better choice, maybe you will choose life...over having the final say so.