Sometimes words we speak come back to haunt us. For instance, today my boss told me that a fuel rep that she’d been pretty close to had committed suicide. She’d found out he’d passed away in September, but she’d only just found out what the cause of death was. He was divorced but planning to be remarried in November and he left behind two teenage daughters. I’d never met the man but still felt a little sad at the loss…the loss his fiance and daughters must feel.
There was another party to the conversation however. Overhearing that Mike had committed suicide he said with condescension dripping from his lips, “It takes somebody really sick to do that; taking the easy way out.” Confession time: I’ve said such a thing. I’ve thought such a thing. I’ve made the joke that if I died and it was ruled suicide that someone should investigate because there’s no way I’d kill myself, there’s no way I’d hurt myself.
Having lived a little longer, though, and having been through some things I find a bit more compassion for the failures that cause a person to “do that”. Saying that it “takes somebody really sick to do that” really is stating the obvious, isn’t it? After all someone would truly have to be in a bad way to take their own life. Have I ever thought about suicide? Only fleetingly…until I reminded myself it was a crazy thought. Have I thought I and those around me might be better off if I were dead? Most assuredly. I’ve sat in my bathtub and lay awake at night in my bed wishing I were. I’ve cried out to God to just take me already. Thankfully I’m not in that place anymore. But having gone to that place I can say with relative assurance that I was sick. I wouldn’t call what I was suicidal. I was too chicken to be. I was too afraid I’d botch the job. And with the help of some good friends and a fantastic fiance I was able to see a better life ahead.
The easy way out? No. I don’t buy it. I think someone who takes their own life just doesn’t see a better alternative. And it’s a sad state of affairs when a person feels their best alternative is to just not be. I’m sorry that anyone out there doesn’t realize there are those around them that aren’t “better off” without them. In fact they’re infinitely worse off. Some people view suicide as a selfish act. Is it? Maybe in the mind of the suicidal it’s the ultimate sacrifice. Or maybe they’re in so much pain they can’t think of another way to ease it.
I don’t think there are many people who haven’t been touched in some way by this “sickness”. Maybe it was a former schoolmate, a family member, an acquaintance, a close friend. We always wonder when we hear about it what was going through the person’s mind. Whether true or not their reality is grim. Their reality tells them there are no better days ahead. Life is hard. I’ve learned a few lessons. One of them is to be less judgmental. No matter how similar situations may seem, one person has never walked a mile in another’s moccasins. Be careful what you say. Moreover be careful how you say it. You never know what the people listening to you have been through.