Suicide Is NOT An Exit Strategy
It’s this time of year I dwell on a childhood friend who ended his own life with a bullet. I think of him often throughout the year and still find it unimaginable someone I knew so well for so long would harbor a single self-destructive feeling. I will always miss the Christmases we never spent together, the play dates our kids never had, the shared ventures cut short, and the sunsets we never watched from the porch together as our parents did while we played in the yard.
Chris, I believe now, had a momentary lapse of judgement in a time of desperation. In that critical moment with life and death hanging in the balance he tipped the scales and altered the path of so many of us around him. I’ve not blogged about Chris before as there are a great many things in my personal life that are beyond that veil we call “transparency”. In this one case, though… no longer. The holidays are a particularly special time for healing, joy, innocence and enjoying one another’s company, embrace and laughter. But, too often at this time of year especially, the urge to end one’s own life overpowers and another life ends far too soon and invariably for reasons that were workable with a little outside help. Be they financial, emotional, relationship, or whatever… I’ve yet to find a problem yet that couldn’t be fixed somehow, someway. Believe me, I’ve had a good many of them and am certain there are more ahead. Such is the spice of life.
Despite the tongue in cheek headline I’m entirely serious – Suicide leaves far more problems behind than it solves. It does not ease the pain. It does not end the suffering. It amplifies them and passes them along to friends, family and particularly the children left behind. There are a great many derogatory things could be said about the act of suicide. Those wouldn’t further my objective here though and I hope we can avoid them in the comments.
Recently, this repeated itself with another not-as-close childhood friend. Steven was overcome with problems that were completely within his extended circle of friends and family to help overcome. It doesn’t necessarily “take a village” OK? But, we don’t go through life alone. At least not the vast majority of people. I wish Steven would have reached out or we might have taken notice of a need to reach in, proactively, and help Steven out of his dilemma. He led a private life like so many of us. I’m still not certain if it was embarrassment over his situation or shame or what. We could have helped. Regardless, we could have help. We would have helped. Again, children were involved. They’re scared, scarred and confused. Unnecessarily. Despite other cultures’ adherence to the time honored practice of an honorable suicide… I fail to see anything but a wake of pain and destruction left behind.
My holiday wish is that we form closer relationships with those around us and well beyond. Not to the point we’re smothering each other or doing so with ulterior motives. Nothing like that. Just a tight-knit bond betwixt us all. I happily extend my hand in genuine friendship to any and all. That means even the few people I’ve come across in life who have had issues with me, or I with them. I’m good for pressing the reset button in life. One of Oklahoma’s favorite sons, Will Rogers, “Never met a stranger.” I think that is one of the noblest paths through this life: To be a friend to all. To be available/accessible through thick and thin. To be a stalwart “upper” in the lives of others. I’m not a personal coach. I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m just a guy who has lost two too many friends to suicide and who refuses to go another day without stepping forward and saying, “Hey, wait. Let’s talk about this and change the equation… There’s a path out. Let’s find it.”
My email, iChat and phone are ALWAYS on the banner of this blog. Phone, email, iChat ANY TIME you feel the need and I’ll try my very best to be the friend, father, husband, brother, son you can rely on.
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