Thursday, June 15, 2017


Suicide. I've thought about suicide a lot over the years. Professionally, that is. I worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse for 30 years. My first job in mental health was on an emergency response team. I saw someone shot himself in the head. It's one of those things you never forget. Over the years I've wondered about people who kill themselves. I can think of at least 5-6 other suicides during my 30 years. The emptiness they must feel in themselves. The loss of hope that things can get better. The courage they must have. Is it a courageous act? One of desperation? Selfish? Sane? Insane? I don't pretend to understand it, but I do accept it. People have that right, however wrong we might think it to be. In the end, it's you and your life. For better or worse, it always comes down to you, no matter how we'd like to change it, or what we think about it. It is always you. Wrong, cowardly, thoughtless, sinful, whatever words we put to it, none of them are deep enough, or sufficient enough, to meet the emptiness that the person must be feeling. It is a hollow feeling we are left with, filled with sorrow, regret, lose, and the presence of an unfulfilled history. We may not have done what we could have, or said what we should have, but in the end, it was not our life to make or take. Always, in the end, it is your life to live or end. Some thirty-five years after I witnessed that suicide, I still cry at the thought and fumble for the words to describe it. But it was his decision, not mine. I have to live with that. The game ended. There was no winner. Stalemate.

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