Monday, January 23, 2012

The Siren of Suicide

 I was in my 20s when I first encountered suicide. A co-worker took his own life and the entire office was shocked and stunned.

In his later life, my father used to talk about suicide, although, to the best of my knowledge, he never  attempted it.  I was horrified whenever he brought it up.

But now I understand.

The pain and pressure of the past 12 to 18  months has been unrelenting. As my year of debridement wore on and on and indeed as it has continued into the present year, I can understand why some people consider suicide to be a viable option. Trying to be my mother's sole support on her final journey, attempting to make a living as a free-lancer while trying to find a real job in this area (since I can't readily move with mother in hospice) and battling some chronic ill health has been like a steady downpour of icy rain on the spine of my soul. Even when the cascade slows, as it does now and then, I am still clad in soggy clothes and feeling chilled to the marrow and beyond. The future does not appear to hold bright sunshiny days, but simply more and more rain until the house of my being is flooded and washed away in the deluge.

That's when the siren of suicide sits on the rock and bats her beguiling eyes: "Come see me," she whispers.  "I have a solution.  A real solution. No more struggling with finances.  No more waiting at hospice bedsides.  No more trying to figure out how to get through one more day.  Just come see me and I will take care of it all for you."

I sometimes stop for a moment and listen to her, but then I have to explain that first of all, I cannot take the easy way out for me because it would be the difficult way for my son.  I remember all too well the horror I felt when my father would talk about the ways he could die.  The legacy of a parent's death at her own hand would be the ultimate unfair inheritance.

Then I go on to explain that I'm a wuss and anything involving blood, pain or that horrible moment "twix saddle and ground" are just too scary to consider.  What if, in the last second, I changed my mind?

Finally, there is the karma thing.  While I don't know that suicide would condemn a person to hell, I do believe that there has to be some repercussions to an action that would cause so much pain, confusion and anger in those like my son who would be left behind. It would truly suck to take one's life only to find out that you've committed yourself to a whole other level of pain and suffering in the next life.
 It would be horrible to take an action you think is going to relieve suffering only to find out, as one of my friends said to me,  "That siren is Satan with a fishtail, and the next life will have pain, daily migraines, huge, huge mounds of paperwork, income tax to file every day, not just once a year, plumbing problems you won't believe, sick cats including some that aren't yours, a couple mothers to shepherd besides your own and they're even bitchier. And that's just for starters."

So when the siren makes an appearance, I tell her, "No, I understand your offer, oh do I understand your offer, but I can't take you up on it."

She shrugs, flips her tail and dives back into the depths.  And so  I brew a cup of tea and say a prayer that tomorrow will bring some answers and some relief.

If not, I always make sure there are plenty of teabags in the pantry.

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