Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ciao for now

I've had difficulty releasing this post but I think it's time:

In the past I have written about people that I have dealt with in a funeral home setting who were going through the throes of trying to understand a suicide. I've expressed the opinion, vaguely, that this type of death could somewhat be understood because the person or persons who committed this "act" must have been in a terrific amount of pain, either physically or emotionally, or both of these feelings somehow combined. I am still of the opinion that in order to take your own life one must be in dire straits, however until recently I was never literally part of the actual event, thereby not truly able to understand the emotions of the people left behind.

Several Monday mornings ago however, I was baptised and was given the unfortunate opportunity to experience a suicide from another perspective. I didn't counsel a virtual stranger who walked through my door at an appointed time to assist in taking care of their dead loved one; a family members spouse took his life early that Monday morning after a long battle with cancer (which by the way he had won) who was on his way to full recovery and within thirty minutes of his discovery I was contacted. I knew he had been ill, and also knew he would recover so that mornings events were the farthest thing from mine or anyone else's mind. Within twenty minutes I had flight arrangements and was on my way to assist as best I could. The next few days were like a roller coaster almost out of control.

Apparently when he was initially deemed terminal the thoughts of ending his life had arisen within him, were shared as well as understood yet were never acted upon; the decision was made to go ahead and attempt to beat the disease, and as I mentioned earlier, he had. Quite honestly if he had still been classified as terminal, one could understand his reasoning and although it would have still been painful, acceptance would have been much, much easier. No note or letter was left behind so there is no way of ever knowing the true "why" behind this. It is very simple and easy to say "it's not your fault", "you can't beat yourself up over this" and the like but in essence the people left behind feel inadequate, feel as though they have been dumped, perhaps even somewhat responsible.

Some may say too bad, it was his life and his choice, just deal with it while others, including myself, feel that this particular instance was a very selfish act, but let me explain myself before you end this read. I truly am of the belief that we should be in total control of our lives and have the right to end it at will, however we also have a responsibility to those we leave behind. When someone loves another, explanations are not only expected, I believe they are deserved. Trying not to speak ill of the dead, I don't blame this man for anything he did; I can't say whether he should or shouldn't have done what he did and I realize that he had to be utterly desperate for a way out, a fixative measure. In summation I guess I have to feel lucky that I have never felt the pain I feel caused this.

I still stand firm however, on the feeling that it was his right, but I also feel it was his obligation to his wife, the one he had the contract with, the one he loved and who loved him in return to at the very least leave some sort of clue as to why he felt that this was the only means available to him. You see it may have solved his problems, but by doing so he has created an entire barrel of new ones for someone else: physically, emotionally as well as monetarily. I guess this stance could be construed as selfish as well but we all have some sort of responsibility to the people we interact with and even though she would have tried to help him with a different means, I think a simple explanation would have sufficed.

8 comments:

paisley said...

where as i am not heartless, and i realize that there is a degree of selfishness involved when one is in a committed relationship,, i cannot say that this mans expectation of either a diminished lifestyle,, or the possibility of having to live thru this nightmare yet again were just more than he was willing to bear..

i do know that one of the phases of grief i went thru was a desperate need to blame someone.. and maybe he is just the easiest one to find fault with right now...

in any instance,, i am sorry that this has caused the degree of upheaval in all of your lives that it has...

something in the back of my mind keeps wanting me to reiterate the infamous line from love story....

"love means never having to say your sorry...."

Lenette said...

Who can understand it? My experience with suicide has been that it feels like the ultimate F.U.

The Tin Woman said...

My professor once said, no one dies of suicide - they die of depression. It seemed so logical then, the idea that someone has no more to give, no more left to think about with hope, or love or even concern... it as though all those things have been replaced by the depression -- have been swallowed by that deep sorrow or loss for reason.

It doesn't help - and I find myself feeling the same way -- that it was selfish, that it was cruel even .... but perhaps there was nothing left for him to give. Only one way, in his mind, to take away all the suffering on his part and for her as well.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

Having once (many years ago) been close to seriously contemplating ending my life I do know that my frame of mind was seriously out of sorts (major depressive episode). My thought process was bizarre even though at the time I thought it logical. Fortunately I managed to maintain enough "self" to eventually get better. I did not, however, have the burden of a long term illness to complicate matters. Not that my comment helps, but your post reminded me of how complex the reasons behind suicide can become.

jOolian said...

.. wOw ..
i don't know how you do it, but this life was indeed meant for you.

paisley said...

i had to change my domain name to whypaisley.com please change your links and or feed as necessary

all you will have to do is remove the - from between why and paisley,, everything else will remain the same and will redirect you to the correct page.... sorry for the inconvenience...

cordieb said...

I know this is a very late comment; but the severely depressed are lost beyond all reasoning - if it were not so; they would see another way beside ending their gift of life. Sometimes in life we have to accept, What is is.

Anonymous said...

After working for a medical doctor for several years, I would be interested in knowing if this man had been placed on anti-depressants and for how long. Many times those medications will do quite the opposite and cause the most severe cases of depression instead of relieving it. Many people have attempted or completed suicide while on these medications, including children. I had a co-worker who confided to me that she had been on Prozac and reached a point where all she thought of was dying. She finally told her doctor and he cut down the dosage in order to wean her off them. Even after she was completely off those drugs, she said she has never become normal. She still suffers from depression and entertains morbid thoughts of suicide.

This is nothing new but it is something the pharmaceutical companies try to hide. People have come to lean on drugs and end up in worse state than before.

When someone is already fighting a deadly disease, the mental stress can be almost more than one can bear. Add to that medications that can magnify the problem in many cases and you have a ticking bomb.

Everyone is different and we all have different chemical makeup. We need to be monitored and treated as individuals instead of the 'one size fits all' attitude that I have seen over and over.

I am sorry for your loss.