by Ladee Caid
I've written about suicide from one who's been left behind.
| Word count: 1,674
Suicide isn't much of a controversy, but I'd like to share my opinions anyway. Most believe it is wrong. Those who are okay with it, don't voice their view as much because it is taboo. I know I haven't the right to say who does what with their life just as I wouldn't want another telling me how to conduct mine or that I shouldn't throw it away if I so chose. My purpose of writing this is to communicate with you why I don't think giving the ultimate away is the best solution to problems that could be resolved had feelings and thoughts been shared and worked through.
There is no certificate hanging on my wall stating I'm professional enough to rummage through the brain of anyone and diagnose what is ticking away up there. What I'm about to say is purely my thoughts and feelings on the matter. This is coming from someone who has thought a lot about the subject and has been close enough to it to be affected in an emotional way.
My father's side of the family uses determination to rise above the undesirable aspects of life. Only, the determination is heavily tainted with judgment filtered through discrimination and control. I was disowned from the family for a while because I dare give birth to a biracial child. The father of my son is black. It didn't matter that he'd worked hard to go through school to save lives. His character was not taken into consideration. None of my father's family had even met him. His mere skin color was the deciding factor. Had he been Mexican, like the family assumed at first sight of my child, it seems I would have been teased but still been allowed to be a part of the clan. Eventually, I was once again accepted, but I could not be comfortable with them.
I certainly wasn't the only object of their harsh criticism. There were plenty of occasions with different members of the family, but I'll only share one. When my son was about four, my grandmother and I sat on the porch swing for a short visit. She told me in a matter-of-fact manner that 'they' weren't speaking to my aunt. They didn't like her boyfriend. I probed for what about him warranted such a response? My grandmother searched the sky looking for the answer. He was heavily tattooed was her reason. Was that the real one? Did she even know why?
I was already estranged from my paternal family, but after that, I don't think I saw any of them for quite some time. Maybe not at all; I can't remember. Who could live up to such standards? What kind of life would one have if it were dictated by another? If this is how I felt, how must the dictator feel?
About five years ago, I received the news that my father's dad had taken a gun and blown himself away. I'd not spoken to my grandfather but maybe a small paragraph my whole life. He was always a part of the setting, but he and I weren't friends. After learning about my granddad's demise, I rode my bike to work with feelings in-tact although my mind reeled with gruesome visuals. Why had he done it? Why? What made him take his life so violently? I shared what had happened with my boss. She asked if I wanted to go home, but there was no need for it. I didn't know grandpa any better than I knew the guy living across the street from me. However, this was my grandfather. This was my family even if I'd never considered my grandfather's welfare. I was more upset than I realized. Trying to concentrate on my job proved a challenge, and I started crying. This turned into balling. I went home. No one could give me the answer I desired most: why had he done it? I'd mulled over writing about suicide after that, but I didn't put my thoughts down.
On my mother's side of the family, depression is used to deal with stress and pitfalls. Each generation taught the next that when something doesn't go right the first thing to be felt is defeat. The situation has to be pushed through anyway; there is no choice. One feels overwhelmed like they alone are hefting huge blocks of stone to build a daunting pyramid they might not finish. They are tired, listless, and sad. If let go without learning how to tackle difficulty with enthusiasm and determination, they become like my mom's mom who had to "push all those buttons" on the microwave just to warm up a bite to eat.
My uncle was only three years older than I. It was hard to look at him as an uncle at times because he was so close to my own age. My sister called me this past Easter morning to let me know he'd passed away. My mind couldn't fathom it. He was my age, so young. Of course, the first question was, "How?" In the flash of seconds before my sister could answer I thought, heart attack? He was overweight and maybe not the healthiest guy. He had Crohn's Disease. Was that the culprit? I didn't really know anything about it, but I didn't think it was an instant killer. He'd taken his own life she'd told me. What? How could this be? This wasn't real to me. She couldn't answer why; she could only tell me that he'd purposely overdosed.
My uncle's actions had made existence surreal. It felt as if my soul had been sucked from me. I could see the sun shining, but it felt like I was shrouded in a black hole. I'd read a post the day after that the person writing it found out a family member had cancer over the weekend. I didn't respond. How could I? They were distraught and in shock, and I wouldn't dream of making that horrible experience seem as if it were nothing. But, I'd wished that was the news I'd received.
For the first couple of days, I denied there was anything wrong with me. I knew how I felt, but I refused to acknowledge it. I had to work, and I couldn't do that properly if I broke down. It wouldn't be appropriate to take time off. He was in Florida and I in Ohio. It wasn't like I was directly involved with anything. It was my mother who was down there now without family. Oh, she had his boyfriend of 15 years, but she had none of us for support. That was her baby brother.
It is my job every month to introduce a different employee to our clients in their newsletter. Before printing, I make sure I have the facts corrects. On the Tuesday after, my co-worker brought the little write-up I'd done back to me. There were circles, scribbles, insertions, and whole lines scratched out with blue ink. My small article had been reduced and rewritten by an amateur. She wasn't the author; I was.
I said, "So, you're telling me how to write." It wasn't a question.
"Well, yes. This is my life."
One by one, she showed me her corrections. Just a few lines in, she read aloud part of what I'd written that she'd turned into a blue blob. "I don't know what that means," she said and started on the next.
I'd had enough.
"You write it," I said.
She looked at me blankly as if she didn't understand what I'd said.
"If you don't like what I have to say, then you write it."
"Well, I like the order you have it in-"
"No Evelyn; you don't get to use my words. You write it, but you are not allowed to use my words."
I was angry with the audacity of her thinking she could take something I created, change some of the words, and present it as her own. That was NOT going to happen. The tone of my voice was bitter. Even though she walked away seemingly unaffected, I felt like a pile of dung in a dark place. I had to face that I wasn't okay, and I took the next day off of work.
When someone goes through with taking their life, it affects a great many people in a horrible, negative way. Those left behind have to deal with the crumbled aftermath while the one who has decided upon this violence gets to escape. I don't know what it's like on the other side of reality. I have an idea, but it's just that. Everyone has their own version. Some believe the person committing such an atrocity is going to hell, but the real hell is saved for those still here.
There is a movie out called Thirteen Reasons Why. I haven't seen it, but I did read it years ago encouraged by my daughter. At the time, I read it as I would any other book. I'd had feelings while taking in the words, but had gone to the next book when I was done. I'm angry at the movie. I'm not mad at the author. Writers only record events whether real or imagined. But, I think that movie is damaging to those who don't understand their own minds and could be easily pushed in a suicidal direction out of revenge for those they feel have harmed them. I want to scream, "Don't give those bastards the power to dictate your decisions of life and death. Stand up; be proud of who you are. Talk to someone. Trust someone. Do not go down like a sniveling little victim. Fight for sanity. Fight for your right to happiness. Talk to someone until you find that person that listens. Someone is out there to help."
Do I think suicide to appropriate? I suppose there are reasons for such actions, but in most cases it is a disaster. A flood, tornado, hurricane, or fire devastates our livelihood; but suicide destroys lives.