Not so long ago a very dear client/inquirer/friend called me because her son’s girlfriend committed suicide. Age 16.
Even though I didn’t personally know her son directly, nor the girlfriend….
….I paused with the news, drew in a deep breath, and then cried.
The awareness of a young girl deciding to end her own life filled me with the ache of suffering of humanity.
All kinds of thoughts went though my mind: it’s so unnecessary, the parents of this girl must be devastated, this was an unfinished life, these events are unbearable, the son must be so distraught, how does so much suffering happen?
I felt connected to it. I know this family. They live in my same city.
This past year, I read about a death of a 15 year old girl from my daughter’s high school, also by suicide. I didn’t know her at all, didn’t recognize her name.
It’s not terribly uncommon.
That’s the incredible thing.
Such finality in the decision, and yet decided every day by people.
Last year all mental health professionals where I live were required to take a six hour continuing education course on suicide.
I was so grateful for the training.
During that class, one topic of discussion was about interviews which have been done with people who have tried to commit suicide and by some strange intervention, did not succeed.
Many of them shared one fascinating thought, as they looked back at the event.
Right after they caused the act that would end their life….
….a huge number of them said “Oh no! Wait! Nevermind!”
They became clear.
After the decision was no longer up in the air.
The mind working so fast and realizing, after stopping the endless agonizing debate of whether to DO it or NOT DO it….
….once that war was over….
….this wasn’t really the answer.
Now of course, these people in the interviews were the ones that by some fluke DID live.
They landed on a soft pile, their stomach was pumped of all the medication, the bullet went clean through and missed vital parts, the rope broke, they were rushed to the hospital and stitched up.
Maybe those who die also have clarity beyond that moment of taking action, who knows. And maybe, since they die, that is exactly what they become clear about—death was just right for their situation. We can’t really interview them.
There is simply no answer, no way to know.
Suicide exists as one way life ends…..and everyone’s life is over in this particular body at some point.
So who would I be without the belief that it’s the wrong choice, unbearable, impossible to get over, a life that should have been different or longer?
It doesn’t mean I like it, or my heart doesn’t break into pieces….but I notice I’m present, connected, full of feeling, tender, noticing there are no answers and no reasons, and there is still life here, going on, and I can show up for the people here, now.
“In the end you know that there is no sin, no guilt, no retribution, only life in its endless transformations. With the dissolution of the personal ‘I’ personal suffering disappears. What remains is the great sadness of compassion, the horror of the unnecessary pain.” ~ Nisargadatta
It’s OK not to know what to do, or say when someone dies…even from suicide. It’s OK to remain present, to be with those who remain alive, to help them, to support, to feel every drop of feeling, to sob.
All you have to do is be there, being.