Posts tagged suicide
Posts tagged suicide
I like happy endings. I want things wrapped in tissue paper, placed in a box, and tied with a bow. A big pink bow. And everyone and everything is good, and there are no hurt feelings, and we smile and hug, and maybe even sing kumbaya. And there should definitely be a sigh in there too. Definitely.
For months I waited for my happy ending. And there was no box and no bow and no one sang anything. For months I was angry and hurt and everything in between. Because he was stupid. And a jerk. And I was right. And he wasn’t. And so I dug my heels in and I carried the weight of every person in my life that had ever done something wrong, and I didn’t budge. Because I had a point to prove. And I am strong, so just try and make me move.
For months I stood my ground. For months I was still right, and he was still wrong. And my fists were clenched so I wouldn’t let go, and my feet were planted so I wouldn’t move, and I waited. But there was a problem – it didn’t feel very good. So I trusted time would sort it all out, because it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with me.
And then something happened. My Mom phoned me in tears. A friend of the family, a young, beautiful, mother of three children, had taken her own life. (Sadly, I had recently written about suicide.) It didn’t seem real. I had just seen her a few weeks before. It was a brief greeting in the parking lot of the grocery store. We waved and said hello, and as always, she smiled.
I cried. I cried tears for her children that would miss their mother, and for the child that wouldn’t remember her. Tears for her family and the loved ones she left behind. Tears for her, that she was hurting so much she thought that was the best thing to do.
A few days later, I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling like a brick had been thrown at my head. It reminded me of something I once read, you know one of those ‘make a point, teach a lesson, here’s the moral’ stories that sometimes sink in, and sometimes just try too hard.
It told the story of an expensive car getting hit with a brick. The young boy was trying to get help and started by throwing pebbles at passing cars to get someone’s attention, but when that didn’t work, he threw a brick. And if I remember correctly, the message is that we’re supposed to pay attention to those pebbles before they become a brick. Or maybe realize that sometimes people do things because they simply don’t know what else to do. Or maybe, that brick is supposed to wake us up in the middle of the night because it needs to teach us a lesson.
And so I did the only thing I could think of, the only thing I knew how to do, the only thing I trusted. I wrote.
I wrote to him. I told him how a friend had committed suicide, and it made me realize I don’t want to carry anything negative in my heart. And so I apologized for my last reply to him - or rather, for how I said it. There was nothing wrong with the words themselves. And if you read them with a soft, peaceful tone, you could say they were simply stating the truth. Except I knew better. Because I knew they were meant to make one final point. But they only did one thing – they made me not like myself very much. Yuck.
So I decided to be a little kinder, and a little wiser. And I wrote what my heart needed to say, what I should have said in the first place. There was no ego. There was no ulterior motive. There was no longer right or wrong. There was nothing left but choice.
I unclenched my fists. I unplanted my feet. And as my legs moved forward, I made the choice to leave it behind. It was only difficult until I did it. There was no tissue paper, no box, no pink bow. And it was exactly what I was waiting for. Sigh. Definitely a sigh.
Sometimes I’m a drama queen. It’s not something I’m proud of. No, I don’t like to argue or cause scenes, but too often I analyze, and obsess, and am way too intense. (Definitely not one of my more endearing qualities.) And, on a regular basis, I envision life as a movie. Call it a coping skill, or a vivid imagination, or even a little bit crazy, but it’s my ‘thing.’ On numerous occasions I’ve been known to say “That’s going in the script.”
When I was fifteen, I took a bunch of pills. It wasn’t a cry for attention, it wasn’t even so much that I wanted to die – I just didn’t want to live. Because I thought I was nothing. I was not a happy girl. I was sad, and stifled, and depressed. When I think of that fifteen year old, my heart breaks for her. I want to hug her and tell her things.
As a little girl, I dreamed of being a writer or a teacher. I dreamed of being something. With each passing birthday, I’ve often thought of what I haven’t accomplished. I’m not a doctor, or a therapist, or something cool. I’m not even a Mom. I’m a receptionist. I sit at a desk and answer phones. I smile at people and say hello. I enter stuff on the computer.
I’ve always regretted (maybe resented is a better word) that I didn’t go to school. More than high school that is. I graduated and that was that. University was not an option. This has always bothered me, because I actually have a brain. I even skipped grade two. And I’m pretty sure that’s like the hardest grade ever.
How different would my life be if I had a rewrite, a change in the script? Yes, I know we all have regrets, but I admit to thinking mine are just a little bit more real. Because I never got a chance to be the person I thought I was supposed to be.
I remember being on one of the best dates of my life. We’ll call him Kevin, because that’s his name. Kevin was a big guy. He was well over a foot taller than me, and weighed more than me at my heaviest. I loved it.
Of my top five dates, he easily claims two of them. First, because we went out on his Harley and I didn’t have to get off the bike for him to back it up, and second, because of what finally sunk into my head.
Over dinner we were discussing my weight loss. That’s when I said “There, I want a do-over on that. I didn’t need to gain a hundred pounds, fifty would have been enough.” He looked at me and said “No, you don’t get to change that. Because if you didn’t gain that weight, you wouldn’t have done the work you needed to, and you wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
Zoom in. A single tear streams down her cheek. End of scene.
Several years ago, I was at the home of a friend of a friend. We figured out we knew each other from where I work. We talked for awhile, and before I left she told me “Your kindness stopped someone from killing themselves.”
There was no further explanation. I didn’t ask, she didn’t say. But every part of me wants to believe this is true, that someone’s life didn’t end - not because I have a university education or initials after my name - but because I was kind, while sitting at a desk, answering phones, smiling and saying hello, and entering stuff on the computer.
Right now you are reading my words. And so the little girl in me wants to believe that I have become a writer. By sharing my thoughts, someone may learn, or feel stronger, or not so alone. And so the little girl wants to believe that I have become a teacher. But more than that, I want to trust that simply because I am me, I have made a difference in someone’s life. No diploma can guarantee that. Dear fifteen year old me, that is so much more than nothing.
All the things I wish I could change or erase, and all the things so amazing and beautiful they couldn’t be any better if I had written them myself - they are mine, I own them. Moments of joy and laughter and love, moments of sadness and fear and heartache, moments of stupidity and embarrassment and doubt - I look back now, and understand.
The good, the bad, all of it…it’s worth it. It made me who I am, who I’m supposed to be. There are no rewrites, there is no editing, I don’t get a do-over. And I don’t need one. It’s already a script worth reading.
(see picture below - thank you, Kristi Gnyp photography)