Preface: For the past twelve years, I’ve called four social network communities home… have befriended countless bloggers who’ve frequently expressed their dissatisfaction with life… two of them at the point of wanting to end their own lives. In both instances, we, their friends/followers, had hopefully, permanently, comment box counseled them into changing their minds; persuaded them to choose life. Even so, I’ve oft wondered about the (not so) strong silent types, who’ve never blogged their cries for help.
If you are someone who is suicidal, know that help is always available. Crisis Center telephone numbers, worldwide, can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
I’m also presenting the following, hopefully helpful, “real feel” fiction. Written in the more gender neutral, first person singular, this might facilitate everyone seeing life through my protagonist’s eyes?
Of course it’d be far too easy to misconstrue the “I” word to be referring to me, so let me emphasize that it’s my main character who is suicidal. That said…
Let our (your?) story begin…
Preface: My warmest wishes and welcome to all on this brand new day. I’ve committed my story to this word document in the weeks leading up to my demise. So sorry my tripping down memory lane must start off on a rocky road but trust me, there’ll be several unexpected detours before story’s end. That said…
Throughout most of my life, I was assaulted in various ways. Childhood’s playground bullies mercilessly, verbally punched me out. Adolescent skin problems “punched” me in the face. Adulthood’s workplace time clocks punched me out, too, by enslaving me; emotionally shackling me to non-union, non-living wage, life sucking, dead end jobs; my labors being absolutely alien to my more creative talents.
Not the best way to get into a “I love life”, “let’s party hearty” mood, eh?
Indeed, each post-workday “happy hour” involved crying in my beer. Misery loves company they say? Don’t count on it! In fact, many a time I drank alone; sometimes to excess. Although I had escaped alcoholism, chronic depression did set in. Eventually, a suicidal death seemed to be the perfect gift for the person who, at first glance, seemed to have nothing.
It had been on the day just prior to what might’ve been my last day on Earth, when I got the opportunity to take a second glance. It had been my own mother, who had, unknowingly, come to my rescue.
On that pleasantly sunny, summery, late August afternoon, she had phoned me; asked me to stop by the old homestead to help my father complete some much needed, routine household maintenance. Needless to say, I’d do anything to help my folks. And I’d be totally competent, too, since my handyman dad had successfully taught me all he knew.
Fortunately, it had taken several hours to complete these mundane tasks, for it was while we chatted, at times even reminisced, where something far more meaningful had occurred; my realization that I could never abandon my aged and ailing folks. Suicide averted postponed.
However, it was many years after my folks had passed away when I began to suspect that helping them had been my only purpose in life; discovered that my having been selfless to a fault was at fault; had played a significant role in creating my self-destructive state of mind.
You see, while being their caregiver, I had neglected to take care of myself; had let life’s parade truly pass me by. Family, friends and old co-worker contacts were long gone. Worst of all, I hadn’t paid enough attention to a potential soul mate; thereby squandering my last chance for love, marriage and parenthood?
Topping my list of worsts, this time around, there could be no eleventh hour communing with my parents to snap me out of my deep blue funk. Or could there?
On yet another pleasantly sunny, summery, late August afternoon, I found myself, once more, plotting my own death. However, it was while tying up many of life’s loose ends (in particular, loading up the recycling bin for the very last time), when I just happened to pick up a still unread, three-month-old newspaper. Despite the fine layer of dust, a front-page story headline instantly grabbed my attention.
The reportage focused on a suicidal person who had had an “exit Earth” MO eerily similar to mine; that troubled soul winding up a paraplegic who retained just enough awareness to realize the old reality had been far better than that new, bedridden alternate reality.
Stunningly, that story had not ended there. That newspaper had a very specific dateline; none other than the anniversary of my late mother’s birth! In jaw dropping disbelief I realized that, once again, my mom, even in death, had, somehow, found a way to save my life.
Knowing I always did my best thinking while traipsing through wilderness settings, in the weeks ahead, I set forth on many sunrise, Sunday nature walks. With autumn rapidly approaching, I eventually revisited my favorite park; where a recent springtime windstorm had toppled a centuries old oak tree.
While seated on a nearby bench, listening to the white noise of a babbling stream and the off in the distance church bells ringing, I marveled at the persistence of life. In barely two Earthly seasons, this once mighty, towering oak’s still viable root system had transformed that massive stump into a densely leaved shrub. If a mindless tree wanted to live why shouldn’t I?
Turned out someone else shared similar feelings.
“That oak just won’t give up,” the approaching, cheerful sounding voice first stated and then asked, “OK if I join you?” Looking up, I replied with my smile and vertical nod. We quickly exchanged introductions and other pleasantries; eventually conversing as if we’d been lifelong friends.
Was it just my imagination or was love at first sight, maybe even love eternal, in the air? Were my feelings mutual or destined to be unrequited; nothing but wishful thinking? Well, it didn’t take long to find out. One year later, with that surviving oak’s lush foliage providing Mother Nature’s backdrop, we were exchanging our out-of-doors “I dos.”
Within that short span of time, my spouse’s circle of friends had become my own; two of them proving to be valuable literary contacts; folks who could and did transform my ages old writing career fantasy into my new reality. Indeed, this freelancer’s essays were getting published, regularly, in a slew of e-mags and in print periodicals.
Before we celebrated our third wedding anniversary we had, twice, become parents. What a joy it has been to eyewitness our own combined, microscopic DNA manifesting itself in macroscopic ways; allowing us to observe all the developmental stages of our children’s lives; their imaginative, carefree, pre-school playtime; their scholastic and extracurricular successes; their career triumphs; their seeking and finding soul mates, falling in love, marrying and starting families of their own.
On yet another pleasantly sunny, summery, late August afternoon (now decades later), I realized how the thinning calendar was analogous to autumn rapidly closing in on my own life.
While gazing out our bedroom window, with the sun sinking beneath the horizon, I considered how we all start out restricted to the confines of the womb and our eventual cribs; how (if all is well) our first baby steps, in time, become steady enough to take us wherever we choose to go. Naturally, life’s circle inevitably winds up closing in on itself. First we’re limited to sticking around in our hometowns. Next we stop venturing past our neighborhoods and yards. Towards the end we become shut-ins rarely leaving our hospital / hospice guard railed beds; those, which so closely resemble our days of yore barred cribs. At the very end our remains/cremains wind up in our tombs. As for our souls? Well, what we believe or choose not to believe is left up to each individual.
And, indeed, with old age asserting itself, my final days were now closing in. Just as with newborns, my sleeping hours were beginning to far outnumber my wakeful moments. At that juncture I could no longer be seated at my computer keyboard. I’d have little choice but to merely envision how my final moments of life would be playing out.
I did ask my spouse to read my story after I had died; to comment on, and edit these final paragraphs wherever necessary; i.e., to tell you all how close my predictions (which now follow) were to the actual occurrences.
Spouse’s Commentary: In all honesty, I did read my beloved’s fine essay well in advance. It was my heartfelt intent to ensure my spouse’s final moments would meet (perhaps even exceed) as many expectations as possible. True it’d be impossible for any mere mortal to confirm every element but, my being a spiritual person, I harbor no doubts. That having been said, let’s continue.
Concluding Part Five
Just as my physician had surmised, with only the minimal administration of meds, my natural death’s final moments were now playing out as an eyes-wide-open, relatively pain-free, peaceable cessation of life; where my loving spouse, children, grandchildren, relatives, friends, colleagues and other well-wishers had all assembled to see me off. We fondly reminisced and even managed to crack a few jokes.
Indeed, from my having so selflessly “been there to the very end” for both of my parents, all of that good karma had now come back to me; more than a thousandfold.
As a stray tear of joy streamed down my nine decades, wrinkled cheek, I could taste its saltiness on my lips. With a sense of awe, I gazed upon the vast sea of familiar faces; both earthbound and those who now awaited to welcome me in the great beyond. As my spouse leaned in for our “till we meet again” farewell embrace and kiss; our last exchanged dialogue involved the three best words two deeply caring souls have ever expressed to each other:
“I Love You!”
While inhaling Earth’s sweet oxygen for the very last time, I could feel my facial muscles forming my wide grin. I did experience one final, unexpected sensation; my shudder of horror as exhaled my very last words:
“Oh, the truly marvelous, joyous life I had, twice, nearly thrown away!”
Crisis Center telephone numbers, worldwide, can be found by CLICKING HERE.