ChicagoSteve saidI learned yesterday that an acquaintance of mine, someone who I had worked with several years ago, took his own life on Thursday night. I had not seen or spoken with him in several years, but we did keep in touch on Facebook. I remember him as always being very upbeat and cracking jokes, he was really fun to work with. He was in his mid 40s. About a year ago on Facebook he posted something to the effect of wanting to know where his previously great life had disappeared to. It got me to thinking, so I wanted to throw this question out there.Do you think you could ever get to a point where you felt so low, that taking your own life was the only option?
I checked ages on profiles for all who've responded so far and saw what I expected to find. There's a direct correlation between ages and the tone of the comments.
I'm 66 and have survived three of my spouses, a wife and two men. I don't like calling them husbands. Usually I call them mates. This year is only 66 days long so far and I've already been to funerals of four friends I've known between 24 and 9 years. The last time I checked over a third of my fraternity brothers have passed on. During the worst years AIDS era from 1984 to 1995 my partner and I usually attended the funeral of at least one friend a month. I've lost two younger brothers to cancer. My mother is 89 and still amazingly active.
Depressing? Far from it. Would I take my own life? Never, not even to escape a slow painful death like the ones I witnessed with my brothers or many other friends. How do I feel for people who do take their lives? Very sad. I feel I might have been able to help them or at least I would given it a valiant effort. I'm not at all religious but regularly attend church for reasons that have nothing to do with me. I do it for others.
The deepest and darkest two days of my life were in April 1995 when the man who still owns my heart was killed in a auto accident. I remember thinking about suicide then. His son and mine were both twenty five at the time and they were raised almost as brothers and call themselves that today. Both were married and there was a nine month old grand daughter. The fact that they were there needing me to comfort them gave me strength to do anything.
But more than that was something my partner said to me once when I was recovering from being very ill recovering from nearly dying. I told that when I was as close to being alive as dead all I could think about and hope for was that he'd be alright if I had died.
He laughed, "I wouldn't have much time for that. I'd be too busy celebrating for having had nineteen years with you. That's nineteen more than I ever thought I'd have with anyone."
It was remembering those words that gave me strength. Rather than mourn, I shook it off and celebrated the 23 years I had with him, 23 more years than I imagined possible with anyone. I've not cried or felt sad about his death one day since. One thing I felt he gave me that I never needed until he was gone was his optimism and never ending positive outlook on everything. Now when I speak of him it is always with laughter.
I've learned much about life by getting old. That's why I intend to get very old. I want to learn as much as I can about life and pass it on as far and wide as I can. That's why suicide is not an option for me. If i"m in unimaginable pain and someone asks me a question about anything that will help them in their life I want to be able to answer it. My version of a living will clearly demands I be kept alive and sentient by any means possible... not for me but for whoever needs me to be there and help them in any way I can.
I strongly feel a great deal a great deal of the depression and suicide associated with gays will drop dramatically once gays fully gain equality in all respects but only because it will enable them to become parents on larger scales. Children transform relationships into something that cannot be understood by anyone who has none. Children change everything out of the context of "you and me" and put it in the context of "us, all of us." Decisions aren't made by parents on the basis of what's best for "you of me." Decisions are made based on what's best for "all of us and you and I come last."
Children bring parents a reason to stop thinking "you and me first" about the "them first, US second." Once couples hit the "US" mentality in a relationship things go to a level that's indescribable.
But back to suicide and thoughts of it. I've known too many people who've done that all the way back to age 16 in high school. In my experience I've noticed common denominators. It's been fifty years and I mourn him more than either of the men I formed loving partnerships with.
People who feel they have no control over their lives or aren't happy with their lives are prone to consider suicide. They get bogged down and don't see a way out except through death. They get into thinking in vicious circles about their own feelings of unhappiness or lack of control until they are magnified into mountains.
Narcissistic men are candidates for suicide and rarely reach out for help or rarely express suicidal thoughts out of their own narcissism. They're the ones who go home from work, have a drink maybe write a brief bitter note and blow their brains out.
And then there's the ones like my friend from high school. In spite of his being 6'4" and a star on the football team he was a victim of the homophobia of fundamentalist christians that still exists to this day. For him the past 50 years I continue to I discriminate against, harass and belittle fundamentalists at every opportunity. I've gone to the funerals of their own gay children who've killed themselves in order to show my ass.
One of the top reasons I joined RJ is this very subject. If I can only help one person every ten years from taking their life it'll be worth every minute to them and myself.
With that said, is it okay for me to go back to being an argumentative asshole on some other threads? LOL.