Sometimes things happen that no matter how hard you try, you will never understand. A friend who you knew since your early days in Atlanta, took her life a few weeks ago. It was Friday June 19th.
You’ve not had this experience before with someone you knew. Your experience with suicide in the past, always a distant friend of a friend, or someone from another department at work that you’d never met. Or the headlines with a celebrity or a well known author or artist or musician.
It was never anyone you knew.
Never anyone that was at your home for dinner and vice versa, never anyone you traveled with, never anyone you visited with and stayed at their home. This time the news was different, the truth bitter and shiny. The sting of comprehension lasting. The reality hitching a ride in your heart, the passage foreign and slow in motion.
You conceptually understand suicide, you know what it means, you know what the result is. What you can’t imagine is the color of darkness in someone’s heart, a darkness so thick that it gets them to a place where they make the decision and end their life.
How does the decision happen?
Is there a tipping point or does it take millions ? What caverns in the mind allow the mental rehearsal, the research, the planning, and finally the course that fixes on this severe action as a way to manage.
Certainly the brain has to process and think and consider and ration that ending life is a solution; an RSVP of sorts to a better place.
You and everyone else knows the subject of suicide as complex, emotional and difficult. You know that every story, every life ended, is individual and unique. The generalizations around this topic, the statistics, are just that. Every suicide has a face, a family, a history, a life lived.
And you cannot imagine.
How do the depths of despair ravage the human mind and soul? How does the persistence of mental discord accost the human spirit to the point of doors closing, roads ending, paths weaving to destinations with no return ?
Suicide is tragic, sad, confusing, the finality of the decision gaining a life of its own. The questions, the thoughts, the attempt to understand and imagine, many times hijacking the lives of those left behind: Mothers, Fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, wives, husbands, partners, friends and co-workers.
A life ended.
A breathing, living, person starves their body of oxygen and the all the pain and confusion and misery and troubles and anxiety and dreams and nightmares; it all goes away. The acts are usually swift. There is no second chance, no practice round. The finish line is the finish line.
Because you know, you don’t. Because you have a past, memories, shared experiences, bike rides, walks on the beach, visits to grocery stores, it's hard for any of this to be settled, for any of this to quiet and find a place in the polaroids of your mind.
Where do tragedies rest? Where do they find shelter ?
Where is that special place that remembers, that place that honors and makes familiar room for the life of a friend lost.
You're not sure, you will keep looking.