Suicide Is Not Painless
Hubby & I are creatures of habit. We go to the same places for breaks & when there we will go to the same coffee shops & pubs. We like to ‘make friends’ so this habitual returning means we do form friendships of sorts. If we are visiting one of these ‘distance’ friendships around Christmas then cards will be exchanged.
This recent Bank holiday has been no different. We have been to somewhere familiar & we have met up with ‘friends’. Our last call was for coffee before setting off back home. As usual the tea rooms were bustling with holiday makers enjoying the last of the Spring break. We weren’t surprised that our ‘friend’ was not visible as he was often in the back organising operations. We asked the waitress if he was around only to be shocked to the core when told that he had died.
For split second I presumed she had misheard me when I asked for him by name. Sadly that was not the case. She went on to tell us that he had committed suicide a little while after his 40th birthday. His chosen method was to jump in front of a train.
As we drank our coffee, I kept imagining him coming out of the kitchen to see us. I could hear the conversation between him & my husband about the state of each of their football teams. We would ask about his young son & daughter. Although we have never met them, we have followed their childhoods with these conversations over the years.
My thinking then went to how he must have been feeling. I felt dreadful that someone I knew would feel that desperate. We do not have the answers to people’s problems but we can always offer an ear, a shoulder, some time.
I then started to feel angry. Angry at him for doing this. For leaving his family too soon. I was angry that he might have caused a major accident & hurt other people. I was angry that he would not be in any condition to be seen by his family for them to say goodbye.
I was also angry with myself that I should be so presumptuous to think that I ‘knew’ this man. He was an acquaintance who had touched our lives but we did not ‘know’ him or what was happening to make him want to kill himself. As a member of the human race I am sad that someone could feel such desperation without sharing. It is the sense of community & compassion that I hope sets us apart from other animals. For him though, it was lonely.
I’m still in shock. My heart goes out to his family & ‘real’ friends & I know that the song from M*A*S*H is so wrong – suicide is certainly not painless.