Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Accidental Suicide

What makes the difference between an accidental overdose and a deliberate one? Is it the lack of a note? A bottle that isn't empty? In the end, there is still death. I think the difference is how it affects the ones left behind. Was it a selfish act done in a moment of despair or a moment of cloudy thinking due to extenuating circumstances?

My cousin took his life on August 20, 1988. I was 600 miles away. Why is that date burned into my brain? It is the day we brought our first child home from the hospital. The call came almost immediately upon arrival to the house. I don't think of one without the other. The two will always be woven together in my mind. The nightmares are still vivid. Eric Zane was going through the process of having his jaws broken and reset along with major dental work. He took a serious blow to the head during a car wreck. His doctor says that the pain from the combination of the two things would have been unbearable. Am I angry with Eric Zane? No, just deeply, deeply saddened.

Years ago we had a babysitter named Brandi. She had a friend kill herself. Brandi's anger was palatable. She saw the horror in the faces of the family; she saw the suicide as the selfish act it was. Brandi's view of life was a little different than most teenagers. She had battled Leukemia and won. She valued life. She knew how precious it is. She despised the fact that someone threw it away.

I recently attended the memorial service of a girl that took her life on her 15th birthday. Took it in a way that added even more pain for the one that found her. No one saw it coming. The blow sent everyone reeling. There are no answers to the why. She was greatly loved by many. Would she have done it if she could have had a glance into the pain she was going to cause? Would she have done it if she had heard the wails of those that loved her? I don't know. I would hope that the answer is no.

I have to disagree with the song, Suicide is Painless. It causes deep pain that washes over many in the changes that it brings. Yes, sometimes the game of life is hard to play, but nothing good comes easy.

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