Saturday, January 2, 2010

Suicide Is Not Painless

Let me just say up front that this is a brain dump. Nothing I say here is meant to hurt anyone, judge anyone, change anyone or mess with anyone anyway or anyhow. It is just me letting out junk that is bouncing around in my head screaming to be let out.

Of the last five funerals I've been to, three have been suicides. One might have been accidental, but the other two were obviously not. One was not spur of the moment. It was very much premeditated. I don't know about the other. All three losses left, and continue to leave, huge holes in the lives around them. They physically ripped themselves away leaving behind bewildered, heartbroken, devastated people.

One still makes me cry almost every time it crosses my mind. I look at the family left behind and I feel a mass of messy emotions pour through me. The one that usually surfaces first is dismay, but anger follows a close second. Anger at what has been done to this beautiful group. Anger about what he turned his back on. And then the permanence of loss whirls it all together creating deep sadness.

Today, along with hundreds of people, I said good-bye to a classmate. Jimmy impacted so, so many individuals during his lifetime. His brother and father conducted the service. I can't imagine doing that. It wasn't a bit easy for them. They were very honest about that, but they were also open about Who was getting them through it. And, they acknowledged that the future would not be easy without their son and brother around. Neither tried to paint Jimmy as a superhero or perfect person. I didn't raise him, grow up in the same house, or live with him for 26 years like his father, brother, and wife did, but the Jimmy I have always known had a mega-watt smile and a kind or fun word. It looks like the last time we tangled on Facebook it was over him cheering on ut. I had to explain to him which university was the oldest in Texas and therefore the best. He suggested the dorms must smell pretty bad if they were that old.

His brother expressed his wish that he knew what Jimmy had been feeling, that he could have felt his pain and talked to him about it. Apparently, he had played it close to the vest. I understand that. I did it for a long time. Kept a smile going on the outside for those on the outside. I have no idea how it was for Jimmy, if it was something that had been eating away for a long time or if it hit overwhelmingly hard and fast. I just know he's gone and a lot of people are grieving.

His dad talked about I Corinthians 4:9 and being made a spectacle to the world. This choice has made them a spectacle and now the world will watch how they respond. He shared a quote from another pastor. "I want the kind of faith that when I'm chained and thrown into the deepest, darkest, most inner cell for something I didn't do I will still sing praises at midnight." This family has been flung into that cell. They know it will not be easy to sing praises, but they want to.

During my trip to Nashville I sat in my hotel room and watched a screener for a film coming out this month. One of the topics is suicide. I cried, some because of things I expressed earlier. I never dreamed I would be sitting in a funeral so soon and dealing with the same subject again. "Could I have done more?" is asked a lot by different characters throughout the movie. And here's my thoughts: Sometimes, maybe many times, the answer is "yes." Sometimes every possible thing that can be humanly done is done and the tragedy still takes place.

I think Jimmy's dad said it best with "If God doesn't intervene He has a reason."

1 comment:

Bluestocking said...

I lost a friend in college to suicide as well as an uncle. I know how you feel.