Monday, April 14, 2008

April passing

I attended a funeral today. Not someone I know well, but the son of someone that I know (and work with sometimes). My boss asked me to go with her, and so I did. I'm not normally the funeral type. I did not grow up learning the etiquette and therefore am poor at it. I always ask friends of friends "should I go?" and they say no when they could mean "what are you thinking, of course!" or they could mean "are you really that stupid????" or they could mean "no". And since I am basically an honest person, I take them at their response.

This wasn't the norm...a man younger than me. Leaving a wife and young child, a mother father and sister, a grandmother and many friends. He took his own life. And I understand that, but I never ever understand that. Because it leaves everyone in your life asking themselves questions about what they might have said, done or acted differently. I know I've written about this before. I didn't think I would revisit it this soon. Life surprises you.

It was the saddest place. And I pick up emotion from others. I am super-sensitive in that way. I have to be careful because it can overwhelm me. When I walked through the doors, the grief hit me like a wall. And there were so many tears, so much unrest about this young man. I think his mama is one of the best folks I've yet known. I can't imagine the pain she is suffering. Just seeing her lean against her husband took my breath away.

We are all so fragile, and I forget that sometimes. Too often. I don't know that Damon's path could have been changed. But he's made me remember to pay attention to how I consider the people in my life that might be hurting or scared or melting away inside. Stop and listen to really hear the story. It was a pretty sad afternoon.


Michael said...

Beautiful, and heartrendingly sad.

My first reaction is that it is a crime, a crime against nature, for a parent to bury a child. It happens, of course, but it is deeply wrong.

Vonnegut writes a lot about suicide, since his mother was one, and of course, one thinks of Hemingway and Woolf and Michael Hutchence and Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain too.

I hope there is counseling for those who are left behind-suicide is really an act of violence against those who remain more than anything else. The victim, of course, gets off easy, relatively speaking.

There is a fabulously large amount of books on the subject. Two I have read are "Darkness Visible" and "The Noonday Demon", both from depressives who managed to emerge from shadow.

I can't say I haven't considered it. My wife has, as well, and admitting it to a health care provider once earned her a short stay in the hospital. But with the relationship that she and I have, I don't think it's that serious. We talk about everything, almost, and the knowledge that the other has, at least theoretically, considered that act is neither stunning nor horrible to one another.

I don't think that there is anything useful to be found in going over what one has done and said previously. The suicide is in a place beyond reason and logic, and there isn't any way to get them back.

I am in health care, and one of the things we do to keep our "heads in the game" is to remind ourselves constantly that every patient we encounter is someone's mother, father, child, grandparent, or uncle. Every human being we encounter is precious to someone, and we should treat them as such.

k said...

Thanks Michael. That was lovely and very helpful. I will check out the books. I have considered suicide in my life, I wonder if we all do? And I thought it needed a definition. What I finally defined it as was hating yourself more then you love anyone else. Because, as you leave other people in a private hell, wondering what they may have said or done to stop you. Once I realized that, the act fell off my radar, as I just couldn't commit to being that selfish with my life.
What an honest relationship you are in then! That's amazing. I see far too many married folks who stop knowing one another. One of the reasons that I have questioned marriage. It's nice to know that some people do it differently, keep stats on one another and learn to communicate even the difficult things.
As always, it's nice to hear from you.