It is a lonely death. Nobody will ever know why the person who takes her or his own life did it. Neither note nor letter can ever explain what finally made the suicidal sufferer perform that act of self-destruction.
I write that on the heels of the announcement of Gary Speed’s death by his own hand.
Gary’s death – that of a seemingly successful man – is all over the Media at the moment. It will echo and re-echo for many a year.
Thank goodness the BBC reported is not as “committed suicide”, but as “took his own life”. The act of suicide is no longer a crime which one commits. Though a few organised religious groups class suicide as a sin.
A long time ago, Rosie and I did years of Samaritan work. There were people who contacted the Mid-Wales branch whose sorrows were genuine and enormous. Though I’d had a very deep and lasting depressive-illness some years earlier, I had never felt like ending my life. Changing my situation, yes; ending my life, no.
Yet, hearing enormous sorrows which had ensnared many of those Samaritan callers, I just wondered what I would have done in their shoes. Fortunately, I have always had a loving and caring and talking-together family. Rosie was wonderful during my illness. So was the then infant Liz.
And, it always seemed to me, those callers felt totally alone with their sorrows. Most, I believe, had family around them. But the lonliness – the alone-ness – brought on by what they were feeling caused them seeming isolation, even in the midst of friends, family and neighbours.
A friend of ours took his own life when we were living in the Midlands. If, in the organised religion which Tim followed, suicide is classed as a sin, what of the religious teachings of that “faith” which caused his death? For it was so.
Alas, those left behind will always ponder and often take the blame for a suicidal death. “We should have talked about his feelings”, “We didn’t know she was feeling that bad” – and they will agonise.
Let us, as a caring society, never stigmatise those who take their own lives or those they leave behind.
For who knows where our own feelings may take us?