On a hot summer day, he tried three times. All alone in his little car, he swallowed a bottle of pills. Later, when the pills didn’t work, he tried stabbing himself in the stomach. Later still, he rolled up all the windows and waited for heat exhaustion, until he had silver-dollar-sized blisters on the side of his body that rested against the metal of the car door.
You might ask why he wanted so badly to die. We never knew the full reasons. He had awful health issues though. They weren’t terminal, but made his life difficult to the point where he may have seen no way out other than death.
I wonder if he learned how to love life again.
More and more states are passing ‘right to die’ legislation, which I am highly in favor of. It’s for those who are terminal, and allows them to pass with dignity. You know, that same dignity we allow our dogs and cats and beloved pets when it’s their time.
But for those who aren’t terminal, such legislation doesn’t exist. Of course it doesn’t. Because when you are in that deep, dark, isolated hole of depression, when that unimaginable weight is on top of you and you can’t rise up, you are incapable of making decisions. Such a person, like that man who so wanted to die, sees no hope. And yet, the right help, the hand held out, the words from someone who tries to understand, or just listens, can sometimes begin to lift that weight off another’s soul.
Why such an intense topic today? Because I was recently reminded that we are coming up on a season that is difficult for many. Suicide rates climb high during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
So take care of each other. Be aware of your stress. Be kind to strangers. Ask for help. Ask for help for others. Don’t stay silent out of despair or fear. Don’t stay silent because of a sense of politeness or worry about offending someone. If you see changes in behavior, a withdrawing, anything that constitutes a flag, be blunt. Ask if they have thoughts of hurting themselves. Ask if they have a plan. Don’t leave them alone. Get help.
And if someone holds out a hand, take it.