Life is tough. We know that, most of us. But we're given to forgetting just how tough life is – for a season, even a whole life, on and off – when we would rather wait all is okay. Well, some of the time, for many people, life is not okay, and getting through some pivotal hours is a task requiring significant self-restraint.
After one such season of deathly life – where to take one's life was a dear temptation – a brave and very loving soul contacted me with a poem, simply wanting to share.
The following poem, titled LIFE, captures the essence of suicidal motivation, and it's written, for the reader, in the gold of empathy, in the cherished hope it might help someone.
LIFE (All Caps is intended)
LIFE IS NOT A FAIRYTALE
AND UNLIKE A MOVIE
IT DOES NOT HAVE A SCRIPT
DESPITE OUR BEST EFFORTS
IT CAN BE CRUEL AND UNKIND
OUR SENSITIVITIES ARE PLAYED WITH
LIKE CHESS PIECES ON A BOARD
THE DIRECTION IT TAKES
PLUNGE US INTO DEPTHS UNIMAGINABLE
BROKEN DREAMS LOST IN THE PASSAGE OF TIME
TIME WE DO NOT HAVE
LOSS OF YOUTH, OF OUR LIFE FORCE
BORN OF DISAPPOINTMENT, TOIL AND TRIAL.
WITHDRAWAL BECOMES A SHIELD; A DEFENSE AGAINST PAIN
AND YET IT IS AN ENEMY THAT BEGETS MORE PAIN –
LONELINESS OF SOUL AND SPIRIT
REGRET IS FUTILE AND FEEDS ON ITSELF
SPIRALLING US INTO A CREVASSE OF SELF-RECRIMINATION.
THE “WHYS”, THE “IFS”, THE “MAYBES”.
WHY TRY, WHY HOPE, WHY STRIVE?
OUR STRENGTH DEPLETED
OUR RESOLVE DASHED
OUR LIFE PLAYED OUT AND NEAR THE END
A TAPESTRY FRAYED AND FALLING APART
WE CAN NO LONGER FIGHT!
– Anonymous (a person known to me, published with their consent and blessing)
Read the despair, the despair, the despair. All these, but truth, too … raw honest feeling put down in words that bite with the sting of reality. Courageous. Bold. Real. True.
The poem was written in capitalization, published as is. Should it be “shouted” when read? No. I think it has best effect when it's read as it is. Simply to read it aloud evokes emotion.
Is it a concern to be publishing what could or would be someone's suicide note? Possibly. But our intention is to encourage empathy through commonality of experience so that a person-of-concern might seek help through dialogue with skilled others, and with the support of loved ones wherever possible.
The truth is, for the person close to suicide, the issues mentioned in the poem are all up for grabs – they all need to find expression, and be discussed. They're all viable emotions and states of life. There is a viable answer for these emotions and the overall state of being, but it's not what we think it is when we're in the mire of self-loathing.
LIFE can very well be all of what is prescribed in the poem, but we're encouraged to take heart – life makes more sense once we're through the challenge and on the other side in a comparative happiness, which may not be a rose garden, but a life we can accept.
Faith in Jesus Christ helps more than anything else. It may be the only thing that works.
We all want to be heard. We all need to be listened to. When we approach temptation to end our life, more than ever we need to be encouraged to continue; to be reminded there is hope for better outcomes.
If anyone reads this and feels temped to harm themselves in any way, you're prompted to call LIFELINE on 13 11 14 (Australia) or a SUICIDE HOTLINE in your country.
© 2016 SJ Wickham (with many thanks to the courageous author of the poem, LIFE).