Not for Us to Say
The last 96 hours or so have resounded with a desperate, heartbroken, furious chorus.
I get it. So much tragedy in such a short period of time. People are hurt, and confused, and sympathetic to some sense of collective loss. Many are angry.
Sure, I understand if they’re angry at a cruel world that gleefully tears people down in unflinchingly public ways, and wondering if we have contributed to this mentality.
I’d even understand if they [people who are actually close to the person who has made this choice] are angry at themselves for having missed the signs, of not supporting the person, or not being there to stop it. There are folks, who start drowning in this anger and confusion, when all of a sudden, this tragedy just becomes about them. I know. I’ve been that person.
There are folks who try to climb out of the muck of that sadness, and then just get stuck being mad at the world because of it. I know. I’ve been that person, too.
If you or I are healthy enough to know that we can handle who we are, and what life throws us, so much so that we wouldn’t choose suicide, well, good for us. What I don’t understand are the people who get self-righteously angry – at the person who has taken their own life:
I’m so angry at you!
You had everything going for you! How could you do that?!?!?!?
On top of that, I’m seeing people who are angry at people who may be vulnerably tottering on the brink, on the edge of hope or emptiness, seeking relief from a pain we couldn’t possibly imagine:
Suicide is not the answer.
Don’t you know you could just call this 1-800 number and you’ll get all the help you need?
I don’t understand how people can blindly just put that much responsibility on people who don’t have what we have – so much so, that suicide does make sense to them as the way to end their pain.
I know it’s not fair of me to judge this way, especially if it means that the responsibility falls on each of us to take better care of each other. I get it. It’s not my place to tell you how to grieve.
But, in the vein of making this tragedy about me – I can only speak for myself – I certainly will try to challenge myself to let my guard down to be there for others.
To the people I love. To the people I know. To the people I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll even be THAT lady on the sidewalk or in the subway telling you this in person.
Even if no one has said it to you.
Even if you don’t believe me.
If you need help and you’re up for it, you can find help for yourself or someone you love. From anywhere in the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
If you’re in NYC, you can also call 1-888-NYC-WELL.
If you need just someone to talk to, reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Honestly, I’m not trained, and I may have to reach out to professionals for support, but I will do my best to give you a safe place to start.