A major widespread concern these days has been suicide. I started to think about this because of a book my sister gave me to read and because of events currently in my family. Not necessarily suicide, but death. My sister gave me the book “Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice” by Kristen Jane Anderson. The book is a story of a teen in the Chicagoland area that attempts suicide, but the attempt fails. It leaves her instead with no legs. Currently, in my family, in my own house actually, my grandmother is sitting in a hospital bed just living each day until one day there isn’t another. She does not have cancer, she does have Parkinson’s, she is unable to use her legs to walk, her medication has made the tips of her fingers numb so writing or doing her Sudoku puzzles isn’t an option any longer, her hearing is so bad that she has to use headphones to watch tv, but even with that, its only a few hours before it needs to be charged again. She never had cable or satellite before, so even though she has DirecTV in her room, she has no idea that the realm of her tv world goes up to channel 400 (regardless of how many times we tell her or show her). She sticks to 2, 5, 7, and 9. Her eyes are so bad that she can’t see the tv or anything very well. When I pass by her room and wave hi, she frequently mistakes me for my mom (we have similar hair color).
As I walk past my grandma’s room, I begin to feel a huge wave of sadness. Here is a woman, the doctors say they can do nothing more for, whose life has to be confined to a hospital bed. Much of this could have been prevented earlier on, but it was let go for too long. Still, as I watch her nod off in a nap, I always feel the tears well up in my eyes. This is my grandma. The one who babysat me and lived upstairs from me. When I wanted to see her, or get a cookie from her, I would just run up the stairs and raid her cookie jar. Now, everyday I watch as she gets closer to death and it saddens me so much.
But then, there are people like Kristen Jane Anderson and myself who are young and have a whole life to live, but are in such a dark depression that we actually WANT to die. The difference between Kristen and myself is that she actually tried to. I never did. I just wrote about it, and thought about it, and got close to doing it on some occasions. I know how many times I wanted to because I reviewed some of my journals last night while cleaning and I can’t even count the number of times I wrote the phrase “Please take this pain away, please let me die, I just want to die.” And in the case of Kristen, she just couldn’t take the pain anymore and the opportunity presented itself, she took it, and it failed. However, her failure gave her a new outlook on life. Did my hospital visits and medication changes help with that and give me a new outlook on life? We shall see.
There is a love/hate relationship with dying. We hate that others have to die, we hate when they do die, we hate when they take their own lives, yet, we sit there and want to die. We can think of nothing more than dying. Hopefully we can help all of those souls that have a love relationship with dying and can help them see that there is more to life or help them over the hump. Let them know that its ok to be teary eyed when walking past that bedroom, but know that if you feel that there is no other option, you ask for help. Or if you notice someone that appears to need help, you offer your help. Sometimes they just need an offer, someone to show that they care.