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When we long for death

When I was 15 I wanted to die every single day.

I had several volumes of mixed tapes which I recall being labeled ‘depression to the max’, filled with pukey-heartbreak songs and raging-industrial-metal constantly on replay. I’d contemplate between making a big splash of my death or just going away quietly. But I never had the guts to do it.

Last week a 15 year-old girl jumped to her death from the 21st floor of my building.

It’s eerie walking by where life was lost.

We probably walk by people every day who are simply one tiny act away from ending everything.

I’m sure plenty of people might say – they’re only fifteen, what do they know about suffering or heartache?

And you could go as far as asking – what do any of us really know? You and I are merely dust; Or maybe organisms with advanced cognitive abilities.

Yet our hearts are loaded with so much more.

Our hearts can burst at the seams with joy. Our hearts can feel the weight of the world. Our hearts can create a gaping void so large the entire universe can’t even fill.

That’s why some of us want to escape. Heaven. Hell. Tranquil nothingness.

What do you say to someone when absolutely anything is better than the brokenness they’re currently in?

Photo credit:ashleyrose

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Harry Wentland March 15, 2010, 10:58 am

    thanks for the reminder never to underestimate existential suffering.

    what would i say? i don’t know? not much? there is really so much one can say but i guess more important is to feel the pain…

    • Lon March 17, 2010, 11:58 am

      that’s an interesting point. can someone know we feel the pain if we don’t express it? or do they even need to know we’re sharing that pain?

  • Al March 15, 2010, 12:58 pm

    All that we really have to offer is ourselves–our time, our love, our listening ear. Sometimes we might have a bit of wisdom, but in the angst of the moment, that often seems so shallow.

    I guess all we can do is to be open, friendly, supportive to all people we meet. We may never know what is going on in the heart and emotions of the person we meet on the street or in the hallway.

    I’m not saying we don’t try to offer something concrete when we have the opportunity, but usually we don’t know what’s going on inside a person. We have to trust that God will take the love we have, and use it to help the person who needs it.

    • Lon March 17, 2010, 12:05 pm

      Agreed Al – what sucks is when the love/emapthy we do have, remains bottled up due to our own securities… when someone else’s very life may be at stake.

  • Erin Wilson March 15, 2010, 8:43 pm

    Lon, I am so sorry for your loss. It’s impossible for a death like that to not impact the entire community. I’m so sorry, for your (collective) loss.

    • Mike Burns March 16, 2010, 3:53 am

      I think it’s easy for us to underestimate our ability to reach someone. I feel to often I find myself in a “what can I do” movement, not always taking in the things I could say or do. It’s different to look back on a event and see how things unfolded, just not that simple when your looking at it square. I’m sure it seems trivial but this makes me think of how I feel when I listen to one of my favorite bands from high school. Nirvana. When you especially listen to the Unplugged album, you can hear a guy who seems alone surrounded by hundreds of people with a wife and a daughter and everything to live for. Then you know shortly after that recording, he ended his own life. What if one of those hundred could have let Kurt Cobain know he wasn’t alone?

      • Lon March 17, 2010, 12:03 pm

        Kurt Cobain… thanks for bringing him up. what a story he … was. but yeah, his story continues over and over in people all around us. I’ve got to imagine there must have been at least some sympathetic fan mail or conversations on the road.. or that there were some in his inner circle who knew of at least a degree of the pain he was in – did he have a problem receiving counsel? was there something else or some other way that could’ve prevented that tragedy? I wonder would have been ‘enough’ to keep him going; one unconditional friend? another artist that opened up to him with a similar story?…

        whenever i hear of stories where people want to take their lives… there seems to be that ‘one thing’..

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