Friday, November 12, 2010

A Glimmer of Understanding

A friend reached out after reading my post where I asked how my brother could not see all those around him who would have done anything to help him. I struggle with that a lot--not being able to step into his shoes to know what he must have been going through. Reading her illustration of the experience of depression, I think I can grasp just a glimmer of understanding. Thank you for sharing this with me.

I’m on a sailboat, all alone, in the middle of the ocean. And I don’t know how to sail. I drift.

Sometimes the seas are calm, and I go about my days doing the things I need to. I might even see another sailboat nearby, and if the person on that boat sails over to me, I don’t have to be alone. (Remember, I don’t know how to sail, so I can’t sail to the other person’s boat.)

Sometimes when the seas are calm, I even think that I can sail. It doesn’t end well.

And when the seas are rough, it takes all I have not to fall overboard, not to be completely debilitated by seasickness. It would take an expert sailor to reach me. And it wouldn’t matter. The seas would still be rough.

Sometimes, it would be easier to drown.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Justifiable Suicide?

I read an article in the NYTimes about suicide and suicide attempts by women in Afghanistan. By fire.

Cooking oil and matches are readily available. Girls are all but sold to much older husbands who rape them, beat them, and shame them. Their families--if they are still allowed to see them--can offer no protection. These women and girls have nowhere to turn. So they choose suicide by fire.

One woman's husband taunted her that she did not have the strength to burn herself. Unfortunately, she did.

I don't know that suicide is ever justifiable or warranted, but I think I can understand, maybe a little, what would make one of these woman choose such an escape.

What depth of pain must my brother have been in? He had a family that loved him, friends who cared about him, and so many people who would have moved heaven and earth to help him. How could he have seen suicide as the only way out?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Walking in My Brother's Honor

This past Saturday, AK and I participated in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We joined about 400 others who were walking in memory of a loved one lost to suicide. With the support of so many friends, AK and I hit our fundraising goal of $2,500--in less than 2 weeks.

The walk wasn't as monumental as I thought it might be. I spent a good portion of the time being angry and upset that I was even participating in the walk, and that so many people have been affected by suicide. They gave out colored necklaces--honor beads--to symbolize the loved one lost to suicide. Orange for siblings, gold for parents, white for children, red for spouses, purple for friends. It was heartbreaking to see so many people wearing multiple beads.

They had run out of purple beads before we even got there.