Thursday, November 10, 2011


I have been thinking about people who commit suicide lately. To be clear, not because I have considered it for myself, but because twice in the last 4 months it has peripherally touched my life.

In July, as I was overseeing the summer program in our community, a woman in our village chose to end her life. She didn't want her landlord or friends to find her, so on a soft Summer morning she called 911 and let them know what she was about. Of course, when someone calls and says that they are going to end it all, the police respond in force. As I arrived at camp that morning, there was already a police cordon, SWAT team members, and some evacuations going on less than two blocks from the location where I was responsible for 60 children and 10 staff. Conflicting reports said it might be a hostage situation, or maybe a murder/suicide. I was in touch with police and had to help staff plan a release of campers at the end of the day. Not fun, and seriously miserable when it became clear that this woman had simply called to say she wanted police to come and claim her body.

What was truly terrible was the outpouring of comments and concern that happened in the wake of this woman's actions. So many people were devastated to hear of what she had done. The heartbreak was palpable. Yes, she had suffered the loss of a dear pet, yes she felt alone, but at the end of the day there were many who mourned her choice and the fact that she would no longer be a part of the fabric of village life.

More recently, like in the last two weeks was the untimely death of a man who owned a local garden center. He was a minor celebrity in our area, everyone having been to this center at one time or another. A larger than life personality, he drew you in with his enthusiasm for his chosen profession. You might bulk buy at Lowes, but you went to Always the Garden for the real gems in your garden.

The news of his death began much like the news of the earlier suicide I experienced this year. Rumors, chatter, speculation, followed by horrible confirmation. Now, dozens of people I know are mourning the death of this amazing person.

So, here is the question I have...... Why can people not see the impact they have on the lives of the people around them? Why can someone not see that the threads of their life intertwine and tangle with so many others? By snipping their thread they leave us all at loose ends, trying to repair and restore.

Would it have been different for these two people if they had seen? Would the choices have been different?

I wish for peace for these tortured souls and peace for the people who ache with their absence. In those moments when feel the darkness and wish to silence the voices in our heads, I hope we can see and feel how what we do will leave others in pain. No person exists in a void, no person should act as if they do.