Death. When is a good time to talk about it. How does one bring it up. Will it ever be a topic not enveloped in secrecy, fear and sadness?
I guess for some cultures it may not be viewed like this. However in ours it is. What is even harder to discuss is, the untimely death. What is an untimely death, what constitutes untimely?
Who decides whether a newborn, an older adult or some one in their younger adult life that passes away suddenly should have their passing as labelled, untimely? When is there a predictable time or a set time for death………………………….
As painful as it is for me to discuss at times it still needs to be discussed…….. Yes there is a predictable time or even a set time for death. We see it set when were are about to switch off life support machines and we see it in the future looming ahead of a patient after they are given a terminal diagnosis…………………………
But perhaps the most emotionally painful kind of death that can be labelled as both untimely and with a predictable or set time for death is that of a suicide victim………….
If one is to think about it, if one can tolerate thinking about it, one can only draw the conclusion that if a person they have known who was generally known to be of sound mind committed suicide then surely they must have known that death was imminent. If they had such clarity then why did they still take their own lives?
People assume that the suicide victims must have felt so sad and helpless that they just no longer had any desire to live. Does sad and helpless constitute, depression or a mental health issue that may or may not have been diagnosed or treated? This kind of death raises so many questions and leaves so much heartache and often unanswered questions for those left behind…….. I call those lost by taking their own lives suicide victims because in a way that is how I see them, victims of their own demise.
The first question always asked after one learns of someone committing suicide is, Why? The why, Ive seen so many times is often answered with, because they felt sad or hopeless, like nobody cared enough to help them. The next statements I often hear is “if only I had, noticed, tried harder, done something differently” And to this I say “I’m sure you did everything you could” “because if they really truly no longer wished to live, they would have found a way to end their life, no matter how hard you tried to make them stay”………………..
I work with some amazing people and we are confronted by death regularly and no one is ever really immune to the harsh reality that death can be painful, emotionally, and people get left behind to deal with the pain. At our busy emergency department we see people present with suicide attempts and attempts at self harming and with every presentation like this we provide them with a review by a medical officer as well as a psychiatric specialist. The medical doctor treats the physical component of their presentation, such as did they cut their wrists or overdose on some form of medication. The psychiatrist assesses their mental status and determines if they are of sound mind or not and here, right here, has got me thinking about why I am not a mental health nurse…………….
Who are we to determine that if a person wishes to die that they must clearly be mentally unwell and out of their right minds…….. I don’t like to see any one die, me more than most, I am hypersensitive, a compassionate soul, that feels more empathy than most should, I’m a sympathy crier, I will cry if you are crying, just as soon as I see the pain cross your face I will feel it in my heart, almost as if it was my pain……….. However, if your pain was because you no longer wanted to live and people had tried to “fix” you several times of your dislike for life then who are we to force you to live because the thought of death is far to painful for us but life is far to painful for them……………….
I have looked into the eyes of a soul that was so completely broken, several “failed” suicide attempts under his belt, no legs, chronic pain, a shell of a man and absolutely no will left to live. So what did we do, “fix” him, bandage his wounds, give him pain relief and medication to “fix” his mood so he would no longer prefer the thought of death to life…… Even though this thought had plagued him for so long that it was apparent that every chance he could get, he would attempt to end his own life.
And now just to turn the table of this discussion completely on its head I bring the issue of suicide far more closer to home than I would ever have liked to deal with………………
Its easy to justify trying to understand why someone would prefer death over life in a professional capacity, looking at their injuries, their quality of life and even their mental health. However the lines become blurred and emotions run high when its someone you know/ knew. All you want to do is cry………. And you become the person with the question “Why?” And your rational mind tries to talk you out of trying to over think it and self talk includes such quotes as “remember the good times”, “she would want you to keep on being happy and living life smiling” and despite your head telling you all these rational things your heart and soul are crying crying crying………………………
You may not have spent a lot of time with a person in your recent past. You may have been only on a chat passing in the street basis, and you had said “we should catch up” and it seemed flippant but you actually meant it. And then you hear the news. They are gone……… However you shared a past, memories, lots of good ones. You are no longer in their social circle. You are shattered none the less by their tragic and extremely untimely death……………
I held my daughter in my arms as tight and for as long as I could and we cried together for the loss of someone we both once knew and cared about a lot…………..Some many questions. So much pain. So much love pouring out for a beautiful soul that was lost way too soon!!
And the constant question of “why?”
The constant statements of “If only” And then there is the stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
We cried for the friend we once had, we cried for the friend we no longer had, we cried at the thought of her pain and sadness, we cried for her family and the pain they were (are) going through……………….And I believe we will cry until we need too……………….I guess acceptance hasn’t been reached yet……………How does one accept that one so young, so beautiful and outwardly so happy did not want to live…………………Sometimes the pain of this thought seems to much to bare and its easier to just switch off.
Every story has a take home message and everyone deserves someone to love them, listen to them and be there for them. So listen to the ones you love, truly listen, be there for them if they are sad and show them how much they are appreciated!!
People need to remember that everyone has at least one person in their lives that truly loves them, that really wants to be there for them, that no matter how bad things seem, with love, guidance and support things can get better.
Life can get better, no matter how bad it seems, it can only be uphill if you’re already at the bottom. Look up and ask for help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If your feeling sad, low, lost, lonely, anxious, scared, victimised, bullied, vulnerable, abused, hopeless or just plain over it, find that small glimmer of inner strength and SPEAK UP!! REACH OUT!! Have faith that one day soon you will feel ok!
TODAY IS SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY!
And although we may have already lost some to untimely deaths we take comfort in the thought of being watched over by such beautiful angles.
SO LETS SPREAD THE MESSAGE TO PROMOTE SUICIDE PREVENTION!!!!
No-one deserves to feel like they have no other option, death is NEVER the only option!!
If you were a terminally ill patient you wouldn’t resign yourself to living only to meet your death, you would choose to live life to the fullest!!
Live every moment as if it was your last!!
If your sad reach out to someone for support and if you suspect someone you know may be feeling sad reach out to them, a simple “are you sure you’re ok?” to start the conversation.
No-one deserves to feel blue all the time, so if you do, call someone who can talk to you and help you through!!
Reach out and support each other to help prevent another life lost to suicide!!
Go forward with Peace, Love and Happiness in your hearts xox 🙂
R.I.P PRINCESS MELISSA