On suicide, my experiences and Robin Williams.
I do not understand suicide. The reason I do not understand it, is because even in my darkest days I never was surrounded by so much pain that I saw death as the only option. And I am blessed that my depression never took me down that road. But I understand feeling lost. I understand sadness. I understand feeling alone. I also understand that life is constantly changing.
I’ve met with a lot of families who have lost a loved one to suicide. A lot more than I would have thought some four years ago when I graduated from Mortuary School. There is nothing I hate more about being a funeral director than these meetings. The survivors. They have pain in their hearts and “what if’s” on their minds. They will spend the rest of their lives going over scenarios of actions they could have taken to prevent their meeting with me, the funeral director.
I’ve learned to speak more gently to these families. I curve my words hoping that they will land more softly on their ears. I’m quieter. More somber. Because I’ve known people who have taken their own lives. The sadness is raw. The confusion hangs in the air. And I bear the pain of the survivors on my shoulders as I usher them through the funeral process. I stand over the bodies of their broken loved ones and I pray to God that they’ve found peace and hurt no more. But mostly, I pray for those left over. That they comes to terms with the fact that people’s actions are not their own. And that they can take their loss and use it to help others. I do not understand suicide, but suicide is nothing to be ashamed of.
My heart breaks for the Williams family.
This death affected so many because Robin Williams affected so many.
It’s confusing. It’s messy. It doesn’t make sense. And I pray for those who have the same sickness that Mr. Williams had keep walking down the road that they’re on. I pray that instead of cutting their journey short, they see it out until the end. Because life is constantly changing. Things do get better. Kindness still exists in the world and people still care. I care. And I’m willing to bet that a lot of you reading this right now care.
We’re in this together.