My mother is adamant that I was distraught the evening my father committed suicide. I have no recollection of that. She insists I continued to be very upset the next day. I have no recollection of that either. In my mind I was stoic, calm, in control, but the events during that time don’t exist in my memory on any type of continuum or even as full scenes. Rather they are present as moments that stand out against a blurry backdrop, so it is possible she is right. I begin to lose details just seconds after my sister finished saying the three words she had called to relay: “Dad shot himself.”
People do frequently attempt suicide because of its presumed effect on their friends, family, and peers afterword. That’s why notes are left. So while I felt very bad for the little girl in the video, I also found the virality of her story distressing. When people shared the teen’s story to bring light to what they consider “a bullying epidemic,” they glorified her suicide…..My dad came into my room (the horror) and made me dismantle it, echoing the dean’s sentiment about the glorification of suicide. “He chose to leave,” he said. “He’s not a hero.”
Confessions of a Suicide Survivor by Amanda Lin Costa Narratively - Narratively: Local stories, boldly told.
Five cannot be a normal number; but then there is nothing normal about suicide. Our natural instinct as humans is to survive. Thrown into water, we will fight to keep from drowning until the last breath. To kill ourselves is to go against every natural instinct we are born with; to commit suicide, one must be broken on the inside. One of the counselors that night shared this insight with me and it resonated.
You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.
Have to admit, I’ve had similar thoughts.
Richard Swanson died while trying to walk from Seattle to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup - how far did he want to break away? - Grantland
I slump onto a cement car stop in a parking lot and listen to the details, dig in my purse for a pen, turn the phone away from the wind, write down the hospital’s name and the room number, watch people walk down Polk Street on their way home or to happy hour, thinking how normal they all look, how careless they act while my mother is in a coma. Her friend says she’s not sure how bad it is. I try to figure out how to phrase my question correctly, politely: “You mean she might die?” but I can’t think of how it’s supposed to be said, how a person asks this of a near-stranger regarding her own mother, so I don’t ask it.