Divorce, cancer, heart attacks and suicide

I was talking with a friend on the phone the other day once again making a promise, that neither of us seem to keep, about meeting for coffee or lunch. This friend is the king of information about people that we know. I, on the other hand, know nothing about anyone since I am not on the Facebook nor have a wife that feeds on gossip or the misery of others.

After exchanging pleasantries about wives and kids he began his roll call of who had cancer, heart problems, who was getting a divorce, who had lost their job, who this and who that. Honestly, it is exhausting and depressing and if the truth be told, the primary reason I don’t meet this guy for a cup of coffee.

I am of the age that inevitably I recognize someones name published in the obituaries weekly. Someone I knew, knew of, or maybe did business with at one point. Typically the cause of death is cancer or a heart attack. But there seems to be a cycle, thankfully not a frequent or long cycle, of men and women that I know or know of, 45 to 60 years of age, that commit suicide. All, and I do mean all, were a surprise. Men and women who seemingly had the world by the tail, successful, productive, and most with wonderful families. What I would learn later is that what they actually had by the tail was a tiger called depression and they simply grew tired of fighting with this beast everyday.

I think of one gentleman in particular who committed suicide three years ago that I still struggle with today. Successful wouldn’t even begin to describe this man, he was at the top of his field in our community, the go to guy. His family; incredible. Loving wife great kids, on the outside it appeared he was living the American dream, a life for all of us to model. I heard later that he thought he was doing his family a favor by ending his life, that in his mind this was the best thing for them. In fact it had the complete opposite effect, they were devastated, broken and still struggling with his actions today.

The harsh reality is that however he rationalized this exit, whatever good he thought he was doing was in fact a decision that will haunt his family for the rest of their lives. It haunts me. I know, I know with all my heart, that if he could see the results of his actions, the effect it had on his family, friends and the community he would have reacted differently, he would have taken a different course of action. I truly believe this knowing this man.

I write all this to say, I don’t fully understand this demon though I have had a moment in my life where I stood toe to toe staring at this same tiger in the face with the same thought that life would be better for those around me without me here. I am thankful, beyond thankful, that I won that staring contest. If you or someone you know is dealing with those same struggles, please, please talk to someone and get help. There is no shame in asking for help, we all need help sometimes. Your family, your friends, your community want and need you here, I know they do. I have seen it their eyes and I have felt it in my heart.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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39 Responses to Divorce, cancer, heart attacks and suicide

  1. cindy knoke says:

    “I, on the other hand, know nothing about anyone since I am not on the Facebook nor have a wife that feeds on gossip or the misery of others.”
    That, unfortunately, about sums things up, doesn’t it. I can understand how a person may no longer want to be on this planet, even though as a retired psychotherapst I always did everything in my power to stop them and was successful at it. In civilian life, it unfortunately, is not so easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What people learn on Facebook, I don’t want to learn. By the time it makes the FB it is too late.

      Like

      • That’s why my husband hates FB! Lol.. He’s not wrong… you’re always seeing gossip, pointless arguments, etc etc. Except, with my age group (Early 30s), I see people who are CONSTANTLY seeking validation by over-posting about how perfect their lives are. To me… that’s more sad (sadder? lol) than seeing someone be honest about having struggles. At least I know that the struggling people are being honest and are at least seeking some sort of help. Cyber space may be the only way someone accepts help… it can be a healing place. But I’m a diagnosed Crazy so… I could be in the minority with that opinion 😛 :-).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Really resonated with me- I met a very dear friend by chance yesterday after 20 years(we lost touch through work, moves etc.) Quite emotional. He told me one of our old group had been diagnosed HIV and shortly after committed suicide. He didn’t have to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lively Life says:

    I don’t feel bad for liking this. Even though the subject is eerie, it is real. And the fact I like the tiger tail usage.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anne J says:

    Somehow, I think your talking to me.. 😄 but that could just be the vanity in me. I do understand that one may commit suicide because he/she thinks that ending his/her life is the best for their loved ones, because of their illness, etc. I was a coward, lazy and selfish. I think… I was tired and it was hard work. I was lucky I wasn’t done yet and I still am not. I got another chance and I know now how that wasn’t the right thing to do. I do my best to tell others so they don’t have to go through the experience in case they are not as lucky as I was…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. freespirit says:

    Like you i don’t want to listen to gossip only part of it is ever true. A good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. I experienced a nephew committing suicide in his early 20’s…a young man with his entire life ahead of him. This happened over thirty years ago, and I am still tortured by the fact that I didn’t reach out to him, even though I had no idea he was depressed. But I should have been aware..somehow I should have known. I learned that I need to practice being more aware of what is really going on in my loved ones lives, as much as possible.
    Thank you for writing this…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pat that is tough position. Like my friend, I had no idea he was battling depression, none. I am still at a loss of words of how to describe the shock and sadly overtime anger for him picking this path. At the end of the day, no matter how invincible we make think we are, we are still very fragile creatures that cry and bleed.

      Like

  7. n3v3rm0r3 says:

    As someone who deals with depression personally, and someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, I can both understand the depths of pain and despair that take people to the space where the only conceivable way of stopping the pain is through death, as well as the shock and disbelief that comes when a person we care about makes that choice. It is even harder to comprehend when that person appears to have everything to live for. As you have so keenly observed, we are very fragile creatures.

    Very thoughtful post. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There but for the grace of God….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing! Love how you said this,’ All, and I do mean all, were a surprise. Men and women who seemingly had the world by the tail, successful, productive, and most with wonderful families. What I would learn later is that what they actually had by the tail was a tiger called depression and they simply grew tired of fighting with this beast everyday.’

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes haunting i lost my brother to suicide and not a day passes without thinking of him.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I lost a coworker to suicide 2 years ago and it still haunts our agency to this day. His fiance worked with us and she ended up relocating to a site 40 miles away from us. We’ve always had mandatory resilience training but most people had the attitude that no one needed it, but now every year’s training is just a little bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The marriage cycle | Ends and Beginnings

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