Death, in and of itself, is a sobering thing to witness. It automatically brings to mind mortality issues such as meaning, amount and quality of life. When death hits close to home, these questions become personally connected and emotionally touching. The theoretical solidifies and is suddenly applied in a tangible way. But suicide is something different entirely.
We learned this morning that a friend and neighbor had taken his own life. The news was especially shocking considering he seemed, by all accounts, to be content and secure in life. But, basically, I’m deeply saddened to realize that he had reached a depth of despair from which he saw no salvation.
Our friend touched many lives, and he did so by simply being himself and portraying it honestly (for the most part) to others – a trait I envy.
I’m continually frustrated with the lack of true relationship between humans. We seem to daily, hourly, momentarily choose falsehood of some form or fashion over truth in its barest form. (Really, anything less than purest truth is a lie, yes?) As a result of this bitter frustration, I form a defense by choosing emotional isolation over false relationship. This works in the short term. I’m well guarded against false interaction offered under the guise of friendship, relationship or family.
But the most obvious catch, the chink in this well-constructed armor, is the fact that I have essentially eliminated all possibility of true relationship in the process. Our friend’s suicide is glaring evidence of a relationship failure, even if the failure itself is obscure. In the end, did my friend fail to offer up his true self or did I fail to offer mine? Sadly, I’m left to wonder indefinitely.