Today is a sad day. 

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.     

 


Comments

06/21/2012 1:15pm

Hilary. . first, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend :(

I think it's common and very easy for friends and families in these cases to become introspective and wonder what they could have done differently, wonder if they just weren't paying attention and missed some big piece to the puzzle, or some cry for help. Whereas there are times where this may be the case, I do think that most victims of suicide (and yes, I say victims -- victims to demons, victims to the past, to themselves, to . . . ?) are very good at hiding their pain, and for very long periods of time. Often times, their excellence at this is what has gotten them to the point where they don't feel that they can reach out for help and so they continue being the "normal" that they have become so adept at being while they internally struggle for their life.

I say this to you, or really to anyone that struggles with the guilt of not seeing, or not knowing, because it's not your fault. It's no one's fault, not even the victim's fault, in my opinion.

It's true that anyone might be able to open themselves up more or be more present in relationships; more truthful. However, Hilary, as you're wondering about things indefinitely, consider this: consider than instead of failing your friend, perhaps it was you and Mike, as well as the other relationships and friendships in your friends life, that him in hanging on to hope and to life much longer than he might have otherwise.

And in the meantime, use his tragic death for good. Use this clarity about your own struggles in relating to people, and open yourself up to that hurt and vulnerability that you fear, knowing full well that you are loved and taken care of by our Lord, and that is all the truly matters.

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06/21/2012 2:08pm

Elayne,

Well said, and I agree. It would be generally erroneous (and selfish) of me to dwell on the possibility that I personally could have somehow cured his pain. I believe most suicides victims are, as you say, victims of themselves. Understanding this results in minimal relief, however. It's a sad situation and I appreciate your condolences.

-Hilary

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Elayne
06/21/2012 7:25pm

(((hugs))) and in no way was I trying to minimize your pain (((hugs)))

Holly Hansen
06/21/2012 7:55pm

So sorry- a sad, sad day... an such a hard thing to deal with for all those left behind. Our love & prayers- Holly

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06/22/2012 12:10pm

Thank you so much for the support, Holly.

-Hilary

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06/23/2012 5:27am

S

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06/27/2012 9:59pm

Hey guys, was that the extent of your comment?? Are we missing anything ;-P

-Hilary

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06/26/2012 6:05pm

Hilary,

Thank you for sharing from your heart. What a spot-on analysis of the "lie" we often call friendship. As someone who has been in the depths of despair and come back alive, I can amen everything you wrote. Rare indeed is the man with a friend. Many lonely people are really just people who cannot tolerate falsehood and hypocrisy...

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06/27/2012 10:01pm

Yes Luke, and it's sad that the few who stand up to hypocrisy get "punished" with loneliness when it seems they should, in fact, be the ones rewarded.

- Hilary

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