Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two Years Ago

Two years ago at about this time we were at Leif's apartment and found him dead on his kitchen floor. We knew when we drove up to the apartment building that something must be terribly wrong because he hadn't answered repeated phone calls, emails or text messages for a day, but when we saw both his vehicles there, our hearts sank and what little hope we had was gone.

If anyone reading this is contemplating suicide, think about this. Think about what it will be like for someone who loves you to find your body, to see you dead and what you have done to yourself. Such a death is not a simple closing of the eyes like you have seen in many movies, and if you use a violent means of death, it is a grisly and terrible scene.

Think about them having to call the police and then being required to leave while the police do their investigation, being required to stand by while they remove your body, how they will not be able to be with you. They cannot touch you. They cannot disturb the scene. They will be questioned, and depending upon the circumstances, they may even be suspected of causing your death. If not them, perhaps your friends. They are only doing their job, but it will be hurtful and horrifying. Luckily we were spared that, but many suicide survivors are not.

Think about the questions your family and friends will have, how they will always wonder what made you do it, whether they could have done anything to prevent it, the eternal whys, the sadness and grief they will feel, the future that will never be.

Think about the mess you will leave behind for them to try to clean up, not only the death scene itself, but your affairs, your belongings, your taxes, your finances, your vehicles, everything you own. Think about them having to clean out your dwelling, dispose of your possessions, and how heart wrenching all of that will be for for them.

Think about how it will never be over for them. It will be over for you, though you will have destroyed your future, but for them, it will be months if not years before they have completed all the tasks that must be done when someone dies, and it will be a lifetime of sadness, regret, questions and missing you.

Think about it and get help. Don't fall for the suicidal thinking that they will somehow be better off without you. They will not.

Two years ago we faced all this when we opened the door to Leif's apartment. What we saw is burned into our brains. What happened changed our lives forever. What we had to do was hard and sad.

My brother said that Leif didn't really want to be dead, "he just wanted all the shit to stop." How many people who kill themselves really want that, not death, but don't see any other way out? What a horrible price to pay, for everyone.

Life is precious but it doesn't feel precious to someone who is in misery and torment. Taking one's life ends that torment but it blocks any future and torments others for lifetimes. Some of them may never forgive you for it.

I've been confronted with people who think that there will always be warning signs of a possible suicide, that someone contemplating it will threaten to do it, and that those who do it always leave suicide notes. Not so. Many times there are no warning signs, except perhaps depression and withdrawal, but even those are often well hidden. Sometimes it's planned, but many times it is a quick decision in desperation. And most of the time there is no explanatory note, though even if there were, it would not bring much comfort.

Depression is dangerous. Depression with a gun in your hands is even more dangerous. Depression with a gun in your hand and getting drunk is lethal. Don't do it.

My family is broken. It will never again be complete. I will miss Leif all my life.

And I will always love him.

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