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Please Scream Rather Than Leave A Note – Suicide In Our Lives

spade

Kate Spade / Anthony Bourdain


The other day, I read a NYT article that indicated suicide rates are rising at an alarming rate since 1999. The same day CNN listed a similar statistic at 25% since 1999. This was the day after Kate Spade had taken her life. I thought it a natural followup of a tragic event. This morning I woke to the news of Anthony Bourdain. His series ‘Parts Unknown’ has been receiving high ratings on CNN for years. These are two prominent members of our society based upon their achievements over decades. Yesterday at a conference, a colleague of mine made the poignant statement, ‘suicide isn’t selective’ in its victim.
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I’m really having a hard time wrapping my head around this. The first time I experienced suicide was when a friend of mine’s lover took his own life because he was terminal with cancer. I remember he lived a block away from me, and I probably could have heard the shotgun had I been on my deck, but I didn’t know about it until the next day. I remember his partner’s grief, and all the confusion that followed.
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Years later, a man named Spaulding Gray wrote a wonderful piece called ‘Swimming To Cambodia’ and I immediately fell in love with his writing, his persona, though I remember being tempered when once interviewed, he stated that when he knows he is too sick to enjoy a quality of life, he will jump in the East river. His body was fished out of that same river two years later. I was devastated. and again not fascinated, more sickened by the reality of such a gesture.
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In my own family, we have experienced such a tragedy, and there are never answers beyond the telling statement that depression is often a leading component in a person’s choice to take their own life. I’ve seen it too many times to count, and I still cannot wrap my head around it.
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I know in my life I’ve struggled with depression more than I would like to admit. I’ve felt the dark moments that I suggest to all of my students as they go on to college or just live their present lives that when those moments arise, they have to call someone, they cannot allow themselves any other choice. I recognize the hypocrisy of my emotional reaction to this terrible outcome in the lives of so many people in our society and world.
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Yet, all I can do today is speak to it from my heart. I didn’t personally know Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams, countless names in the public eye. I don’t know the names of all the people that the reader’s of this commentary have lost over the years. I only know the pain and confusion is real. I only know when my dark moments come, I cannot help but reflect upon the realities that exist around me on any given day.
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I can only suggest that people use the hotline – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, rather than accepting someone’s final option as the only answer. There have got to be solutions, and more importantly there has to be a greater awareness and acceptance around the stigma that is attached to mental illness and depression.

AP File Photo

Fighting Ignorance

This word popped into my lexicon

today, while basking

in the setting sun,

I wondered aloud about

what it is we seem to focus

upon while all around

our familiar ground,

the ignorance of life

seems drawn to

interfere with

a

quiet reality.

 

Sweet ignorance

the bliss of our lives

suddenly has feet

begins its walk again,

when a man,

a seeming professional

screams a rant at his own fear

in order to make a point,

that was already denied

fifty years ago,

when the time for

ignorance

seemed waning

rather than gaining.

 

We do sometimes choose to ignore

that purveyor of our deepest passion.

Getting Older in Autumn

sunset

pinterest – sunset

I read somewhere today about recognizing positive energy,

wonder came across my mind,

am I, can they, do anyone I know,

is there really a measure,

or are we all simply kidding ourselves.

 

I would glance around the room during times like these,

see all the different faces,

are they feeling the same,

maybe not now, or could we, is the

same solitude as impactful for her,

as it might be for the other guy

nearby wondering what lunch will be,

later on.

 

Is it really that simple for those that would rather complicate

the reality of our lives,

are we all, is it this, did you, I said it again,

I keep trying to stay out of this argument,

yet somehow I find I’m in the middle,

always trying with little effort,

or perhaps it is the other way around,

I might really exercise a certain bizarre discipline

toward accentuating

the negative nature of the human condition.

 

I do know there is a measure of truth

in the reality of a giving spirit,

I can see it on their faces,

the fresh affect, beautiful demeanor

of those whose smile is as real

as a wonderful sunset on a cool summer’s night.

 

That visual caused just a little bit of happiness … right?

Responsive Journey

A quiet path,

many minds have passed,

yet inside remains

alone like a ricocheting energy,

a certainty in privacy,

that which no one might alone

experience beyond

a silent beholden traveler.

 

Many nights, autumn mornings,

spring into action while the world around

might discover new purpose,

a reasoning that while easily

defined,

still remains on the outside,

wondering just how soon

there might be some quiet

revelation

toward opening doors.

 

yet there in the midst of a quiet existence

remains the wonder,

which while inside is felt.

What happens when

shared notions

become some emotive prayer

for understanding the logic

of living out our dreams

based upon

some ventured task to grasp

insecurity.

Different Moments

Recently, there were two,

lives we might call the same,

yet probably, more obviously,

vastly different lives,

worlds apart,

yet their outcomes,

well, we can probably imagine,

the same.

 

The meaning of which,

hard to explain,

yet, we want to know,

we ask the questions,

sitting together alone in our lives,

wondering just why,

when is this the time, when others

might still wander aimless

wondering only

about their next hour,

perhaps tomorrow,

even possibly a year ahead,

yet, these two …

 

Oh, to walk inside the mind of the dead,

to understand the next level,

be able to comprehend,

not likely to mend,

accept the truth yet I would

recommend,

the answer might be less

an epiphany,

more a sad reality,

but the question remains,

we all wonder about it together,

we wander the same streams,

the winding current of our lives.

 

The one, a musician,

his time came when the pain,

over came his emotions,

and later his family in the grieving period,

had to speak to the response

of his audience,

you and me,

the ones that miss him less then

they might ever possibly comprehend.

 

Yet the same,

the reality of the game,

out of our hands,

we just show up to

exclaim.

 

The other the choice is their own,

forget the others nearby,

find the solution today,

yet, that is the confusion,

we all would like to know,

now,

just why,

what fortune brought upon such pain,

and how can we all possibly

living,

not imagine its misfortune,

his misguided

solution.

 

We all do seem to have or hold or imagine,

these our different moments,

yet for me, they sometimes seem the very same.

In Hypocrisy Is Solution

Wonder about the rules,

whose design,

what makeup,

howsoever long the game be played,

is their truth in a lacking

understanding

or are we always meant to wonder,

is that the purpose,

does it give our lives a reason

for a constant wander

of the mind

to be the answer

might a patent suggest

we will now end this war,

this examination of a fruitless

endeavor

meant only to pad the walls

of quiet insecurity.

In a matter of words

often the purveyor

is left, are left, certainly wondering right

from wrong,

in a calming manner,

the world lives on,

even after the shadows

drift along the avenue

following another serene

universal sunset.