It Only Takes One Life to Save Another

Today turned out to be an all day, siesta day. No housework or cooking for this gal. The weatherman said temps were going to reach upwards of 97 degrees with a RealFeel of 101, so I gathered my supplies and headed up to my room. The living room was already starting to feel like someone breathing down the back of my neck, so I opted for riding out the heat, perched on my bed, with the small, GE air conditioner cranking away. I figured I had vodka and cranberry juice, a big, bag of ice in the deep freeze, cable and my laptop to keep boredom at bay, so why the hell not? Am loving the life of leisure.

I made it through my first week alone. (It looks like it’s going to be the first of many, as the Old Man really seems to like his new job.) I admit, I missed him more than I thought I was going to and was happy when he crept in Friday morning, but of course, this excitement was short-lived. Like most males he has the attention span of a preschooler. And like most preschoolers that find a toy they haven’t played with for a while, he too was eager to play with his toy for a bit, but then quickly realized why he had tired of it before, and found something more distracting to occupy his time after for the rest of the weekend. ((sigh)) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss the days when I was a trophy wife.

It was just as well; Saturday I wasn’t up to snot and not fit for human interaction. Nursing old wounds, you might say. Saturday was Beth’s 48th birthday. A birthday that now comes and passes with no fanfare, gifts, calls, or well wishes. A birthday that is all but forgotten by many, and only remembered by those who knew her well and loved her most. I got through it by drinking many cocktails while curled up in a chair watching old episodes of “My So-Called Life” on Netflix. I mean HOURS worth! I don’t know why. Maybe because it reminded me of a time when the two, older kids were still in school, Markie was still a toddler, life was simpler, and Beth was still alive and apt to spring a weekend visit on me unexpectedly. I miss those times. I miss her.

Suicide is never far from my thoughts, because of the missing her part, though I wish it were. Once it was all I could think of because my own life seemed without purpose, the future looked bleak, and ending it seemed a far better idea than coping with the daily pain. Now it’s ever present, because I can’t shake the realization of what her death did to me and all those that love her. I find irony in the fact that it took her death to make me want to live. I find great sadness in the fact that the fight never seems to be over.

This senseless kind of tragedy hit close to home again just last week. This time I was spared the pain of losing someone I love, but my daughter was not. I was reminded of the initial shock of hearing about Beth’s untimely death, the crippling feeling of uselessness that overcame me when speaking with her children, and the agony of knowing she was gone and was never coming back that followed for months that turned into the last several years, when my daughter called. I listened, holding my breath, while between sobs she explained that her friend, Tony, had just taken his life. This friend had been a vital part of her life. He had been a vital part of my grandchildren’s lives. He was my daughter’s fiancés, best friend. She wanted answers, as I once had. Why would an outgoing, wonderful, young man of 28, who had many friends, a small child, and the whole world ahead of him want to die, she wanted to know. My only answer was that it wasn’t so much that he wanted to die as he no longer wanted to live. With suicide there are no answers, only more questions. The best a survivor can hope for is to continuing moving forward in spite of them.

This week I intend to repost “The Aftermath of Suicide” that I wrote for Beth’s birthday last year. This I do again in memory of her, and now for Tony as well. This I do in the hope that if another is contemplating this as a solution, they may read it and choose life instead.

Be a friend. If someone is threatening suicide…get involved. If you suspect someone is thinking about suicide…get involved. It only takes a moment to ask them a question. It only takes a hug to let them know they are not alone. It only takes one life to save another.  

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