Suicide. The word instantly grabs people’s attention. The word carries a burden that no one seems to want to address. Suicide. You would think that the more you see or say a word, the easier it is to read. SUICIDE!
Suicide is an issue that plagues many societies yet often becomes overlooked. The word and the action of committing Suicide catch everyone’s attention, but the actions leading up to suicide usually goes unnoticed.
You have read the word suicide seven times since you have started reading yet the implication of the word still carries great weight, and does not at anytime become easier to read. Within the past six months suicide has become a major aspect of my life. A family member of mine decided to end his life in the worst way possible. I have needed to write about this subject for some time, but every time I start it always seems to go unfinished until today. This is an open letter to my cousin because it is the only way to end my mental battle with the subject. This letter I started and finished a week after his death, that letter has since been replaced because life happened to me. Now it is time to finally release the emotion that has been built up inside for so long. Here is my letter to Jeremy:
The day I found out that you passed was one of the oddest days I have ever experienced. Death is a subject that never draws much emotion from me in particular. I am a firm believer that death is evitable, and that death should be a time of celebration of the accomplishments and the life that someone has lived. It usually takes me a good while until the reality of the death sinks in for me, and my emotions let loose. Your death was different. To say the least it took me by surprise, which this is not the first time that someone has died without warning in my lifetime. I was driving (do not ask me where or who was with me because I have no idea) and I was told you were dead, you killed yourself. To this day I cannot explain the mix of emotion that swept over me. I was upset and also really pissed off at you. I felt like you took the easy way out. You left this place that is a hell hole for many of us. Immediately following this brief moment of rage, I was filled with the unusual feeling of loss and grief. The first memory that popped in my head of you was when I was four or five years old. I would fill my cheeks up with air and you would push my cheeks and let all the air out. The last time I filled my cheeks with orange pop, you as normal pressed on my cheeks to get a face full of soda. I cannot tell you why this was the memory that I remember, but it is one of many that stuck with me. As I replayed that memory in my head a few times, I stopped the car and just cried for a couple of minutes by myself. I could hear your laughter as you pressed on my cheeks. I can see your face as orange liquid splattered everywhere. I think this was the first time you ever yelled at me.
It is fair to say since that day I have thought about you often and each time I end up in tears. Do you remember the last thing that you said to me? You sent me a message and told me how proud you were of me. Going to college and becoming a young woman. I replied and told you that I missed you and thanked you for your kind words. That is the last conversation that we ever had. The last time I spoke to you.
To be perfectly honest before your last day on earth, I always held the opinion that taking one’s own life was a selfish unnecessary way to shorten a life. That is not to say that I do not understand the psychology behind it or that each person’s mental stability is not on the same page. Depression is real and has many unforeseen consequences; I just thought the person was making an easy escape from this hell on earth.
The months following your death have been quite difficult for me, not just because of your death, but for a variety of reasons. One night, following a long difficult stressed filled day, I was sitting in my dorm room alone. This was the first time I realized suicide is not the easy way out, but is an escape route. This was the first time ever in my life that I really just wanted to give up, and throw in the towel. I often express wanting to give up to my mom, but this was the first time I shut off my phone and did not want to move forward with my life. I felt for the first time in my life that suicide was an option. It would simply end all the stress I had. All my responsibilities would be gone. I would not have to work my behind off to pay for a tuition I cannot afford. Every cent to my name would not be placed on a bill or payment that I need to make. I would not be constantly tired from working all night and having class all day. I would not be putting stress on my mom to make up for the twenty dollars here and there I need to put gas in my car just to get to work. I would escape the 50,000 dollar debt that I will be facing in less than a year. I could go on for about another ten pages, but I think you get some of the more trivial reasons I could see the benefits. To say the least I was at the end of the rope and I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in my life. It was the lowest I have ever felt. That night I looked at that last message you sent me. I sobbed for a good four hours before drinking a bottle of wine. You stopped me that day or maybe someone from above, I cannot really tell you. I do not know if it was you in my dorm room that night, or just my unusually strong stubborn will and faith in God that changed my mind.
What I realized that night was suicide is not the easy way out. Wanting to end your life is hard knowing the affect it will have on the people around you. On one had you are to the point that it seems the only way out of the misery, but on the other you are sacrificing the lives of those who surround you. I know that you were stressed and life was not easy for you. We are not the type to reach out and pull the sympathy card either so I know you eternalized many of your feelings. I am not mad anymore at the decision that you made that day, but often wish that it would be different. I wish I could see you one last time. The truth is I do not know how I feel about the word suicide anymore. What I do know is that life is tough and there are times that people do not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I want to simply thank you Jeremy. Every life event is put into my life for a reason, and your death has taught me so much about life and loss. There are so many memories that I hold near and dear that was created with you that are more vibrant than ever before. To give you a brief update, Life has not gotten any easier and I take life day by day. Life has been a series of trials and tribulations lately, but I am not strong enough to make the decision that you did. I have more time in store for me here on earth. Hopefully this will be the last time I write you to tell you about how terrible life can be. In the future at my graduation I promise to write you another letter, at my future wedding, my first child (which hopefully is adopted in my late thirties), and other great life events that prove that the night in my dorm room was you telling me to hold on. I have realized life can be tough and sometimes you cannot always see the light, but there are people, songs, and precious moments that help lead us through the dark and makes life worth living. Passion keeps us moving, and hope takes us further. I love you and hope you rest easy big guy. Until the next time we meet.
With Love, Kate-Kate