Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sorrowful Musings

I recently learned that someone whom I once knew fairly well killed himself. The unfortunate reality is that he killed himself five months ago, at a time when I was out of town on my first-ever extended vacation. I had lost touch with this individual for the last several years, the last time I saw him being 2010.  A couple of months ago, prompted by my ex-husband with whom I remain friends, I started trying to "find" him again; without success, I know now, because he had died last August.

We all "knew" that my friend suffered from depression, alcoholism, and despondency.  I let him slip away from my life, from inertia, laziness, or because my daily interaction with him stemmed from a social communion that was splintered by my divorce and his, and by the aging of our children who no longer attended the same school or matriculated in the same social group. Those might be "reasons", but to me, now, they are actually just "excuses". This person and I had known each other for something like thirty years, and I just let him drift from my life, even knowing that he could damn well use my friendship.  I mourn his loss.

I share these observations so that you may have an opportunity to take away a lesson from my feelings of inadequacy and failure.  Please do not let the people in your life drift away, especially those who most need you.  This is not my first experience with suicide, as you might recall -- my youngest brother killed himself.  I have the same sense now that I had then.  My friend's suicide is not "about me", any more than my brother's suicide was "about me". But I am left with the stark realization that I might have made a difference to my friend, had I made the effort -- which I easily could have done.  I felt this way, as well, when my brother died.

Suicide is a personal choice, that some say is a selfish act.  I know it is often a last, desperate attempt to be pain-free.  If we can reach out to someone suffering from such pain, we can, perhaps, make a difference to them.  If you know of someone who seems despondent, suffers from depression, has begun to pull away from his or her normal social circle, reach out to them. If you do not feel competent to do so, alert someone else in their lives.  You might make a difference. You might help them see another way to deal with the overwhelming pain that hounds them.

Mugwumpishly -- and sorrowfully -- tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.