Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Bike in the Box

I went to a memorial service tonight for a woman who committed suicide.  It was one of the most beautiful services I have ever been to.  For one thing, the minister didn't try to avoid the fact that she killed herself. She acknowledged the fact that she did this out of courage and that she loved her family and friends and she felt she had no other alternative.  She acknowledged the fact that she considered the impact her actions would have on everyone left behind. I have had many people say that suicide is an act of selfishness or cowardly.

 I disagree.  People who get to that point know their actions will impact many lives.  Their pain is so deep and severe, they see no other way out, no other way to end the pain.  People who suffer from depression are often very sensitive, caring, and are very in tune with how other people feel, more so than the average person.  They are empathetic and deeply concerned with others.  They feel, not only their own pain deeply, but other's pain, as well. It is often knowing how much this action will impact others that keeps them from making this choice for a very long time.  They think about suicide, they wish for it, they ruminate on it, they long for it.  But the impact it will have on others keeps them from making the final decision for months or often years.

I know depression.  Depression and I are old friends.  We go way back.  Depression is an old family friend who comes to visit on occasion.  I have tried to break the bond depression and I have with each other with varying degrees of success.  It does take courage to face depression.  People who are intimate with depression are well aware how their friend-- depression, is impacting their lives and the lives of those around them.

At the memorial service, one of the family members told the story of a bicycle that she won.  It was unassembled in a box.  She had asked her brother for help putting it together.  He postponed his trip to help her.  The bike sat in the box for many, many months, waiting for him to come and help her.  He never made the trip.

After her death, the bike was found, still in the box, unassembled.

Are there bikes in your garage that are not assembled?
Are there people in your life that you have not reached out to but keep meaning to?
Are there words unspoken?
Is there someone you love but can't bring yourself to tell them?

What unfinished business do you have in your life?
Who do you need to apologize to?
Who needs to die before you realize it?
Is it going to be too late for you, too?

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