Selfishness and dying by your own hand

One dark Monday morning, my brother decided that he could not live anymore. Life had, somehow, become too difficult. 

I can still recall the feeling of numbness when the police called, it is not a feeling that merely my brain remembers, but my body goes numb again and again, when I remember that day. Numbness, hysteria, fear, chaos. And grief. So much grief. 

His best friend followed his casket, brought by a military plane. I saw that he tried to be strong, but he was dissolved in tears. A best friend was gone. A brother was gone. A son was gone. My parents had lost their baby. And the questions “why” began to emerge. 

I will not begin to try to explain why I think he made that decision that day. I do not have the truth. But, I knew my brother well. We confided in each other. We saw the depths in the waters of life, and we mirrored ourselves in the other. 

Sometimes I think that if he had seen the church filled to the brim with people who had loved him, we would have changed his mind. Sometimes I think that if he had seen the pools of tears shed for him, he would have known love is enough.

Albeit, it is not. My love for him was precious, but it did not change how he dealt with the world and his life.

It would be foolish for me to think so.

Some people say that suicide is a selfish act, not considering the ones they leave behind.

I would have done everything in my power, if that could have brought my brother back. But, I would be selfish to expect that he would live, merely for that reason, that I could not bare to lose him. That, to me, is truly selfishness. To not try to understand the dark emotions, lack of hope and strong forces behind such a decision. 

Every year, we lose more people to suicide than in traffic accidents. But we do not dare to talk about it. Not nearly enough. If we start to listen. Stop being so afraid about speaking about death, about giving up. Then, someone might open up to us and share their distress. 

Perhaps that conversation will change the course of time.

Or, perhaps that conversation will leave you feeling good about the fact that you made that person feel respected and listened to, regardless of the outcome.

If one should leave this world, it should be feeling respected and loved. And then it is up to the rest of us to deal with the tragedy of loss.

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