Suicide. The word instantly grabs your attention. The word carries a burden that no one seems to address. Suicide. You would think the more you see or say a word, the easier it would be to read. Suicide!
Depression, anxiety, and suicide are issues that plague a large percentage of our society yet actions leading up to the event of suicide often go unnoticed, but for some reason the actual word and the action of committing suicide catches everyone’s attention.
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 seem at any time to become easier to grasp or say a loud. Within the past few years 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 been wanting to write about this subject for some time, but every time I start any real piece on the subject, the project always happened to go unfinished until recently. There is always a right time for inspiration to flow, and to address the matters on the mind. This is an open letter to my cousin because it is the only way to end my mental battle with the subject, and truly express the heaviness the subject has on my heart. The original letter I wrote and finished a week after his death, but since that time my anger has subsided and life took a course of its own leading me to amend the original. The amended letter practically wrote itself and took on my personal journey through the life of a suicide attempt survivor. Without delay, here is my unread and recently amended letter to my dear cousin Jeremy:
The day I found out that you passed was one of the oddest days I have ever experienced. Death is a subject that particularly never draws much emotion from me (or in particular I have been known to keep all my emotions will maintained and burrowed). I am a firm believer that death is inevitable, and that death should be viewed of a celebration of life and of the accomplishments and the life of the individual. 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 a brand-new experience. To say at the very least it took me by surprise. I was driving alone and received a call with the news of your death, you killed yourself with a single bullet to the temple. To this day I cannot explain the mix of emotion that swept over me. I was heartbroken and really pissed at you. I felt like you took the easy way out. You left this hell hole that so many people call a great life to be lived. Immediately following this 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 one from when I was four years old and you were 22. 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 drink, as normal you pressed on my cheeks to get a face full of soda. I cannot tell you why this was the memory that comes to mind, but it is one that stands out so vividly at that very moment. 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 and only 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 strong 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 ever 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. At the same time, I understand the psychology behind it or that each person’s mental stability varies. Depression is real and has many unforeseen consequences; for so many of us. I just always felt that a person was making an easy escape from this hell on earth by choosing suicide.
The immediate months and year following your death have been quite difficult for me, not just because of your death, but for a variety of reasons. Recently following a long difficult stressed filled day, I was sitting in my dorm room alone. This was first time I realized suicide is not the easy way out, but could be an escape route. This was only one of two times ever in my life that I just wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I often express wanting to give up to mom in a just need to talk type of way, 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 a viable option. It would simply end all the stress I had. All my responsibilities would be gone. I would not have to work my ass off to pay for a tuition payment I cannot afford. I would not be constantly tired from working all night, having class all day, and striving to attend all the meetings I have during my only sleep hours. 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 to pay my 10,000 dollar tuition before the end of the semester. I would escape the 50,000-dollar debt that I will be facing in less than a year. I would not have to face the man who took my innocence away so many years ago any longer. I could keep listing my immediate stresses, but that’s not my point of writing this letter. Simply 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 one of my lowest points and I have never allowed my depression to pull me this deep before. That afternoon I looked at that last message you sent me. I sobbed for a good four hours while drinking a bottle of wine and consuming a lethal dose of controlled substances. 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 to live and faith in God that saved my life.
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 hand, you are to the point that it seems the only way out of the misery, but at the same time you are sacrificing the lives of those who surround and invested energy in you. I know that you were stressed and life was not easy for you. Our family is filled with individuals who eternalize our feelings and hide our depression. I am no longer mad at the decision that you made that day, but often wish that it could have turned out 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, life is tough and there are times that people drown in depression and cannot find the needed relief from the constant darkness.
I want to simply thank you, Jeremy. There is a purpose for everything in life, and your death has taught me so much about life and loss. There are so many memories that I hold near and dear that were created with you that are more vibrant than ever before. To give you a brief update, life has not been 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 or willing to end my own misery within this lifetime. 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 or has been. My faith is stronger than it has ever been and God is healing my mind and soul. I promise to write you another letter one day after my future graduation, my future wedding, my first child and after a few children (which hopefully one is adopted in my late thirties), and other great life events that prove that the night in my dorm room was you or the lord above 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, precious moments, and lastly God that help lead us through the dark and makes life worth living. Passion keeps us moving, and hope in the future takes us further. Depression and anxiety is a bitch, but faith can prove stronger than all the demons we fight daily. I love you and hope you rest easy big guy. Until the next time we meet.
Your little princess.