I dreamed about the voluntarily departed. They tried to tell me why they did what they did, but I couldn’t understand. Suicide is something ever present in the mind of the manic depressive. I would never go there for real, but the thoughts have been overwhelming sometimes.
There are different kinds of suicide; the slow burn where alcohol or drugs kill by degrees. There are the misadventures who flirt with death; they take terrible chances and check out young. Then there are the deliberate suicides; those that know they want to die and just do it, though often after several attempts. Poor old grandad drank himself to death – it took him decades, he died of liver failure. My best friend Les choked on his own vomit after taking too many pills. An act of reckless indulgence took his life. His lover Stuart went swimming when he was drunk and drowned shortly after. Then there was Shug
Shug was a cool customer. He was quick witted, good humoured and full of confidence. Shug was a fly man; sly but generous with his friends. Once when I was sick (I had the killer migraines). He shared a couple of wraps with me and took me home. That dragon smoke lightened my head and sent me bye byes. No more headache, no more cares - a little suicide.
He was always up to some scam; so when he asked me for the hose from an old vacuum cleaner I’d thrown out I didn’t ask why. They found him next day. He was dead. He’d used old vacuum cleaner hoses to fill his car with carbon monoxide – no-one knows why.
Suicide is a young man’s game. It’s a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under thirty. Far fewer women top themselves, maybe they are thinking about the effect on others. The effect of suicidal death on others is profound. Loved ones are left wondering what they could have done; why the victim felt so alone and that they had no-one to turn to. The questions never go away, nor does the hurt.
Suicide is a form of martyrdom. The suicide so busy thinking of death as a tragic inevitability that any damage they might do seems somehow romantic. Their complete absorption in the act relieves them of the charge of selfishness, but if you can think of one person whose life would be devastated by your suicide it helps. Perhaps for some the terror of living outweighs the fear of death, but in the end no-one wants to die – they just want to stop the pain.