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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

On Death and Dying


First of all, suicide sucks. If you find yourself thinking that the end is near and you want to expedite the race to the finish, don't. Please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255). Or call me. And know that if you call me, you're going to get a personal visit from me as soon as my ugly car can drive to be by your side. And if I have your mom's number, I am going to call her too. We are all going to be there. Just like we are on the days when you're not plotting your demise. That's the public service announcement portion of this post.

So, death. I think that is the easy part. It is the "life" part that is more challenging. From what I can tell, those days just before the end are often the very worst. We grasp for hope, for meaning, for purpose and then spend most of our days striving to achieve...something. I don't think it matters much what that "something" is, as long as it fulfills (or seeks to fulfill) that small, still voice that connects soul to life. For me, that "something" is creating. Right now it is creating glass work, sometimes the creation is a big party, other times it is weeding the side yard (to undo the "creating" of a neglected garden). For you, I am sure, that connection is different. It seems, as long as I am seeking a path to satisfy that voice, then the purpose of my life is fulfilled.

What is it that derails our connection to the soul and the feeling of being whole? A bad childhood, maybe. Or a dissatisfying marriage, perhaps. Sometimes it is addiction, or depression, grief, or the general ennui felt as life approaches and you're measuring yourself against a yardstick meant for someone else.

Being swept away by the world and not stopping to re-connect will create the chasm of darkness. From what I can tell, after recognizing the darkness, the most difficult step is asking for help. To admit that the connection-to-self cannot be made feels worse than the missing connection itself. Life isn't easy; there is nothing worse than being alone on that island of departure-from-self.

Shawn PresleyIt would be nice if I could wrap this post up with an unscientific truth about how to avoid the path of self-destruction, but I don't have one. All I know is that is really is awful to be the ones left behind when a friend finds them self on the lonely, lonely island and takes a dive off the cliff face of reality, never to return again. How much I would give to make them step back, to turn around and come running down the hill and stay with us for just one more night.

Like I said, suicide sucks. A whole, whole lot.

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