The first time was the death of a pretty good friend. This person was a professional with health problems, and was maybe troubled by moral ambiguity in his career. I learned of his death during my honeymoon. I’m still far from over it.
The second I learned of more recently. I’m having an even harder time reconciling, even though this person was just an acquaintance. The victim this time had an abundance of talent. Young, attractive, tremendously gifted and facing a life full of possibilities. This was a person I once interviewed and admired.
The lyrics of the M-A-S-H theme song say “Suicide is painless.” That’s a lie. Suicide leaves nothing but pain in its wake. While a person may choose death as an alternative to their problems, the pain falls on their family, friends and even a casual acquaintance that may have been a humble reporter that interviewed the deceased once. Opting out leaves us with their pain. We do not know why. We’re just left wondering.
I’m not a hypocrite. I will admit I’ve struggled with feeling low. Doctors have treated me for clinical depression. I’ve faced abandonment, hopelessness and fear. I’ve put my faith in people that I never should. I’ve disappointed people that loved me. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost people I’ve loved. I’ve been in situations that were hopeless. I’ve been in jobs that were misery. I’ve had relationships that were parasitic. There were times I did not want to go on.
Yet here I am. I realized life could get better. I’m with a wife that loves me. I’m at a job that I love. I have a family that never gave up on me. Why? Because I did not give up. All actions have consequences. Life is dealing with the consequences, good and bad. Sometimes, we have to deal with our pain. It can be violent. Life can seem hopeless. But time removes pain. Years removed from emotional trauma, I can say that life is well worth living.
I met a young man a few weeks ago. He is a smart guy. He has ambitions, youth and unlimited potential. My wife and I were just eating dinner at the restaurant where he worked. He had his problems. Bad relationships, judgmental family, bullying and fear of a painful future. We listened. We didn’t judge. And my hope is we left him better than we found him.
My point is, if you deal with pain, if you deal with consequence, life will get better. We all have friends. If we don’t have friends that can support us through pain, then we need new friends. They will come up. It may just be some dumb reporter that interviews us once, but it’s someone. If we have family that hurts us, we have others that love us.
If you have a friend that is in pain, listen to them. Their fears may seem small in your perspective. Those same fears are real to them and valid, in his or her mind, impossible to overcome. Be there. Let this person know they are loved. Tell a person you value their existence. You can be the difference in someone’s life.
And if you are depressed, abandoned or losing hope, don’t give up! Somewhere, there is someone that calls you friend. Someone will suffer if you are gone. I’ve been betrayed, abandoned and hurt. I’ve woken up and resigned myself to a day of nothing but misery. I’ve been to the brink of giving up. Here I am, happier than I’ve ever been. No matter where you are, and what you face, you can still make a change. Life can and will get better.
I’m dealing with a lot of pain right now based upon two people who decided to stop living. There relationships in these peoples’ lives who were much closer, and hurt a lot more. If you are hurting and about to give up, call 1-800-273-8255. Spell it out, that’s 1-800-273-TALK. If you have a friend in a crisis, talk to him or her. More importantly, listen. Hear them out. Validate the fears, and remind your friend or family member that they are loved, and that life gets better.
Please, do not give up. Nothing is permanent. When you face consequences, fears and pain, you emerge stronger. You will find happiness, love and support. Life is always worth living, because misery is only temporary.