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The Earthquake of a Suicide
What a price to pay to be reminded of what matters.
Today my friendship circle was rocked with the earthquake of Suicide, a suddenness that crumbles the houses of our certainties against which we are powerless, and whose aftershocks tremble on for many days. So very many of us have been made intimate with this depth of anguish in how our life breaks our hearts and takes our promises from us.
There is no filling of the void you have left behind. There is no answer to the questions that are left hanging and will remain forever unanswered when your voice became silent. There are only the broken mirrors in us, trying to catch a reflection of your image, and our candles, which we will keep lighting over the years in our trying to echo some of your light that still remains.
“He who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear almost any how.”
Suicide is how we cry aloud: “I cannot bear this existence without a sufficient why.” It is a lament for want of Meaning.
Tragedy is not just when the bad thing happened; it is when it happened but we know the painful truth we carry in our hearts, that it was both unnecessary and avoidable.
When we build our house of meaning on the sands of shifting impermanent promises; the forms of outer acceptance, like identity, like status, like success, like wealth—life tries to show us, in its ungentle way, the nature of our only mistake.
Our Life, through trial and challenge, is trying to lead us, to a remembering, again, of what truly matters in the end.
We are surrounded by people whose hearts are breaking, for being unable to see the love in the lessons of life. They are dying quietly, in between clumsy vulnerable cries for help that look like anger and self-destruction.
What a high price to pay to be reminded of the power we have to reach and to be reached. To witness and to be witnessed on our mutual vulnerability. When the life has been taken, it is too late. There is a finality that locks a mountain of regret that we have to retreat from at times, to face and climb at others, but which we always have to contend with in its enormity of presence, and the shadow it casts over the valley, forever.
When the life has been taken, it is too late—a tragedy.
What a price to pay to be reminded of what matters, what gives meaning to life.
What a toll in heartbreak it took, to be brought this way, again painfully, to the simple understanding of how to love both, with courage and with grace.
For the life that has been taken, it is too late.
For those of us that remain, there is time. There is only time.
Time to grieve, time to blame, time to judge, time to mourn, time to accept.
And in time, time also to relate, to mourn, to forgive, perhaps even to honour and celebrate.
And for us that remain, in the gentle compassion of never knowing what to do or what to say, there is always time to be thankful, for where we derive our meaning. There is always still time, to reach out and to be reachable.
Time then, to see and to be seen, in how we all become stuck, how we lose hope, how we become in such moments, blind to our own light.
There is time.
There is time to choose love. There is time to attach meaning to our trials and our heartbreaks. There is time to reach out to someone who is struggling, and to ignore their bullshit defences, to speak with vulnerability into the hollow that will be left in the world, not just if they were gone, but specifically how they might choose to surrender.
There is time, and it’s later than you think.
Artem, there is no filling of the void you have left behind. There is no answer to the questions that are left hanging and will remain forever unanswered when your voice became silent. There are only the broken mirrors in us, trying to catch a reflection of your image, and our candles, which we will keep lighting over the years in our trying to echo some of your light that still remains.
For the dear child that remains, whose own light will flutter forever in the uncomforting wind of your flight, for the dear child that was broken and afraid in you, and in all of us, may we all find healing, courage and grace.
May we all, find meaning.
WE ALL COME BY THIS WAY There are some stretches of the road, where you find yourself alone, and forsaken, the light, stolen from your lamp, as if it never was, but for the aching of your hearts’ longing, and the way ahead dark, and full of perils. Fear not —we all come by this way. Rocco Jarman