Last night, just doing an e-mail check before heading for bed, I took a quick look at Vaporise Barney’s blog site and found a post where he was writing about a justification for suicide. As he had disabled his comments I was not sure if this was just a rant he wanted to get off his chest and didn’t want to discuss it or whether it was, for all intents and purposes, a suicide note.
Whether it was or not might (or might not) become clearer over the next few days. I can only wait and see if he posts anything else. But I went to bed deeply unsettled.
On one level, I have only known the guy as a series of typed words on a computer screen, but it hasn’t prevented me from building a relationship with him and I would be deeply saddened if that was the last I was to ever hear from him.
Knowing that he has a wife and daughters I would also be intensely angry at him too. Pointless really as I don’t know where he lives, what he looks like or how old he is. For that matter he may even be a she and not have children at all – there is no way for me to verify anything. But just like when the hero or heroine dies in a novel, or a film, you feel choked up because you’re human and you respond to the thoughts and feelings of others, even if they are just written down and made up. And when, through blogging, you have interacted with them, you feel an even greater connection.
I have never attempted suicide, but I have been in some very dark places before and certainly thought long and hard about it. Being an atheist I’m not against suicide for karmic or religious reasons, nor do I feel it to be a “cowards way out” – I think it takes an extraordinary amount of bravery for someone to take the step. In fact, I believe it to be the ultimate act of taking control of your destiny.
But it is the most completely selfish act in the universe.
I appreciate the fact that, as Binty mentions on his site in a moving post about the same entry (http://averagetosser.blogspot.com/2006/02/suicide.html), the irony of it is that the person can believe that they are actually being quite selfless: they can truly believe that those left behind will be better off without them.
Maybe they would and maybe they wouldn’t, but that’s not really the point.
I can think of my mother in her last few days, dying of terminal cancer, and I firmly believe that it was better for everyone that she went sooner rather than later. There are times when the quality of life is so poor, with absolutely no chance of improvement, that it is cruel and inhumane to drag the life out for as long as possible.
But where the one who suicides gets it so tragically wrong is that they don’t give those who are close the opportunity to say goodbye.
Whenever someone dies you get caught up in a wave of thoughts and feelings, wondering what you could have done differently to prevent it. And when the person is close to you, you can be haunted for ever more.
Anyone who has had someone really close die suddenly and unexpectedly would give their right arm for one more opportunity to sit down with them, talk to them, say the things that should have been said but never were, try and find a way of resolving in their own head that there really couldn’t have been a different outcome.
I’m not going to say categorically that someone ending their life is wrong, because I can foresee circumstances where I don’t believe it is. But the one who commits suicide, by preventing those who are closest from the opportunity to properly say goodbye, is utterly and completely in the wrong. In my eyes it is unjustifiable and it is the most selfish act in the universe.
It seems that Anti-Barney is alive and well and still posting comments, so I can stop my hyperactive imagination from going into overdrive.