My critics will say that the title of this post can apply to just about any of my posts. In fact, I was just informed via Facebook from a relative (through marriage, thank God) that I am definitely not funny. Well good, then that will make this post easier to write.
There is a song in the movie MASH called “Suicide is Painless.” It’s not. It may be painless for the suicider or suicidee (I am not sure of the proper term to use), but it is certainly not painless for those that they leave behind. If I wanted to make this post all about suicide song titles (and I don’t), I would follow with R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.”
I just lost someone to suicide who I consider a sister-in-law since she was best friends with my wife. As an only child myself (I guess that explains a lot for readers), I was only too eager to claim another sister through marriage. She became godmother to two of my children and a friend who could be trusted with their lives. She was family to me. In kind, she and her husband opened their familial arms and welcomed me and my family into theirs.
My wife and I bought dinner for ten from Boston Market and went over to the house Friday night for a Gentile version of sitting shiva. For shiva authenticity, I actually wore a torn garment, although considering my wardrobe, that would be hard not to do. We reminisced, looked at pictures, cried a little, and even laughed. But I know that each family member there Friday, and everyone at the funeral service today, will have asked themselves, “Was there something that I could have done to prevent this?” I know I have, over and over again.
My friend was in pain for ten years. She didn’t want the pain anymore. I get it. If all her friends and family could have taken a part of her pain away, we all would have volunteered willingly to do so. We loved her. But ultimately, we couldn’t take her physical pain away. All we could do was accept it and support her, which we all did to varying degrees. I think the “varying degrees” part is one factor that helped push her over the edge.
I am comforted with memories of her. They are all good. When she had to go out into public recently, she put on a brave face and did her best to appear pain-free. She succeeded. She never let me see her pain. She just didn’t show up when it was too painful. We understood and accepted that, although we were very sad for her.
Life gets harder as we age. Our sack of sorrows that we carry doesn’t lighten as we traverse the path of life. We constantly add to it as friends and family pass on. We do our best to balance that sack of sorrows we carry with a bag full of happiness over our other shoulder. I try and add just a tiny speck of happiness to yours through humorous posts, but once again I am reminded that I am not funny. Just within the last year, I do recall my friend telling me how hard she laughed at some of my blog posts she read while traveling by car. I figured the pain meds she was taking may have made my posts appear more humorous than they were, but I was happy that she added some chuckles to her bag of happiness thanks to the combination of my words & her meds. Sometimes the sack of sorrows we carry far outweighs the bag of happiness, and makes our journey through life seem daunting. When your sack of sorrows gets too heavy, please look to family and friends to help carry your burden. Don’t consider any other way out. Please.
In memory of my dear friend, may she rest in peace.