Thursday, April 11, 2019

dialing back suicidal solemnities

Grieve. Heal. Weep. Closure. Caring. Death. Love.

OK, have we got those out of the way? -- the safe-sex touchstones around which to weave serious/solemn millennial workshops and 'caring.'

There is nothing frivolous in these efforts or their searing implications. Somehow, those riven in life's maw need to put one foot in front of the other and maybe it all helps ... and helps and helps and helps and yet, somehow, nothing really helps much. Maybe helping is the best anyone's got. OK, so help.

This misasmic thinking arose the other night while I watched what seemed to be a 40-something woman on PBS' NewsHour reflect on her father -- her "rock" -- and his suicide. The whole tone of the public broadcast segment was ... well ... serious: Old people think about and commit suicide and somehow this was news to the news hour.

It's hard from my to my doddering vantage point not to point out to these au courant arbiters of the news, "Get a life!"

No one on TV took the trouble to turn the question around: Why WOULDN'T an elderly person consider suicide? It's not a big deal. Your life is yours to do with as you will. Let's dial back the solemnity. It may be that elderly people consider their own musings important or vast or whatever, but I have a hunch that the only people looking for balm and surcease are those in the focus groups who try to cope with the aftermath.

On the NewsHour TV, the forty-something woman teared up. She wanted to help others ... I think that was the drift. Suicide is serious ... I mean, I think it is. But why should it be? Isn't it a possibility among a number of other possibilities? Why NOT consider it? The church and the focus groups might not approve but they're in business. A business. Most of those considering suicide do not consider themselves to be business. Aren't they just reviewing the dwindling possibilities?

On the TV, the woman's father, if I am not mistaken, left a suicide note whose core was approximately, "sorry for the inconvenience." Yes. It's always a mess for someone. Isn't that a legacy everyone needs to own up to. In our wake ... the mess, whether by natural or 'un'-natural causes?

The monk in “Spring, Summer, Autumn

and Spring” did what he could to avoid

the future’s mess and even he

was unsuccessful.

The TV segment signed off with the presenter suggesting that anyone contemplating suicide contact one hot-line or another. This is serious stuff, the presenter's tone suggested. Solemn stuff. Help us fix you ... sort of like the old days when homosexuality was viewed as and aberration that could be somehow reversed or fixed or set right.

Suicide is possible. Just a possibility, for crying out loud. Why shouldn't any sane (or even a little insane) person consider it. There's suicide and then, in old-age homes across the country, there is the possibility that there will be something half-decent for lunch.

How about wishing that those considering suicide ... how about, "I wish you what you wish." and stop dithering about something that belongs to someone else. If you truly love someone, why would anyone decline to give a beloved what is already clearly hers or his?

The elderly, like the South Pole, watch as bit by bit of their mass calves away and returns to water that shows signs of drowning Miami Beach, the fun part, the convivial part, the energetic part. For the elderly, there's not much left and little or no energy to exercise what is left. And then there's the pain and pills and morticians known as doctors or healers or grievers.

Let's serious up and get less serious.

1 comment:

  1. Consider this:

    Let’s say suicide is acceptable due to illness or greatly diminished capacity due to old age.

    If one has a family then one has an obligation not to do a sneaky suicide but an openly discussed suicide.

    I like the Zen story in which an old master says due to his advanced age, he could no longer be productive so He was going to starve himself to death. To this one of his senior disciples said, OK, but to wait until the spring so no as to inconvenience their supporters. The master agreed. He then passed away in early June. There was a very nice funeral service.