Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Some sobering thoughts

An acquaintance of mine took her own life a couple of days ago, extremely unexpectedly. I didn't know her well---but now there is the wish that I had known her better. That I had paid more attention. That I had been less caught up in my own day-to-day life and more aware. It surprised all who knew her, so she must have kept her troubles very much to herself. I don't know if paying closer attention would have helped, and now I'll never know. Some thoughts jump out at me as I contemplate it:
  • You only see what people allow you to see. You really don't know what is going on behind the front that people show you.
  • You can't assume all is well with everyone. The happiest faces can hide the most aching hearts. We should treat everyone gently, as if they are going through challenges---because the odds are high that they are. None of us can hang up a sign that says "Nothing the matter here."
  • Nothing in life is so important that it should keep us from tuning in to the people around us.
  • A little compassion can go a long way.
  • We are all interconnected, and even if you feel no one will be affected by your actions, you have a greater impact on the people around you than you know.
I think it has hit me especially hard at this time when I'm just coming out of my own depression. I can understand her, and I am grateful I never got to the point she clearly must have reached. If I ever do reach that point, I am grateful I have a network of supportive people available to me. It has left me a little bit awed that someone so young could do something so big and irrevocable. I felt the same way when our foster son took his life. When you think about it, it takes a kind of courage to make that big of a decision and launch yourself into the virtually unknown. Or a depth of desperation that I hope I never face.

There is nothing I can do about it now, but I can certainly try to be more aware, more present, more tuned in, and more compassionate in future. And maybe just a little more understanding of myself as well.

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