- List All

  • Web   The Point


+ Theology/Religion + Culture + Marriage & Family + Politics + Academia + Human Rights
Christianity Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Religion Blogs - Blog Top Sites
Link With Us - Web Directory

« Thanks for All the Fish | Main | Prison Rape a Game in Kansas Governor’s Mansion »

January 28, 2008

The ones left behind

The Washington Post has an interesting juxtaposition of articles in the Style section this morning. You can't see it in the online version, but in the print version, the title "In a Way, He Took Our Lives, Too" is at the top of the page in bold type, and stretches over two different articles about suicide, making it look like it applies to both articles.

I'm guessing that wasn't intentional. Because while one writer -- the writer of the article to which that title actually belongs -- mourns the way that her chronically depressed father chose to end his life, the other writer says of her dead grandfather, "I hope he knows that although I still grieve, it is not for the way he left us." It seems that the latter writer, Anne Valente, understands and accepts her grandfather's suicide because he was desperate to end his suffering from cancer.

Still, I'd argue that the title is appropriate to both articles. For no matter the circumstances, no matter how hard the survivors try not to let it "cloud [their] memory," there's no escaping the devastation suicide causes.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The ones left behind:



Here in Oregon if you're terminally ill you can have a physician assist you with spreading the devastation. And the major metropolitan newspaper will even print glowing articles about your "courage" and "strength of will" in making this choice.

I've personally known two suicide victims (and their wives), and casually knew a third. Within my own family a relative killed himself after returning, despondent, from the Spanish-American War (which is why I have the causes of death of many in my genealogy; they were trying to prove insanity was not a hereditary cause of death so the widow and her children could get benefits). And my son spent time in a psych unit after threatening suicide; he still says things like "If such-and-such doesn't happen, I'll just kill myself," but no one including his counselors is sure if this is a viable threat or simply manipulative.

Suicide notes try to justify the act by showing how the one individual's suffering is far worse than the impact of their death on all their relationships. We have often made my son stop to think after asking him how some of his non-family relationships - the bus drivers, his dermatologist, casual acquaintances - would react.

We've also spoken about this with a longtime friend who is a police chaplain. He's been pulled into many situations where he had to counsel both the family and the police and other emergency workers.

It seems to me that suicide, wrapped though it is in deep emotional trauma and sometimes in mental illness, is ultimately a very selfish act. But then, it joins a long list of very selfish acts that I and other sinners thoughtlessly commit on a daily basis, justifying them on the basis of our own personal traumas.

It's far from the others-centered life that Jesus calls us to live - with His help in overcoming our own suffering, just as in the Garden He got help from His Father in overcoming His own.

The comments to this entry are closed.