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Suicide: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep....A Moment With Bill Reflection
The Cold Hard Facts
There are approximately 35,000 suicides in the United States each year. Worldwide the number approaches one million. Still, in a world with 7.2 billion people, a fairly insignificant number.
Tell that to the families who are left behind.
For every suicide that is successful there are eleven that are not.
Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for males; it is the fifteenth leading cause for women.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
The highest rate of suicide belongs to the Native Americans of the United States, followed closely by non-Hispanic whites.
The three leading methods of suicide are firearms, suffocation and poisoning.
In the time it took you to read this far, someone took their life in the U.S.
Another family left behind.
A Short, Personal Reflection
No, I have not had someone I love commit suicide. I have, however, known five people over the span of my life who have killed themselves. I can still see their faces in my mind’s eye. I can still hear their laughter. I can still remember their families and fondly recall shared moments, and I vividly remember the feeling of emptiness when I heard what they had done.
We shared time on this Earth together. They touched me. I touched them. They were human beings and as such deserve compassion, and hopefully they will be remembered fondly for the lives they lived rather than for the way they died.
This, then, is my loving tribute to suicide victims and their families.
Call this number if you need help
Suicide prevention hotline is waiting to help
From the Darkness to the Light
“Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake.
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take;
And this I ask for Jesus' sake. Amen.”
I know one damn thing, kids aren’t born wanting to die. Take that to the bank and deposit it with your bonds and stocks and Aunt Martha’s diamond necklace; that’s a fact, Jack, a truth for the Ages. We are born with silly-ass grins, laughing and pooping and hugging and loving, and there is no way that bundle of hope and giddiness is giving even a brief thought to shooting a bullet into his/her brain pan.
We crawl, we climb, we run and we fall, the delicate dance of childhood, and when the day is done we are tucked in by our loving parents and we say the prayer now I lay me down to sleep with our eyes shut tight and our little hands in prayer position, and all is right with our worlds.
The summer suns kiss our bodies, and the gentle snowflakes tantalize our tongues, and stretching before us is a wonderland of opportunities and dreams and unlimited possibilities, to dream, perchance, and make those dreams come true….that’s what it is like after the short trip down the birth canal and the majestic moment when another life is born, another living being steps onto the world’s stage and reaches for the brass ring of life and all it entails.
And the years go by and the summer sun begins to lose its warmth, and the snowflakes savage with their cold, and that brilliant light we once saw has dimmed.
And we go to bed not so in awe but still clinging to hope, for with hope there is….a reason to keep moving forward.
Now I lay me down to sleep…..
Clouds Move in Slowly
There are days you simply cannot get warm. Where is that sun? Where are those days of life-affirming warmth? Where did they go? And you wrap yourself in Polar Fleece, wool blankets, false gods of alcohol or drugs or manic sex, anything to recall that feeling of golden slumber and safety, but no matter what you do those days come, those life-sapping days come, when you can’t remember happy. You can’t remember that state of being where the smiles flowed freely, and you look in the mirror and all you see is darkness, darkness, be my pillow, and you long for a smile, long for a laugh, but no matter how long you look in that mirror you cannot find it…..where did it go….why did it go…..
Your friends, your family, they have no clue. You are the award-winning actor upon the stage of life, playing your part, the good son, the good daughter, the loving husband, work hard, play hard, keep up the illusion of “all is well in my world” all the while you are being devoured from the inside out by the cannibalistic creatures of self-loathing and self-hate.
No worries, mate, it ain’t that bad, hang on tight, grab your ass, weather the storm and keep strapping on some balls, there’s nothing wrong with you that a little more booze or drugs or eating or just plain growing up won’t cure. Remember the old war song….pack up your troubles in an old bag and smile, smile and smile, so you smile your ass off and you play the role of a lifetime and Lord how your audience loves you, take a bow, fine job, fine job, just bobbin’ for apples in the game of life and feeling those slippery bastards always slip away.
And at the end of the day you lay me down to sleep and try to remember when the last day was when you were truly happy…..when was that….when could that have been…..
A Storm Is A’risin
No stopping those clouds now; dark, rolling, churning, blanketed over the sun and blotting out all hopes of light, a bad moon rising behind that obsidian darkness. The actor has become the character and the character, the actor, and the final scene is about to begin.
A thousand-pound gorilla is sitting on your chest, your heart straining to beat, to beat, but the beat is growing fainter and the will to live slowly fading. The voices keep speaking to you but only you can hear them….you’re not good…what’s the point….why go on….nobody gives a damn about you….and you scream for help….SOMEBODY HEAR ME…but ears do not hear and eyes do not see that which should be so obvious, for that little child, the one who giggled and played with abandon so many years ago, that little child has come to the end of the proverbial rope.
And now I lay me down to sleep. Embrace it, become one with it, it will not harm you, it will not judge you, it will not give you anything other than the comfort you so desperately need.
So close your eyes, and breathe deep the gathering gloom, for you are going home, finding peace, and finally, finally, muting those voices once and for all.
Reach out to Someone
I wish I had all the answers, but I am only a writer. I can write about suicide but I cannot end it. I can write about loneliness and abject emptiness but I am powerless to present a solution. Where is the cure? What magical pill can I offer to those who find no meaning in life? How can I peer inside of their brains and hearts and prevent this from happening once again?
I am only a writer….but I am also a human being…. As you all are. Reach out today! Stretch your hands across the chasm of emptiness and show someone you care. You see, I believe in kindness. I believe in the power of compassion. I believe that making a difference in this world begins with me, and if, by some miraculous convergence of factors I do reach out at exactly the right time to exactly the right person, perhaps I can prevent the needless taking of one life. Perhaps I can share some of the sunlight in my life and overcome the darkness in another.
Just something to think about as you lay yourselves down to sleep tonight.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Making a difference one person at a time.”