I wanted to write a blog post about suicide in a small northern community. My desire was to cover how a tragic, unexpected and essentially needless death can tear a close-knit community’s guts out. I was going to narrate one of my personal experiences as a way to move you, the reader, to pray. I hoped, in some way, to use the written word to transport you into a remote village, so you could feel the pain, the despair, the heart piercing grief of a suicide…
…but I can’t.
Every time I try to write something, it doesn’t work. My mind is filled with memories, too many memories, sharp, painful memories, and it hurts. Even now I blink furiously and wipe my eyes as the tears flood and spill over.
How do I write about the first, a young man lying on the plywood floor of a simple one-room cabin. The rope had been cut but the noose remained around his neck. A bunk bed stood boldly next to him with the other half of the rope hanging from the corner post, a nauseating testimony to what it had done. I know it was just furniture and rope, but it felt…weird somehow; the bed appeared grossly callous and without remorse. The man looked strangely peaceful, as if sleeping. This was my initiation into village suicide, and this one didn’t really hurt since I had lived there only a few months and had never met the now-dead man. Well, it didn’t hurt me; it was bitterly painful for everyone else in that small town.
And how do I write about the others that came and went over the years, too many to count, mostly young men, some older, a few were women, one, no, two were grandmothers. Some were friends; some not. Some were the result of numerous attempts, finally completed; some just hit you right out of the blue with no warning whatsoever. Some were…clean, and some were messy. One was very messy. I won’t go into detail, but I will say there are ways of taking one’s life that multiplies the misery for those who find the body and must clean up the aftermath; searing mental images that never leave.
Regardless of the method, suicide in a small town is devastating for everyone. The immediate family obviously suffers most but there is a ripple effect that surges through every resident and continues on into the neighboring communities of the region, and beyond. I have lived away from the village for a year and a half now and I feel the pain of…1, 2, 3…4? Atleast 4 suicides that have occurred in and and around “my village” in the past 6 weeks. Two shootings, a hanging and the fourth…I’m not sure how he did it. Quite frankly, sometimes you want to know, sometimes you don’t.
Well, that’s my post. A few minutes of reading can not give you any idea of what I’m really wanting to say, but that’s how it goes. If this has motivated you pray, the time has been well spent.