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There was a day when a conversation between me and my father arose, how it did I have already forgotten, but the importance of it was the perspectives we had on the subject. I would say that by the end of it, I was left with an open opinion to it.
We tend to have these deep conversations therefore it wasn’t something out of the ordinary or a life lesson. The conversation started something like this:
“Natalie, what do you think about suicide?”
“Um,” I pondered, “I think it's wrong. We were given this life to live it therefore I don’t believe we should end it.”
“But what if it’s done because the person is agonizing in the hospital? What if the only way to end their pain is to disconnect themselves from the machine that keeps them alive?”
“Well, if that’s the case and they’ve already thought about it over and again then I think it’s okay.”
“Isn’t it the same though?” He paused, “A person who dies by suicide did it because they thought of it over and again and could no longer bear the pain.”
“No, it isn’t the same.” I stated in a defensive tone, “A person who commits suicide has other depressions and reasons, the pain isn't the same physical one.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Both pains are unbearable and your use of the phrase shows you don’t understand it well enough.”
He paused to my confusion. His blue eyes full of knowledge and experience turned back to the window we sat behind, spectating the pouring rain.
“Commit is used for a crime or a mistake. Suicide isn’t a crime and wouldn’t be a mistake because it was self inflicted with the full awareness of its outcome. Some pains are unbearable to the point where that is the last option.”
His eyes glistened with what I was more than certain were oncoming tears.
“We have to learn to try and understand those suicidal thoughts and pains in order to prevent it.”
“Dad,” I muttered, “Did you ever have those thoughts?”
He blinked, leading for the tears to finally slip.
“Yes, I had those thoughts after your mother died, but I sat and thought of it over and again. I had to stay for you. I learned to memorize the suicide prevention number so that I could recite it each time those feelings came crawling back up.”
My vision began to blur as he began to recite the following number over and again.
“1-800-273-8255, 1-800-273-8255, 1-800-.”
I stopped him from repeating it as I hugged him with great force, afraid that if I let go he’d be gone.
I’m certain that if we all took the chance to listen to someone for even a moment, we could prevent something like suicide. Before you even consider it, sit and think of it over and again.
Is it worth it? What will you leave behind? Think of your friends and family, or someone who’s day is brightened by you, maybe you’re the reason they continue to live. Even when you say that no one cares for you and no one feels better because of you, just imagine how your sudden absence will affect others.
How will the convenience store owner feel when his usual customer suddenly stops from showing up? How will the students who sit beside you feel when you’re suddenly gone?
Whether people know you in person or not, your presence will always be missed. Even if all we do is see you in the hall or on the street.
Just think of it, over and again.