If you read nothing else of this blog entry, I urge you to visit this website and take note of the warning signs of suicide. These could help you save the life of someone you care about someday. (HelpGuide.org: Suicide Prevention)
When I started this blog, I intended to use it to share all the scary, creepy, weird things that catch my attention in a passionate, nerdy and/or lighthearted way. I didn't make a conscious decision to avoid being more serious then, but I did the day that I found out about the Sandy Hook tragedy. I decided I did not feel able to comment about it in any helpful or contemplative way. In a way I still don't, but that's not exactly the reason I'm writing this entry now.
Death is all around us, every single day. You don't need me to tell you that, it's in all the newscasts, the papers, all over the web. New stories every day about people who have passed away, been murdered, committed suicide. But depending on which corners of the media you inhabit, some days it feels as if death has piled up around us more than usual. Today is one of those days for me (I'm writing this on Saturday the 12th).
Not all of it occurred today, and some of it came from books I was reading or movies I watched-- even ones that were not being read or watched for this blog. At any other time it might have gone unnoticed, but today it was a common thread running from one day to another. I noticed it more because my awareness was heightened.
None of this involved people close to me, which I'm grateful for. But things like this have a tendency to become personal anyway, because we remember what it was like the times it did hit closer to home. We remember what it was like to be the person directly affected and grieving for the loss of a loved one. Over the great span of time that humans have existed there have been many changes, but a few common experiences remain the same: we are born, we live and care for others, grieve for their inevitable loss, and then succumb ourselves. It's one of the things I appreciate most about the topic, that no matter the method, how untimely it may be, how tragic, the great paradox of death and grieving is that it is timeless. We share it with people around us now as well as we do those from a hundred, a thousand years ago, back to our first ancestors. I find that comforting, not morbid.
Over the past few weeks I've teared up over lives lost to murder and suicide, beloved pets who have suddenly passed, and yes, even fictional characters. But at the same time I've watched as people connect and comfort each other over the same incidents. We all have our special causes that we like to support and champion, to raise awareness of and spread information about. One of mine is about mental illness, especially depression and suicide, and there has been a lot of talk about those things in the wake of these losses. I don't feel this is irreverent to the individuals who have passed, I think it demonstrates how much they meant to us or those around us, and how much we wish we had taken the time to talk about them, take action, before it led to the worst possible outcome. Some of these conversations may lead to saving somebody else's life. Isn't that worth it?
So I am sad, and sorry, and hurting for those who hurt. I'm thankful and inspired by the other who reach out, comfort, connect, rescue and open themselves up in public places. Don't ever stop being the best kind of human beings out there.
On Internet Hatred, Internet-Hate Part 2, Internet-Hate Part 3 via Amanda Palmer's Blog
The Power of the Dog - Cabal (2003-2013) via Neil Gaiman's Journal
RIP, Aaron Swartz via Boing Boing
Depression Lies via Wil Wheaton dot NET
Suicide Prevention via HelpGuide.org
Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you need someone to talk to
To Write Love on Her Arms to help support help for those with depression, addiction, suicidal thoughts.