Saturday, August 16, 2014

He Chose Death

I have a hard time understanding why someone would Chose to die. I am in the midst of grieving and mourning the loss of my beloved husband. I am trying to deal with why the sun continues to come up each morning; when the light has gone out of my life. I am trying to find out how I am going to breathe life back into my very existence; when his breathing has stopped for the rest of eternity. I am looking at my future and wondering if I will find a reason to keep on going. What does the future hold for me? What will be my meaning? And can I find it while I feel all this pain? And will I forget him? What he looked like? Smelled like? And yet while I am contemplating all of this, the news has been overtaken with the chosen death of Robin Williams.

My husband would have never, in any of his immense pain, have chosen to die. He wanted to live with me for as long as I lived. I find it so hard to understand how a man can not put his wife and kids first. Many of you know that I grew up in a home without a father. Because my father chose to end his life. (You can read about it here.) So I have walked in the shoes of a child whose father committed suicide. Mental illness is just an excuse. Early stages of Parkinson's disease....give me a break. Think about Muhammad Ali or Michael J. Fox. Think about my Richard. 

I find suicide to be one of the most selfish acts a person can commit. It is senseless and selfish. The only pain that ends is the pain of the person that dies. The pain that death creates will go one forever and forever. It never ends. There is never an answer. And families will suffer until their own death. It is just selfish and thoughtless.

I read a comment made by Robin's daughter, Zelda, While I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there's minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions." I cannot understand it either, Zelda. And I never will.

And Robin Williams had so much to be thankful for. He was a great comedian. He was a great actor. He was the father of 3 young adults whose lives have been forever changed because their father CHOSE death. He had money. Money that could have bought him the best mental health care in the world.  Something many others, who chose to live, cannot afford. Instead he wasted his money on drugs, alcohol, and self-pity. And it pisses me off. I am tired of hearing stories of celebrities, like Robin Williams and Whitney Houston and others, be glorified after their CHOSEN deaths.

You might be right if you say, "But you don't understand mental illness." Maybe. But I DO understand suicide. I understand it in the way that others might not. People need to take responsibility for all of their actions. Take responsibility for what they do for and to their loved ones. Think about your son feeling that "the world will always be a bit grey-er," or your daughter having altered pictures of her father, supposedly taken after his suicide, posted on her Twitter account. These are things that I read that happened in the days following Robin Williams death. Of course he didn't expect that to happen. But it happened. And because he was selfish he caused his family more pain. What we all need to remember is he CHOSE death. I chose life!

This hasn't been written to offend anyone. We all should feel free to think and say what we wish. But in my grief of losing a man who meant the world to me ,through a natural death, I cannot imagine mourning his death if he had caused it.

20 comments:

  1. I surely don't have all the answers, Paula. I feel for Robin Williams' family and have prayed for them this week. I can honestly say I have thought of suicide at times, though I would not take my life, maybe because I'm chicken about it all, but in dealing with some of the things I've gone through, that seemed like a viable option at the time. My daughter in her teens was constantly suicidal, constantly watched except for a time when I thought she was safe and I left her alone to take her brother to a doctor's appointment and she chose at that point to take an overdose of her meds. She was fine afterwards but I realized there was nothing I could do to keep her safe and set decisions made afterwards that she never lived at home again (she was 18 at the time). What saddens me about the whole thing with Robin Williams is his relationship with God. He might have thought what he did would ease his pain and suffering, but if he didn't know Jesus;.........

    but again, I don't know.

    we do the best we can with what we have to work with and for whatever reason, he chose not to

    betty

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    1. I can honestly say that I, too, have thought of suicide at times. But my family has always won out. Because I walked in the shoes of a kid whose father committed suicide I know the pain that is left behind. Foever! I hope your daughter is okay today. And Thank you for responding!

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  2. I think this is a topic that must be fully understood by walking in the shoes of someone with severe depression. Thankfully that has never been me. I am wired for happiness and stubbornness and persistence and hard headed ness. I think you get the picture. I would never take my own life. Not because of the pain it would cause others or because of any religious beliefs, but just because I love living. Even during sad times. But I have never experienced really bad depression.

    I think some things in life are not black or white. Mental illness is one of those things ... And medical treatments for those conditions are not refined or straight forward. In many ways treatment for illness of the brain are in their infancy. We just don't know enough about this important organ.

    I suspect we will never agree on this point. And I recognize this came at a time when you are struggling. Your husband was in his right mind and as a result would not willing choose death. But those who are mentally ill are often at the whim of a diseased brain. It is sad. Very very sad. I think Robin's death just demonstrates very clearly that if you can't fix the mental illness, nothing else matters.

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    1. You are right Elaine. Nothing is black or white. And you are also right that I do not fully understand severe depression. But I do understand being a child of a father who committed suicide and I stick with my feeling that it is an extremely selfish act. I have suffered from mild depressions at times in my life. But nothing that would ever cause me to gift my family with a pain that will last them for the rest their lives. I will agree to disagree. I welcome all your comments on any of my posts. Even the ones that you don't agree with. You are my friend.

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  3. So sorry for my unintentional absence on-line! I sure related - and wept a little remembering my momma while reading "senses" ...
    "telling" is an incredibly written glimpse inside that place no-one wants to enter ...
    but I stand with you, word-for-word on Robin Williams' choice. I don't pretend to understand those who suffer from depression (or PTSD) - but can't ever recall hearing of WWI or WWII vets battling depression. In spite of the pain, they just sucked it up and moved on, one step at a time. Maybe they knew a little more about Real Love than lots of folks nowadays?

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    1. Thank you Myra for all of your kindness. I will always feel that suicide is a choice. But I don't expect anyone in the world to agree with me. Just my own personal feelings. There needs to be an open dialogue though with those on BOTH sides of the battle.

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  4. Paula - I can't walk in your shoes, and you can't walk in Robin's or mine. I couldn't disagree with you more about your statement that he chose death.

    May we leave it at that and continue to ask for God's grace for both the living, the deceased, and all who live with physical and mental illnesses.

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    1. It is plenty okay to disagree with me. I knew when I put this out there that there would be few who would agree with me. But it won't change my mind in thinking it is the ultimate selfish act. One that his family will have to live through forever and ever. I'll be praying right along with you

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  5. I know you are struggling to understand this. As soon as I found out that Robin Williams was in the so called "early stages", which means he may have had the disease for a decade or more, I knew why he ended up doing what he did.
    I will try to answer a little more to help you understand. My sister, who has Parkinson's will probably not out live me, and I am almost 10 years older at 72. She fights depression because that is what Parkinson's does. It will add to any other depression you have. Also, Parkinson's, the earlier you have it the sooner or quicker you go to the maximum with it. That is why doctors would like to find a cure for it, it's unrelentingly horrible. It take your mind away and your self control. The self control is reduced by the medicines!

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    1. My husband walked a little further than the "early stages" of Parkinson's. And he did it with strength and grace. And knowing him as well as I did, I am positive he never once thought of suicide. He knew what I had lived through. Thanks for your honesty! We'll agree to disagree Zippi!

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  6. I can't begin to understand what it must be like to be you, having lost your father to suicide. But, as you know, I have bipolar disorder. I have been suicidal. It has been the reason for every psych hospitalization I've had. You don't "choose" it. It takes you. Your brain is so mangled from the disease that you CAN'T think about your family, hell, you can't think about much else other than the constant, endless whispers in your head that you would be better off dead. We can just agree to disagree on this one.

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    1. I am so sorry for what you have gone through Lisa. And I am okay with just agreeing to disagree. I cannot know what you have gone through anymore than those who haven't had a loved one commit suicide can know what I have been through. Sometimes though I think if people are willing to discuss BOTH sides it just might help one person out there. Love you Lisa!!

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    2. Thank you Lisa I needed that from you my friend. Just to know that YOU understand

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    3. Lisa, I have not lived your life but I have lived around enough of it to know that every word you say is true. Brain disease is the most misunderstood disease. Choice is not a word that a person with mental illness can use, you are "taken," so true and so sad... And this is true for all diseases that are not caused by life style decisions. Maybe in another 100 years our understanding as a human race will mature enough to allow less polerization on the subject of mental illness. After all, not so long ago we thought of some physical diseases as being inhabited by the devil. Thank you for sharing your story as it helps with this growth into understanding. Yes, the pain of loved ones is enormous and it seems inflicted intentionally, but it isn't .

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    4. Elaine, I am not saying that I understand mental illness. I am just saying there are lots and lots and lots of people out there with mental illness who don't commit suicide. I feel for Robin Williams family. There were other options for him. I haven't lived his life either. And I don't know what went into his decision to end it all. I won't even pretend that I know that part of it. BUT I do know how my life has been for the past 56 years years because my dad committed suicide. I am more than willing to listen to both sides. But I will forever and always think my dad was very selfish in his decision. As I do think that about Robin Williams. But I can only voice my opinion I am not trying at all to change anyone to my way of thinking.

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  7. My sister's going into dementia, manufactured memories, and she is 62. This is a horrid disease. She was diagnosed just short of her fiftieth birthday. She'd had it for 8 years before that. I agree with you, it is hell.

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    1. It is a horrible disease. Richard also had dementia. He only lived with the diagnosis for about 8 years but it devastated his mind and his body. I am glad I got to spend those 8 years with him.

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  8. Hi Paula - I can quite understand people not wanting to go, but I can also understand people wanting to go ... depression is a very sad, and poorly understood disease ... let's hope we can give some understanding to everyone, whichever side of the fence they decide to go. It's not easy ... and it's certainly not easy to understand ... all the best - Hilary

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    1. Yes depression is a very sad disease. And it is possible that it is poorly understood. And so is suicide. I wish that in some small way I can help sway someone from committing suicide by telling the other side of the story. The side that belongs to those who are left behind.

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