We’re remembering a departed noder on E2, and that’s fine. We’re posting nodes to potential suicides, and I’m sure that is helpful and healthy. Not being bipolar or even a clinical depressive myself, I’m not quite sure how I would react to having someone imploring me not to be so G.D. F’n selfish and inconsiderate as to even contemplate or threaten to take my very own life. But that’s neither here nor there. What I really want to say is this   :

Over and above E2, I am a member of an actual community where suicide happens. Often. The irreverent among us will sometimes comment that, “Some are sicker than others”; the more compassionate point out that “many of us have problems other than our common addiction”; the stoic or pragmatic simply say, “She (or he) chose to leave us”.

What many non-suicides often overlook, what the members of my community seem to instinctively know, perhaps because we share our souls with each other so openly, is that the last final, desperate act appears to be the only possible solution. Yes, we tell them that it is the permanent solution to a temporary problem. Yes, we work with them and try to help them change their outlook on life. It’s great when they do turn their lives around. It doesn’t always happen.

I went to a memorial service for a friend not too long ago, someone who I’ve sat around the tables with for six, maybe seven years. Yvette worked very hard at attaining emotional stability. She had arrested the physical aspect of her addiction, was deeply spiritual, but emotional sobriety always eluded her. She died four days after jumping off the balcony of her fifth story apartment.

Women generally take a softer, easier way out. Yvette was in the medical field and certainly had access to pharmaceutical means. We know that this final, successful attempt was the fourth or fifth in a series. Apparently, this time she wanted to be absolutely certain she would not fail.

Years ago I read an article written by someone who had been suicidal. The line that sticks in my memory went something like   :   “When you really want to end your life it doesn’t take courage to perform the act; the real courage is in not doing so.”

And, finally, I am remembering Charles. He was the branch manager of a small outpost in Gabon, working for the same company as my husband, Jean-Alfred. When it was time for Charles and his family to go on annual leave, he sent his wife and three daughters back to France a week ahead of his own departure. Then he killed himself. He chose a method common in Equatorial Africa   :   the ingestion of 100 or more malaria tablets, then a frantic plunge into the jungle to die, finally, somewhere in the bush.

I was furious. I asked Jean-Alfred, “What was wrong with him? Didn’t he care about his family, his friends?”

”When anyone is in that much pain,” Jean-Alfred said sadly, “nothing else can possibly matter.”

May God rest their souls and give them peace.