Monday, August 1, 2011

the easy way out?

last week my cousin committed suicide...i didn't know him well.. he was on my dad's side of the family and if you are a repeat reader then you know i am not as close to his side of the family and struggle with some feelings in regards to that topic... in fact the last time i spoke to him he didn't know who i was... it was after our grandfather's funeral and he was standing alone in the corner.. he felt bad that he knew my brother (who doesn't know my brother) but didn't know me.. he asked "do you know anyone else here?" which was funny because in truth i didn't and neither did we... we knew my aunts and uncles.. and a few cousins..we made snide comments about how people use funerals for family reunions and it was sad that many of the people there would not see each other till the next one (turned out to be my dad's).. this was in direct reference to my brother's speech (mini eulogy) during our grandfather's funeral.. you see my brother had gotten close to the family as he accompanied our dad while he cared for first his mother then his father before their deaths.. which is where the sense of abandonment and anger came from latter.. but i digress.. this is about our cousin...not us..
so my mom called to tell me last week and there was shock.. no i didn't know him well but i have always understood him to be a solid man..one who fought for our country..i called my uncle to give condolences and by chance spoke to a grief counselor who opened my eyes to this whole subject.. i needed help wrapping my mind around it all.. i felt so bad for the pain that his family must be feeling.. as well as the confusion and subsequent anger and guilt associated with being a surviving family member...i tossed and turned one night because i just keep thinking about what kind of inner pain and turmoil he was feeling in order to have taken this step.. i mean.. we all know what it's like to want to throw up our hands or not get out of bed.. so imagine that pain multiplied..
this weekend i also found out that another person, in the same city as my cousin, took his life as well.. this man barricaded himself in his house and called the police.. the swat team was sent out to no avail... the man shot himself.. at the end of the news story people left comments.. most were to the effect of "suicide is selfish" or "he just wanted attention" or "he took the easy way out"...hurtful terrible comments... it turns out this man fought for our country as well..the comments made no sense to me.. didn't the people saying this hurtful things have any amount of empathy to consider the victim and what a painful decision this must have been?
so in thinking about this and talking to the counselor that i ran into i learned that there are so many myths out there and general feelings about suicide..

Suicide Myth

People who are suicidal definitely want to die.

Suicide Fact

The vast majority of people who are suicidal do not want to die. They are in pain, and they want to stop the pain.


Suicide Myth

People who are suicidal do not seek help.

Suicide Fact

Many people who are suicidal reach out for help.


Suicide Myth

People who attempt suicide are weak.

Suicide Fact

They are in pain. Many people who are very "strong" die by suicide. (www.suicide.org)



so are we seriously going to judge people based on a last desperate action? are we going to consider them weak? my cousin and the other man who died in the same week fought for our freedom..they both saw and experienced things we will never understand... they more than likely did not come to this decision lightly and sought help in some way.. they did not want to die.. they just wanted the pain to stop.. and not being able to understand it ourselves does not give us the right to give them any less respect..and families should not have to hide in shame.. and guilt.. simply because society condemns them as well.. maybe instead of judging we should be trying to better understand why..we are busy finding cures for cancer..but this is just as serious an epidemic..

just some thoughts in respect and memory of Travis Berumen

4 comments:

  1. Forry for your loss Ana. I love this post, though!

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  2. Oops, I meant to say "sorry"!

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  3. Brother Travis we are going to miss you, but I am glad to have met you buddy. My prayers and thoughts go out to your family.

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  4. Ana,
    I wanted to share this article about a study of veterans and the toll service takes on our soldiers.
    http://www.dailyrx.com/news-article/veterans-risk-11361.html
    I think that you touch on the main factor common here, the pain is very real. I pray for you and both our dads.

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