Friday, May 21, 2010

Three Endings and One Beginning

*** 4 life stories of people I have known: 3 committed suicide, 1 reclaimed their life.

From Denny: It's difficult to stand by and watch when a few people around us are on self-destruct. Sometimes, you can take time and engage as it helps them get through one more day. Sometimes, no amount of talk or company will help because what they need is prayer, the prayer of love and light to shine into their confusion and darkness to make them strong again. The following are only four stories of many I have known who have lived difficult lives for themselves and those around them. I could fill a book.

Since there is so much stress and pressure in America and around the globe this year because of the economic downturn, I thought it was time to write a poem discussing the social issue of suicide. Suicide affects us all. Three of these friends were conservative Republicans who refused to learn to be more emotionally flexible when life did not go their way. The fourth is no longer a Republican.

Why do I bring up the political preference? A few years ago, there was a study about who had the most nightmares and experienced the most fear in life. The Republicans scored high for fear and nightmares, personal rigidity and divorce over the Democrats. Right now a number of our Republican friends are recently divorced. It happened as soon as Bush left office, like a contagion. Once the Republicans were out of power, these Republicans felt powerless and trashed their relationships.

There is a better way to live...

Photo by Adan Garcia @ flickr

Three Endings and One Beginning

I ask into the quiet air:
Are we a society of yearning?

When I’m sitting still in contemplation
Thinking of others who are gone
From this earth by their own hand
I wonder how things could have been.

I ask into the stirring air:
Are we a society of depression?

We have beautiful homes, air to breathe,
Holidays to enjoy, people to know,
Awesome food to share with friends,
Yet still we revel in the darkness

Are we really here in this abundant life
Just to pay the bills, show off to the neighbors,
Buy expensive electronic toys and games,
Scrambling to get rich quick and forever?

When we ignore the simple things in life
When we sideline people trying to friend us
When we take for granted our partners and family
When we push away all that supports us - can we be happy?

I ask into the turbulent air:
Are we a society of suicide?

This year three friends killed themselves.
One was a builder undiagnosed for depression
Who clearly cycled in and out of excited highs
And lowest anti-social lows yet no one dared
Confront him to help because he employed them.
John increased his life insurance a few months before
Then he took his gun and shot into his heart
Dead in his truck on a construction site where
Some horrified Mexican painter found him.
John left his wife and children deep in debt
Never considering the legacy he left them.

Photo by nattu @ flickr

Another friend was a waitress who started
Her life far too early at age fifteen married.
Her story was perhaps the saddest for sure.
She married her first love, had three girls
Then they divorced later only to begin anew
Five years later when he was found with cancer.

She still loved him so much she mortgaged
Her tiny house to pay for his medical bills
The insurance companies denied.
When she found he was terminal and
The foreclosure papers came in the mail
She started drinking heavily and got into her car.

They were about to move in together again
Like life was once before, so simple and rich.
She drove to her husband’s yard angry.
Angry at life, angry at her rash choices,
Angry he was now terminal, angry.

She called out to him, he opened the door
Only to find her quickly pulling the trigger
Killing herself in the car - while the motor hummed.
She did not want to live when he was soon to die.
Judy forgot all about her three teenage daughters
Who are now orphaned twice for her sister to adopt.
Judy never considered the legacy she left her daughters.

Just last week we heard about yet one more.
A severe alcoholic on self-destruct
Chasing easy wealth and chasing women.
He grew up abused by a harsh father
Only to now abuse everyone around him.
He had a loyal young wife and two children
Who were patient and loving, always there
Supporting him at every turn, no matter what.

He ignored them for his own selfish world.
He abandoned them emotionally every moment.
He loved no one but only himself exclusively.
After years of abuse and neglect his wife left.
Natalie is a beautiful person inside and out
Who deserved a second chance at real love.

She separated, began to date again and
While on a date dining out, Rene showed up
Angry and drunk. He had just lost his job.
He had lost his wife and children, his home.
He lunged at the other man, stabbing him.
Rene left quickly, went home where the police
Arrested him. Yet the next day he got out on bond.
He foolishly called Natalie to pick up where he left off
Fighting with her over the phone like it was the other night.
The man was stuck in life, determined to destroy all in his path.

Rene yelled and screamed about what he demanded,
Never listening to anyone other than his own words.
Then the screaming stopped and he grew too quiet.
Natalie was about to speak; it was a long pause, then
She heard the gun shot over the phone; Rene killed himself.
Rene never considered what legacy he left to his children.

We wonder together where such darkness begins
We know how it ends, no matter how many try to stop it.
Darkness comes from a closed harsh heart self-absorbed.
Darkness cannot feed, heal, bring understanding or give life.
Open the door, let in the light and darkness is diminished.
Open the door and loneliness and confusion evaporate.

It’s a bumpy road back to wholeness, walking out of the dark.
Another friend had finally reached the end of his welcome
With everyone around him. He bullied and condemned all
Who would not enable him. His father had taught him to hate women.
Since a teenager he abused drugs and alcohol – and people – twenty years.

His father was the source of his anger and confusion, a crushing manipulator.
When I met the man I realized he was insane, yet he had convinced all
Around him that everyone else was at fault. He harangued his wife
For so many years she finally had a nervous breakdown. He placed
Her on far too heavy medications and told everyone she was insane.
Their sons were confused, angry and resentful. Angry at the mother
They thought her weak not stopping the father’s condemnations.
With years of programming they believed all women were useless.

Then Flynt blew into my life like a storm, trying to dominate
Odious, hateful, high on five tabs of Ecstasy and drunk too.
Everyone tolerated him, his lousy attitude, he was top dog.
He was in my home bullying friends at a celebration.
Then he crossed the line with me by insulting my husband.

No one said a drunk was smart and it was then I decided
Flynt was going to get straight and sober. To this day he tells
The tale of when I physically bounced him out of my house,
Declaring, “You are not going to be an alcoholic, not on my watch!”

Of course, Flynt retaliated with convincing all his friends I was horrible.
They all talked bad about me; I ignored it. People who don’t respect
The truth and don’t have the courage to stand up for it are not friends.
People who will not stand up to alcoholics are not their friends;
They are their enablers, their weak accomplices. Flynt needed
Someone stronger willed than him, someone strong enough
To put her foot in his back and kick hard enough to get him
Across the finish line. Flynt’s new wife turned out to be a mini-me,
Her strong convictions made me smile I was so proud of her.
She would not tolerate his beatings, berating or hating her as a woman.
She left him twice in the first two years of marriage.

For Flynt that was finally it; he realized he did not want to be alone.
His wife and I and a few others kept praying love and light into him
To make him the right kind of strong, eroding the darkness in him.
Flynt has now been straight and sober for four years.
He quit talking harsh and hard-hearted about women and others.

It’s taking time, a lot of time and effort, yet he is doing well in his marriage.
He has finally faced the dark motives of his father and seen the truth.
As he walked away, spending less and less time with his toxic father
Flynt has grow stronger and more loving. He finally freed himself
And the rest of us. Flynt still doesn’t like me but he sure respects me,
Quick to remind all that he didn’t stay an alcoholic “on my watch.”

Photo by claudiogennari @ flickr

Are we a society that care too much about ourselves,
Refusing to risk anything for what matters more?

Real love for others is about risking your ego to be trounced and
Misunderstood and condemned by others who do not love.
Do it anyway. Maybe you will get lucky and someone will learn to live again.

Denny Lyon
Copyright 5 Feb 2010
All Rights Reserved

* * * Check out the Complete Poem List for more selections.

In the news: Designer Alexander McQueen found dead, Flamboyant British fashion icon an apparent suicide at age 40

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