I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what I can do to make the world a better place. I’ve been thinking about what my place is, in this new life of mine. I didn’t choose where I am – did I? I mean, I chose Tony. I chose to move to San Diego with him, and to marry him, and to try to help him. I chose his needs over my own more often than was strictly healthy for me.
I didn’t choose his death. I didn’t choose to have my life explode like that. There are days I feel like I haven’t chosen anything in a long time, that right after Tony died I wanted and needed others to choose for me. I remember the night he died, being so confused and alone and sad that when my father asked me if I wanted him to come I had a hard time saying yes, even though I wanted him there. I felt in that moment that all choices had been taken from me.
Then I chose to start blogging. That was my choice. I chose to write not only about my own experiences and feelings, but to write about mental illness and depression and suicide in a more general way.
Now I am making another choice. I am just one human being – the Dalai Lama said that. I, too, am just one human being in a world of billions. One human being, who feels a call to do something to change things, to make them better for at least some of those billions.
Starting soon, I am going to be introducing a new feature here. I’m going to be talking about some other people, people who are walking through the same valley of grief that I am, people who did not choose to be there, but who are there. I wrote before that statistics are people, not just numbers. I will continue to talk about the numbers, but the people matter more. The people are what make the numbers mean something.
We are all, each of us, one human being on this planet. One human being in this universe. We can feel so alone, so utterly alone, amidst the billions. When we lose somebody we can feel pressure to move through our grief at a particular speed; to move on with our lives on somebody else’s timetable. When we lose someone we love to suicide, we can feel that we can’t – or shouldn’t – talk about it. That it’s somehow shameful. Others may lower their voices to a whisper when they speak of it, and when they do, we may feel that we need to whisper too.
There will be no whispering here. I am not whispering about Tony, and I am not going to whisper about anything, not anymore. I loved Tony. I am not ashamed of him, I am not ashamed of how or why he died. I am just one human being, but I have a voice, and I’m prepared to use it.