I’ve seen a lot of people sharing a suicide note today. Politely and respectfully I must disagree with that.
I’m sure people are sharing with the best of intentions. But it still goes against the sensible principles when someone kills themselves. We don’t know the full facts or the full reasons behind why someone decided to end a young life. We shouldn’t necessarily see a suicide note as fact, no matter how much we respect that person.
Suicide notes don’t always tell the truth. Suicide notes can lie, as people who have written them and survived will tell you. Suicide notes are not always a reliable way of understanding the person who wrote them, given that they’re often written at a time when those people are contemplating something extraordinary, desolate and irrational.
(I’ve written one. It was a pack of lies. It was wrong. I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As wrong as I could be. As wrong as anyone can ever be. Luckily I am here to tell you this. I wince to think of how I might have been seen – how those close to me might have been unfairly seen.)
Beyond that, I can’t agree with anyone who might lionise this person’s course of action, since that runs the risk of legitimising it as a way of getting someone’s message across, or – even if we really don’t mean to – glorifying the act itself. There is no glory. That isn’t to say there’s shame, either. But. This is not the way to get yourself heard. There are a million better ways to communicate.
None of this is to diminish the value of the person’s life. But there is no value in death, I think. No virtue in dying. Not early. Not to present that as someone’s only option, because it is not. And that really needs to be said every time there is talk of suicide. No stigma either. But never depicting it as somehow inevitable. It isn’t.
Sad that they died. Sadness for a life gone. Sad for what could have been. Not using the death, that terrible final step, for any purpose other than to stop others taking that same path.
I’ve read today about the “legacy” of this young life snuffed out. It might seem brutal, but there is no legacy in suicide. It is a poisonous legacy of pain. It is hurt passed on to others. It is no legacy to have.
To leave a legacy, live long. Live and live and keep living. Never give up. Never give up. Never, never never give up. Each breath brings more legacy into the world. Everything you do, even when you fail, is worth it.