It’s a shame


When I see a funeral cortege holding up all the traffic I do not complain. I pause. I pray. I connect. Without knowing who, why, when or what. I pause. I allow. I connect in a tiny loving way. I share a loss and allow. Without knowing.

(they committed suicide you know)

When I see their funeral cortege holding up all the traffic …

(any different?)

Yesterday I saw a word never usually part of “proper dying”. That word was shame. A small word. Also beginning with the letter “s”. It affected me. Yesterday surviving suicide was sprinkled across the posts I read. It affected me. It seems you and I are callous bastards.

When we come into contact with death and grief – when we “know” – when we name “committed suicide” … then we behave differently. We (lovingly) accuse. We (silently) whisper. We (invisibly) withdraw. We (whisper ritual and) do not allow. We (put on our “what a shame” masks and) do not connect.

We do not pause. We do not share. Instead we shame.

Surviving suicide is not just surviving the death of a loved one. It is also surviving the shame we heap on the survivors. Those suffering the death of a loved one. Those grieving as we all grieve a departed loved one. Riding that ceaseless roller-coaster of every emotion in pain and loss and love. The hurt of being (ever so lovingly) pushed away. The pain of being the survivor who never saved the dying. Of being the one who lived and loved – and never saw. The one who should have known. Who should have seen.

Because we would (if we really loved someone). Oh yes, we tell ourselves. We would have seen and done something. Shame on them for failing a loved one. Shame on the “committed suicide” – no one in their right mind would do that. There must have been a sign. We would have known (if we loved them). And now they have taken their own life. Isn’t that murder in God’s eyes? Life is sacred. I can’t be seen to support “committing suicide” – not me – not my God. Murder is murder – one of the ten. It’s a shame – but what can I do.

When I see a funeral cortege holding up all the traffic I do not complain. I pause. I pray. I connect. Without knowing who, why, when or what. I pause. I allow. I connect in a tiny loving way. I share a loss and allow. Without knowing.

Why does knowing make any difference?

It’s a shame – but what can I do.

Love. Just love without “conditions” – without “judging” – just Love.

(unless we really are the callous bastards)

NB: just for the sake of clarity: that means me and you.

+ – – + – – + – – + – – +

Inspired by the living. Inspired by the dying. Inspired by loving …

Let’s Talk About Suicide
The Shame of Suicide That Needs to Change…
The importance of the first-person narrative in telling the story of suicide
Dedicated to the Memory of Dr. Phil Lineberger: Obituary
The gift my brother gave me
thoughts
The Façade

(and many more)

Too many. Alone.

+ – – + – – + – – + – – +

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14 thoughts on “It’s a shame

  1. “Lovingly accuse”.. …excellent way to say it. Thank you for the pings. I have been introduced to fellow sufferers. Your post is a lesson in sensitivity and compassion .I hope the world will read and learn from your love and concern. Well done my brother. Arms stretching across the waters with a super size hug. ~ Dale, Brandon’s mom

    • Dale, Brandon’s mom – but much more just a very lovely “Dale” for me: thank you.

      Where ever I look and read, touch and connect I see Love. Where ever I roam and am guided to connect – I find so many “alone” – so many disconnected from this thing we call hold up as “sanctuary”. That place we say God lives. Where He would – and does – if we simply saw Him for what HE IS.

      A supersized hug back at you. You are very special and you change me for the better.

      ((hugs))

  2. very good – reminds of how Martin Luther’s first run in with the Catholic church was when he insisted on burying a boy who had committed suicide within the church cemetery which was forbidden to anyone who had taken their own life.

  3. Wow. Amen. Shaming people just reveals our ignorance of love. It has no place in love. Love considers others people’s pain, while understanding that we don’t really understand what the other is going through. So love does not judge; love just loves and makes sure the other knows they’re not alone.
    Great post. bro! Blessings.

  4. One important thing Dale taught me was never using the verb “committed” when referring to someone who has died by suicide. It’s a different thing entirely. Commit is used when perpetrating a planned crime. Suicide is the result of depression, which is a mental illness. We need to stop stigmatizing and blaming victims and their families; it’s nothing short of cruel. You are right – it is our reaction that is a shame, not the act itself. Those who have had a loved one die by suicide, or someone who has survived suicide, need love and compassion. As Christians, we need to be aware and cast our nets wide with grace.

    Thanks, Paul, for this post.

    • Susan, yes yes and yes again. Let’s all listen to those who really know, rather than those who choose not to really know. Thank you for a wonderful addition..

  5. Very powerful post, I survived and attempt and lived with it. When I was at my worst with depression. Ptsd from abuse for many years. I felt every word you wrote, it has been God that got me through and where I am today and able to write what I do. Congrats on brilliant work

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