A friend of mine took his life this week.
He was in his mid-thirties. No one really realized that he was in that place.
Very few people that I've talked to about this seem to share my belief that it was his life to take, if he so chose.
Look, I think suicide is selfish, sure. But we all do selfish things every day, don't we? We order pizza instead of opening a can of generic beans and a can of corn. We pay extra for a car with air conditioning. We get higher thread count sheets because, dammit, it feels good. My obsession with better beverages (coffee, beer, and scotch) is almost legendary. We are selfish beings. That's not inhuman. In fact, it's the very essence of living a human life. And part of one's life is one's death.
We all have a debt to pay. No one escapes. How and when you pay it is ultimately your decision.
If I can't die peaceably in my bed at a very advanced age with a recently-finished book at my bedside, then I hope to die falling toward my vanquished foe. But I will ultimately make decisions about the manner and the timing of my death.
Don't be too quick to judge those who gave it all up. It was theirs first. As long as they don't endanger others with their actions, and don't shirk real responsibilities, then I'm okay with it, I guess, on a personal level.
Professionally, of course, I will do my duty to attempt to stop suicide when I can. That's the job.
My friend was single and had no kids. We remember his life this week. I'm sorry I didn't know that he was in such need. I would certainly have tried to help him.
But I'll respect his decision. I won't grieve that. I'll grieve that he got in the well that he felt he couldn't climb out of.