29 May 2007

Too Close To Home

I got an email on Tuesday afternoon informing me that a friend of mine had committed suicide on Monday evening. She's been married a year, and was 8 months pregnant and they weren't able to save the baby. I've known her for a few years, but I wouldn't say that we were super-close friends or anything. We were casual friends, the kind that would stop to talk in the hallway at church or at a social gathering to see how the other was doing, but there wasn't any contact beyond that.

I had this interesting admiration/annoyance towards her. She was the most spiritual person I have ever met in my life. I know of nobody who was more dedicated to doing what was right. I've never heard anyone pray like she could. In some ways I was full of admiration, and maybe a bit of jealousy, that she was so much closer to the Lord than I have been able to get. On the other hand, it sometimes annoyed me to listen to her pray in Sacrament meeting, because she was so wordy in her prayers. But, I mark that one off to my not being in the proper mood/mindset to have a serious prayer at those times. Her prayers were beautiful conversations between her and a Father that she was very close to. I think that I was just jealous that I didn't have that same kind of relationship in my prayers.

I last saw her on Sunday, after Sacrament meeting. I saw her get up to walk out and I noticed how very pregnant she looked. I realized that she was about as far along as my sister in-law. I thought, wow, those two kids might be in heaven right now saying, "Hey, my uncle is friends with your parents. Maybe we'll get together sometime in this life." I smiled and thought of how lucky she was to marry such a great guy as she did. He was so patient and loving with her.

If we were just casual friends, why has this dropped on me like a ton of bricks? I found out at about 4:00 and lost all ability to focus on my work for the rest of the day. I almost broke down and cried a few times while in my office. I called a mutual friend while I was driving home and shared a good cry with her (crying while commuting down the 405 is a bad idea).

Today was the funeral. It was sad and spiritually refreshing, all in one. Her husband told the whole story behind it. It wasn't anything we didn't know. She was bi-polar and an absolute perfectionist. She joined the church 9 years ago, had been extremely active in those years, held many great callings, was always out there to help other people, and never would accept the fact that she could be imperfect. She didn't understand that perfect is something you become, not something that you are in this life. As a bi-polar sufferer, she had extreme highs. But with those highs came the abyssal lows. She was at a low on Monday. She couldn't stand not being perfect. Her suicide note said that she didn't want to die. But for some reason, her mind was so clouded that she couldn't get control of herself. She went to the garage, started up her car, and lay in the front seat until she fell asleep.

A lot of people blame the church for demanding too much of people. They lay the blame of suicide at the feet of the leaders. I've thought about this too. Is it really their fault that one of the members took the rules of the church to the extreme and ended up taking their own life? No it's not the fault of the church. It's not the fault of the person who committed suicide either. Fault belongs to no one. That person just had physiological/psychological issues that did not allow them to cope with things that the rest of us cope with very well.

I'm not really sure where I am going with this post. I just wanted to empty the thoughts out of my head to get some closure on this.

Given the fact (or urban myth, I'm not sure) that there is a high suicide rate among gay men, I really hope that I never have to deal with losing any of you to it - especially those of you whom I've gotten to know well. It's a terrible thing for the family and friends that are left behind. We have hope for a brighter future when we can meet them again after this mortal life, but that doesn't make it a painless experience to go through. If you have any problems with suicidal thoughts, please, please seek professional help.


iwonder said...

That's one of the saddest things I've ever heard. I'm so sorry.

Though I believe that I am past that part of my life (hopefully), I can totally identify with what she might have been feeling, with what drove her to make that decision.

It's a horrible thing to feel that suicide is preferable to continuing to live.

You have my prayers.
It does prove that you never know what someone else is feeling or going through. I don't quite know what else to say.

playasinmar said...

You have my deepest sympathy.

Stephen said...

May she rest in peace. You, and her husband, have my sincere condolences.

Kengo Biddles said...

Suicide is a horrible thing, for those that commit it and for those left behind. I can empathize with your friend; I had times where I was nearly as close.

Mental illness plays a big part, and it's not so much the leadership or the church, it's our interpretation that gets us into trouble.

I hope no-one's done the "well she won't go to heaven thing." I think the Lord looks at those that do commit suicide and judges individually, because frankly, many of them are mentally ill. I know I was when I came close.

isakson said...

Max - I wanted to say sorry about your loss but I also wanted to let you know that I'm really impressed with you and your desire to live the gospel. I can honestly say it's helped me today as I've thought about it. I know you're probably going through a hard time (in more ways than one no doubt) but stick with it. You've given me a little more hope today. I know that may sound weird since you barely know me but thanks. Good luck in all your endeavors.