“We don’t choose Death over Life, we choose Death over Pain.”
From a poem by a suicide survivor
The beautiful spring weather did little to hide the sadness that pervaded, as friends and family of suicide victims gathered. to find mutual support, consolation and some way forward. The event began with a beautiful poetry reading by a lady for her lost brother (and to which this page heading is attributed). People had placed messages in balloons. At the end of a short beachfront walk and after a moment of silence, the balloons were released into the bright sky, in a symbolic gesture to the victims of love and acknowledgement, and perhaps some ‘letting go’ for the survivors.
Not having gone through such trauma I was at a loss for words or wisdom, and could only try to understand, observe and listen. My boy Peter, being Down Syndrome, had more empathy than I, and on his own initiative was soon giving hugs to complete strangers!
The walk was organised by the “South African Survivors of Suicide” A group of brave and dedicated people who are providing a most worthy and much needed service.
I personally knew three suicide victims. My stepmother and two of my friends. As I did not have strong emotional attachments to them I was was spared the agonising emotional trauma experienced by those who have lost those close to them in this way.
“We don’t choose Death over Life, we choose Death over Pain.” This telling quote contains hope for a way forward. The fact that a symptom is recognised (pain), means the potential for prevention and cure exists. This and organisations such as “South African Depression and Anxiety Group” and affiliates such as “Survivors of Suicide” is light at the end of the tunnel. Therapies aimed at suicide prevention, treatment of depression and other psychological issues are improving, and through media such as the internet public awareness and sources of help are becoming much more accessible. One of the treatments, Cognitive Therapy, has shown steady improvement and acceptance and holds promise of a drug free treatment of suicide and depression.