“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 Handing out Balloons at Suicide Walkwisdom, 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 orBallons at Suicide Walkganised 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.



Comments (4)

  1. Melinda

    My ex-husband’s first wife, and mother of his four children, committed suicide six years ago. As I experienced horrific emotional, psychological and verbal abuse at his hands during our relatively short marriage, I know what she must have gone through also. Abusers don’t suddenly become abusers in their middle years – they’ve been honing their skills since childhood. I hold my ex totally responsible for the pain that drove his first wife to the point of suicide. A bullet would have been much more merciful. Our world is littered with destroyed lives because of the cruelty of fellow human beings.

    1. admin (Post author)


      I’m well aware of abusive people. This included a “stepmother from hell.”She herself committed suicide, by gunshot in her bed one night, knowing full well her 3 year old granddaughter would rush into her bed, as she always did, in the morning! (Thankfully my niece was sick that day and her mother prevented it!) Such is the egocentric, self centered nature of these people. I also have a “boss from hell,” (to be another topic on site later), the past 20 years, who usually creates misery wherever he goes. (The sad thing is deep down inside he is a really nice person.) We seem to meet such people over and over. As the Tibetan Buddhists say, they are our ‘greatest teachers’ and we MUST seek them out! (as hard as it sounds!:) Such people rarely change and tend to get worse over time. For myself I’ve found the best strategy is either to ‘get out’ if one can, otherwise change oneself. The latter path has been difficult but has had it’s rewards.

      Saw this nice appropriate quote the other day: “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
      ― L.R. Knost

      1. Melinda

        What a beautiful quote and one which I’ve done my best to implement in my children’s lives. I’m appalled by what your stepmother did. It is simply unfathomable and it seems as though she took her abusive tactics right to her final act of violence – without the slightest care for the lifelong trauma it would cause. Suicide can certainly be a control tactic. Each story is unique in its tragedy.

        We do seem to meet these kinds of people over and over…until, I believe, we learn our spiritual lesson well. And then it’s onto the next lesson. 🙂

        1. Shawn Shawn

          In one of my rare attempts to do some work on my site, (Still very much work in progress!:) I came across our discussion and now a year later am wondering how goes it with you? All well I hope.
          What inspired me to revisit site was seeing a site by Tim Lawrence, which has similar aims but is far more structured and profound. Take a look if you want. Be interested in your impression of it.

          Best Wishes

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