The finality of death is like no other ending.
It is not like the end of a career, or a marriage, or a relationship, because these are all endings that can be replaced or substituted.
They are endings but they are not final in the same sense that death is.
Only someone who has lost a loved one can describe the heartwrenching physical pain that sears through the body as the realisation hits that they won’t be returning.
The fear you won’t remember their smile, their smell, their quirks and individualisms can be overwhelming.
There is so much in life worth living for, worth celebrating. And it’s not just major achievements and milestones. Every birthday is worth throwing a party for, another year of memories to savour.
Every wedding anniversary is a special moment for a couple whose lives as one unit have hopefully grown yet again stronger.
The birth of a child holds so much promise and joy and anticipation.
The big events are definitely worth celebrating too, because so much hard work has gone into passing an exam or landing that dream job, or getting engaged, or setting up your own business. These are successes to be celebrated too.
Life is funny though. It’s not always easy and curveballs come our way every now and again to help us put things in perspective. But life is precious and something to be cherished. It’s not something that should ever be taken for granted.
Why then do people want to end their own lives before it would seem their time on earth is over?
An interview published this week in the Irish Daily Mail with the parents of a 15-year-old girl who ended her own life described the massive void that has been created by her absence. Despite their girl wanting to be a lifesaver herself, having completed a lifesaving course, the online bullying she was subjected to proved too much for the teenager to handle. They’ll always wonder why she didn’t come to them for help.
Although her parents are separated, they planned her funeral together and despite the absolute sudden and unexpected nature of their daughter’s passing they put serious thought into her funeral.
It was their wish that it be kept simple. Despite requests from people to perform a guard of honour they said no. They didn’t want her passing and the way her death was planned and executed to be something to be celebrated. No, they wanted the public, her peers and friends to know that her taking of her own life was not acceptable to them. It is not something they wanted celebrated. It was their hope that from her tragic ending her friends would realise that suicide is not the answer and definitely not something to be glamorised. It only causes utter devastation and leaves more questions unanswered than answered. You could understand it if they wanted to use her funeral as a showcase of all that was positive about their daughter’s life. But that was not their wish. They put great thought into the simple ceremony they chose for their girl. That said her mother wore her beloved daughter’s glittery shoes to her funeral and wears her new wellies every day.
Suicide is an issue that is thankfully getting the focus it requires. People experiencing suicidal thoughts need to know there is always an alternative and always a listening, non-judgemental ear out there offering advice and guidance.
Sudden and tragic deaths tear families and communities apart.
Life is a gift which is precious and worth celebrating. We should celebrate all the good things in our lives every day, and seek help for any struggles we encounter.