Light

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Being suicidal is not an event. It is a mindset. It’s a way of thinking, and it is a continual experience. But it is also preventable, or rather treatable. It takes having someone or something to hold on to. It takes knowing that there is an end point. An end to pain, suffering, and loss.

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Why do some people hold on, while others let go? Having known people who have decided to take their own life, there is one thing I know for sure. You can never tell. You can never tell who will always hold on, and who will eventually let go. Their smile is still bright, and their laughter still carries you away. Because pain can be hid. It can be smothered, and it can be contained, until one day, when it can’t.

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Under modern U.S. law suicide is legal. Living is a choice, and you have the right to no longer make that choice.

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Before I learned to swim I once drowned. I remember knowing I was going to die. I fought it. I screamed, but I was underwater so no one heard. I kicked, I struggled, but I kept drowning. Now, years later, I know how to swim, and the fact that I was drowning seems so foolish. If I had been calm, if I had opened my arms and trusted the process, I would have found myself floating to the top. But at that time I had no knowledge of a way out. I had no way of knowing that there was still hope. I knew I had lost. And I accepted it. But somebody saved me. Someone was looking out for me that day in the water and they dived in and saved me. It wasn’t my father, or my mother, or even a friend. Just a stranger who was looking out for me.

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At times when I want to let go I always call out one particular name. A name I know will never fail me. I call out to him, screaming, asking him to prove himself. That he is out there. That he cares. He feels like a stranger but I ask him to speak to me, to say something. To tell me everything is going to be okay. And every time, without fail. I don’t hear a thing. It is silent. Utterly and completely quiet. But before despair settles in I feel this calm. Like a wave rushing over me I feel his peace. More than words in my ear he reminds me of times past. Times when he brought me through my trouble, and the mess I’d created for myself. And though all my troubles don’t immediately become okay, he turns a mountain of sorrow into a molehill. Instead of utter darkness I see hope, I see light. 

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