The Watering Hole: Wednesday, September 10, 2014: To be, or not to be…

To be, or not to be– that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns- puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
(Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1)

I believe that if we live long enough, sooner or later we will come face to face with Hamlet’s question, “To be, or not to be” a choice, a precipice, which, once stepped off, cannot be undone. Some do choose to cross that line, to go to that “undiscover’d country”. We’re left behind, unwilling or unable to follow; we are suicide survivors. We have survived the death of someone close to us – a death we cannot totally understand, because is seems so senseless. Yet it was a choice, perhaps the ultimate leap of faith in the acceptance of a loving God.

We cry out in silent anguish. If only….if only….if only. A thousand ‘if onlys’ for every star in the heavens.

Today is the World Suicide Prevention Day. It is a day where we, the survivors of suicide, have been invited to light a candle at 8:00 p.m. local time, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.

I will be lighting a candle for my late brother:

DAVE

“Your brother died today.”
The sky is blue.
The sun is shining.

“Your brother died today.”
The lie is through.
The runner’s hiding.

“Your brother died today.”
I’m crying too.
The gunner’s riding.

“Your brother died today.”
My brother too.
My brother too.

(this poem was written the day I got the call.)

And, from a different perspective:

Through doors now closed to mortal thought
Th’ eternal flame flicker’d low.
What hellish deeds thy hands hath wrought
And shadows in thy soul doth grow.

What anguish rent thy tortured breast,
Through the darkened halls of the kingdom,
Past chambers where the dying rest,
And portals of forgotten home?

From whence came the desperation
That drove thee on towards madness,
To end at last in consecration;
One final hope of gladness?

The course that cannot be undone:
Rest in peace, my little one.

As for me:

I have traveled the other side of the looking-glass,
Down the rabbit’s hole,
Past the March-hare’s madness,
And drank from the Devil’s bowl.

Below the depths of Wonderland,
The lonely darkness calls,
And beckons my soul to dwell therein,
In labyrinthical halls.

I long to return to the darkness,
The Never-Never Land of night;
To leave behind the looking-glass,
Forever banished from its sight.

But the chess game moves ever onward,
And I, a lowly pawn,
Have slain the Black Knight with a double-edged sword,
And condemned myself to the dawn.

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