I’ve also been moved by the suicide of L’Wren Scott, fashion designer and partner of Mick Jagger, who though struggling with her business, also seemed to have so much to live for. Mick Jagger’s tribute to her on his Facebook page particularly moved me.
A wonderful marketer, Tad Hargrave, wrote soulfully in this last week on Facebook about his experience of unsuccessfully trying to stop a man from jumping to his death in Edmonton, Canada. He not only went to the funeral for that man and comforted the family, he wrote a song about the experience.
None of these situations directly affected my life, but everyone of these losses made me pause and feel deep sadness about all the ways we cannot prevent tragedy from occurring in our lives despite our best efforts.
According the World Health Organization, every year, over 800,000 people commit suicide, about a suicide every 40 seconds. The reasons people choose to end their life are complex and sometimes difficult to comprehend. As we get older, most of us know at least one person in our lives that chose to take their own life.
When I was growing up, I remember being friends with a girl named Gail Hartwig. We went to the same church and graduated from confirmation together back in 1977. I was surprised to find this photo of us online. Gail is second from the left in the front row. I can still remember that time of life so long ago now.
Over time, our lives grew apart. I went off to college and then worked at IBM. My mother called me one day and told me that Gail had taken her life because she was in too much pain. It still seems so sad to me how one day we can be leading relatively carefree lives as children and a few years later some of us are so overwhelmed with life’s burdens that we can’t see any other way forward than to end our life.
I don’t really have an explanation to offer for the mysterious tragic losses in our lives, both big and small.
As I was watching a DVR recording of Ellen this afternoon, I found myself comforted by the Long Island medium, who was doing readings on the show. Whether or not you believe that anyone has the ability to communicate with the dead, it was compelling to me to see how many people benefited from being told to let go of some kind of survivor’s guilt.
The older I get, and the more losses that I have experienced, the more I feel that there is a world of spirit around us that whispers in our hearts constantly trying to remind us love never dies, despite appearances to the contrary. Yet, while we are alive, let us remember to share our love as best we can while we can.
What strategies have helped you to cope with loss in the past or present?