Suicide

There was once this little word blob from a tumblr.com post that someone had made about how they had tried to commit suicide when they were younger but now they can hear their husband reading their four-year-old a bedtime story in funny voices in the other room and that it does, and will get better; let yourself be around to see it.

This has always stuck with me and for some reason really resonated deep. Maybe it is because I have been there and now my life is better or maybe because someone else found their peace with their own life and I can relate to that.

Now I sit around the kitchen table with my own family and think about all the times I felt so low I tried or contemplated suicide. It really can get better but unless you’re there to see it, you will never know just how good it can be.

If you are struggling out there and you need guidance, ask for it. You deserve it and all the good things that can come your way. Please don’t feel alone, there are people out there for you who can help. Never give up.

National Suicide Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

Crickets

Twilight brushes dusk with it subdued glows. The air is warm and moist from an evening shower. Birds flit and tweet. Crickets chirp and the river roars, unwavering. Serene and peaceful, the world prepares itself for sleep, but not yet an eternal slumber.

How many hours is it?

Days, weeks, months?

The sky will come crashing and Mother Earth will awaken. Crushing and bruising, her path will be painful and destructive.

Beyond repair,

beyond hope,

beyond words.

The birds do not know so, they will continue their dance. The crickets do not know so, they will continue to chirp. The river does not know so, it will continue to roar, unwavering.

Happy

I’ve never been this happy, it’s as if I’m in a dream,

Please, somebody, help me, it’s a fervent fever dream.

I’m wrestling with some demons who won’t seem to let me be,

If anyone is listening, I’d expect some sweet relief.                                        

I’m very, very tired; I’ve been up all night long.

I’m fighting off the devil with everything I’ve left to spare,

this fever hasn’t broken and the battles hardly fair.

I’ll take a rest now and give way to weary bones,

I will not see you in the morning but that, I’ve always known.

Creamsicle

Neither good nor bad, there is no imaginable or conceivable way to argue that death would lean one way or another. Death, however, is inevitable. You cannot excuse it, you cannot hide from it, you can not ask it to go away.

You can believe death came in good fortune to those succumbed to unimaginable pain and suffering. You can believe it took them too young or they did not deserve to go like that. You may believe anything you want, but the truth is death is coming. Death will come for you, whether you have asked of it or not. Death will be the shadow that knocks on your door underneath an orange-creamsicle-colored sky and ask for your hand; and you will accept, but only because you cannot say no to death.

Death Anxiety

We all have it. We all subconsciously act on it. But what is it? Merriam-Webster defines thanatophobia as “fear of death”. With this fear of death, “the paralyzing terror produced by the awareness of one’s mortality leads to the denial of death awareness and the repression of death-related thoughts” says the existential psychologists Victor Florian and Mario Mikulincer in 2004 when they observed the phenomenon. 

It may be easy to say “well yeah, I’m scared of death”, but just how much? Most people do not think about the everyday actions for avoiding death that they may do such as; driving slower to avoid an accident, walking on sidewalks, avoiding bridges in case they collapse, or keeping knives pointed away from the body when cooking so as to avoid stabbing accidents.

Death anxiety strikes us all because while we fear death, we do not actively do things to tempt fate so to speak. We subconsciously go out of our own way to avoid peril and stay alive. Death anxiety is a lurker and we all act on it, knowingly or not.

It is always right around the corner.

When I Die

I want no tears shed, though I know that’s hard to do.

When I die, create a celebration with all my friends and family. Food, music, laughter, and love.

When I die, release biodegradable floating lanterns at sundown, a special memory to look back on in the future.

When I die, turn my body to ash and press me into an eternal reef. Let my body help the sea.

When I die, think of me fondly in a small passing moment when you smile just a small one.

When I die, smoke the finest green you’ve ever seen, another new memory, just for me.

When I die, remember that you are loved and I cherished all the time I had here.

When I die, rejoice. Have fun, dance, drink, smoke, yell, holler, jump, chant, and laugh. Do whatever you need to do.

When I die, I know you’ll miss me and that’s okay too.

Mini-deaths

We experience mini-deaths each and every day. Like normal death, it is the cessation of something once thought to be continuous. The death of a relationship, an object, a job, a workshop, etc. We experience death everyday and it is hardly noticed because it is not extraordinary. These deaths are mundane and uninteresting which makes the act of an individual dying that much more significant. It is easy to accept these little deaths because we choose to actively forget the path we were following before and instead, follow the new path that no longer has the dead as a part of it. It is forgotten and we evolve without it. Mini-death is no small matter however, we are re-training our brains to live without that which we thought we could never be without. They help shape us and get us to where we are today, all while subconsciously preparing ourselves for the grand acts; and by that I mean individual deaths. Mini-deaths are just as a much a part of life as regular deaths. Have you experienced a mini-death lately?

The man

There once was a man who knew nothing. He knew not where he was nor where he had been. “How strange” thought the man, “to be nowhere and see nothing.”

The man was not concerned, for though he saw nothing he felt he was content.

Complete and content.

The man sighed.

He may not know anything but he knew he could still think.

“Thinking’s as much as anyone’s got I suppose,” said the man, very aware he was speaking only to himself.

How much time had passed?

The man did not know but he wondered and pondered.

“If I could only figure out where I am”, the man said to himself at last, “then I might know which way to go.”

The man could go up, he could go down.

The man could go left and the man could go right.

There was still nothing.

A white abyss that sprawled endlessly.

He did not understand and he no longer felt content.

He could not remember if he had done something to put himself there.

He couldn’t remember anything in fact.

He tried and tried but not a single memory came to him.

“I can’t even remember my own name!” the man yelled out to nobody.

Frustrated the man sat down and began to cry.

Great heaving sobs for himself and for that which he could not remember.

His sobs echoed around him and purgatory whispered back,

“you are home.”

A professor once said

“This class is not for the light-hearted. Neither is this program, and to deal with the insane amount of shit you are going to see and have to deal with; you’ll need to take care of yours first. Take care of your shit and figure it out. It is the only way you are going to be able to be successful in this industry.”

This really motivated me because I had shit that I was absolutely not dealing with and had no plans to start. But this resonated in me, felt like I was meant to hear it. My shit needed to be taken care of and dealt with. I took the sign as an invitation to turn my research paper into a challenge for myself. Could I write a research paper researching what I had to come to terms with and really understand? Research for what I felt I had no control over and that gripped and strangled me tighter and tighter each and every day?

I could and I did.

“Bipolar Disorder and Death Anxiety”, a research paper, by me.

One tell-all question

I suppose a good place to start is with a question I will never tire of hearing, “Why did you choose funeral service?” My answers have changed with time and I’m sure they will continue to do so. However, my interest in the macabre started at a very young age. Spending much of my time up in Massachusetts, I was always surrounded by nature and spent much of my time outdoors. This resulted in my finding of numerous “treasures”; a baby mink here, a dead frog or bird there. My Grandfather was always very supportive of my curiosities. I once asked if I could set a dead frog I found on fire and he told me to keep it away from the house. Needless to say, I thought my Grandfather was the coolest guy around. He let me do what I will and a slow fascination began for myself about what happens after we die.

It’s easy to believe what your family or community tells you about the death subject; especially when that is what they practice and is what is readily available for information. Luckily for me, while there were few who held firm to their beliefs and ideals, none were forced on me. I grew up with my own ideas and thoughts and eventually settled to where I am today. I am spiritual, but I believe in Mother Nature. I believe in the wind, and the tides, the moon, and the sun. I believe we were created from stardust and we will return to the earth and fertilize new growth as we were meant to. However, I respect and honor those of all religions and beliefs. I find there is beauty in anything and everything worshiped.

I decided to get into this business not only because it is what has always fascinated and intrigued me, but also because of what I can learn and build on in many areas. I have only cracked a few religions on the surface, while most of that knowledge lends to the funeral tie-in, but I hope to learn more. It is a beautiful thing when someone decides to believe in something, and it can be magical when others choose not to discredit or bash those beliefs but instead honor and embrace them. We are all people, regardless of physical or spiritual attributes; we all deserve to be treated as such, and that starts with understanding.