I went away for a week. I tried to find myself in the woods. I thought it would be the right prescription to help me fight a depression that I haven’t been able to shake the majority of my life. So many occasions in my past I felt the world would be better suited if I just, were only to disappear. I sat on the shoreline of Lake Superior for three days, only myself and the water and the animals around me. I could not imagine a more beautiful setting than the serene nature that surrounded me. I basically made camp, had my meals, wrote in my journal and tried to imagine what lay ahead of me. For now, my only assignment was to enjoy the forest and listen to the activity. I could hear rustling in the brush throughout the night. In the evening I built a fire and watched the stars come to life. It was truly spectacular, just me and midnight and a galaxy far above my eyes.
I woke to the sound of birds every morning, making song that I could not identify but I knew a friend who could. I only wished I had spent more time learning those songs, and now being able to identify the birds. I could find them better in the dense trees than I once could. I saw many butterflies, including a share of monarch, and I recalled the picture of a friend with a certain butterfly had landed on her shoulder while she was traveling internationally. I wondered what it might mean if one were to fly up to me and perhaps alight on my hand or my lawn chair. I did have one land very close in a tree, and then flitted off to a world well beyond my own.
I somehow find myself in this state of mind far too quickly in any given moment of my life. I went up north to do some soul-searching and now being on the other end of it, I am quite delighted with how the week really did go. It was a solid independent time, where my choices I made were my own, and I could have just stayed around camp for six days but instead I was constantly in motion. I’m writing this tonight because that motion has stopped. I am back in the city and all the routine has returned with a sudden jolt of reality.
The truth is the ideas that swim in my head will seemingly always stay. I remember one time years ago, waking to the reality that I hadn’t even lived half of my life and yet I wasn’t happy. I thought to myself, my God this is going to take forever. And it has, here I am now well past the ascent but there are still decades ahead, and I’m not willing to imagine that all of that ahead of me will be ok. I’m actually pretty scared most of the time. Every night I go to bed processing in my brain what would be the easiest ‘accident’ to give me a break. My main motive would be the lake. No doubt in my mind if reaching the coldest depths in a most alarming speed, I would be far too submerged to make it back before my body just let go. I sat by the lake this week and every hour thought about that very outcome. And yet here I am.
Suicide is not an easy topic to discuss. The moment we do we are exposed. There is a fear that people will not look at us the same way again. When I was a child my mother taught me the story of cry wolf, that every time you used a moment to get someone’s attention, the more they returned to nothing the less meaning they would feel in yet another return. I’ve cried wolf on many occasions to those I feel closest to. Even the person I was supposed to feel closest to never took me seriously, and so here I am and she has her own quest in trying to ‘fulfill’ her life. A life that I somehow stunted over three decades. I rambled beyond the beginning of this account on suicide so that alone tells me there is a lot to be discussed I suppose. But sometimes, I grow tired of the discussion, and want only the outcome. But what would it do, it would hurt everyone around me and I know that only too well.
When it happens a lot of people would immediately account for the trouble I always carried around with me. The words would be like, well sadly, not a huge surprise – he wasn’t the happiest soul around – too bad for the kids. Oh yeah, there is that part, the kids. When one chooses to take their own life they are able to get past that final huge moment of reflection of the loss they will cause their loved ones. They take the leap, pull the cord, drink the wine, whatever the case may be, they choose to bury forward, and then, no one will ever know afterward, only speculation will remain in the mind of all of those left behind. I can’t do it, so often I want to and wish I could, but I just cannot. I worked too hard all my life to convince others to not do what I have always imagined I might one day, and then when push comes to shove, I’m unable to pull it off. Some might call that outcome to be cowardice. By society’s standard, isn’t that rather sick?
I have my place, just waits my arrival. A quiet slip and fall and then I will have that envelopment – my body sheltered inside its own dream. I was there recently, and somehow I managed to come back, and now tonight, I’m wishing I had stayed there. Forever. A week doesn’t really matter.
© Scott F Savage 6/2021