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The act of taking one's own life

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In memory of a personal friend

  • May 7, 2012
When money dictates between choosing life or death, it’s the beginning of a sad ending. Thoughts of money become evil. That’s hell on earth. And when people, especially intelligent people couldn’t help and deal with thoughts of failure, death becomes a real choice. Depression sets in and life becomes unbearable. Dying seems like a sensible relief to the then living.

This is a miserable weekend for me. I found out a childhood friend of mine had died. I was at first surprised and asked if it was a car accident or cancer. Many people in the world die unexpectedly due to these 2 reasons. I got the shock of my life when I was told it’s SUICIDE! AND, that was some 1.5 years ago!!! It just didn’t sink in at first. Of all the people I know, it never occurred to me he’d be the one. He had so much going for him since we were teenagers. I knew him at 11. I even admired him for his intelligent, good looks and sports achievement. Not to mention he’s a friendly and real decent chap! We were in the same school from 11-13 and then again 17-19. We parted ways when I went to university in Canada while he to the U.S. Later, he migrated to the U.S. and had jobs in California in the IT industry. Now, if you had asked me for a success story, his would have been one I’d have quoted before I found out his death. Not that many guys have so much going for him. His eldest daughter just entered one of the top 5 universities in the U.S. while his son is around 15 and by the look of it, just as brilliant. On his facebook account, he looked happy.
Why did it take me so long to find out? Well, I wasn’t active on Facebook in 2007-2011 since it was banned in China and I was living there at that time. We emailed one another occasionally and few years ago he told me to call him when I visit the U.S. but since I haven’t been visiting the last 3 years, we haven’t been in close contact. I was surprised that he didn’t reply to my mail the last 2 Christmas as he usually did. Figuring he was probably busy or out of town, I didn’t take to heart. So the story goes. The last greeting I had for him on Facebook was this March. Unbeknownst to me then, I left a message for him about 2 weeks before he took his own life!

This is not a writeup about our friendship or what truly happened. It is rather a reflection of my own interpretation of the situation. As I only found out last Thursday evening, I’m living the significance of the news currently and when words began to pour into my mind endlessly, it is when I know I’ve to share it with the world. It’s been awhile since I wrote on Lunch.com and unfortunately, it is a sad occasion I’m currently experiencing and writing about. It is however, a real and significant experience that readers of this article ought to be conscious of.
Thoughts of suicide may have hit many people during their lives and some were successful in executing that thought. Why? The Reason is often the question the living ask, be it to someone you know personally or not. Before this, I had the experience of knowing people who had taken their lives. None of them I personally know. It’s either a singer, actor or friend of friend or my cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s twin. Most were horror thoughts but still mere passing thoughts. They were not thoughts that affected my sleep. In this particular case, I was affected. I still sleep but I don’t sleep well. The shock begins to sink in and it’s not a mere telling oneself not to think about it since the other person has passed on. Grief and sadness are real experiences and even if I want to control it, I can't. That’s what makes us all humans. Happiness and sadness are two sides of a coin.

RIP, my friend. My main concern is how his family would have go on living. Despite how dire the situation would have seemed, I still don’t believe one should die because of lack of money or debt matters. That is the work of the devil. Granted, it’s always more complicated than it seems and depression is usually part of the mix. Death doesn’t solve the problem in the whole scheme of things. Even if money problems were solved as a result of it, the living goes on feeling sadness, anger and guilt. He had unknowingly bestowed that onto his wife, parents and children. That is more hurtful than being together bankrupt! At least that’s what I would think. Even if my friend had thought that the insurance policy would keep his family in comfort at his sacrifice, I’m sure it’s not what his family would wish for or choose to have. So, for anyone reading this, even if you don’t entertain the thought of suicide or had never, please remember this very important message and just if one fine day you should decide that life is not worth living anymore, you’re not an island. There are at least 60 others living souls who would have been affected by your decision (according to a report I read quite recently). I do believe we underestimate our own influence on others, me inclusive. To leave a “legacy” or emotional burden as such to your family and those who have loved you is unforgivable. And unknowing to the dead, his/her death has a tendency to increase the likelihood that his circle of friends would harbor such thoughts in the event that he/she encounters hardship, difficulties or depression. That’s also in the research I read. Thus, we are more interconnected than we could have ever imagined and it has nothing to do with technology per se.
Yes, we will move on and some of us will eventually forget. But, we will always carry the burden of that death when it was ended on such a note. My tears will dry eventually but my heart will always go out to my friend’s family, especially his two teenage children. They have lost their father forever and ever and I personally with them will carry the guilt for the rest of the lives! This is a very unfortunate and sad story…

P.S. Most people didn’t support the Occupy Wall Street movement on this site. Even though I did support the idea knowing the inner workings of Wall Street, I was not totally engaged in it. This event changes many things. And, it makes me hate politicians who decide to sit on the sideline and not seeking out those who have destroyed lives and jobs of the innocent people on the streets. No one who had made tens or even hundreds of millions by exposing financial institutions to exorbitant risks, exploiting the financial and banking system globally and still profited from their actions had been held accountable. Meanwhile, the indirect consequences of it is high unemployment (making the streets less safe and possibly robberies that kill innocents), depression (as a result of the feeling of failure and left to die by the society & ultimately suicides) and wars eventually (be it currency wars or real). Those who had profited and exploited the derivative products ought to have been held accountable financially if not put in jail!!! If I were you, I’d boycott all investments that do not deal with physical goods or do not provide jobs! By that I mean all kinds of speculations (currencies, stocks, bonds, funds, indices and swaps). It’s not that these instruments or investments were evil to begin with, it is that those who engage in them are too greedy (to the extent of becoming evil; even if unconscious of it) and no longer have a soul when it comes to money. Global warming doesn’t kill as swiftly and as widespread!!!
In the grand scheme of things, suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes in the U.S. The Safety National Council rates it 6th. Hence, in our lifetime, we are likely to have met many people whom we know who have had harbor the thought of dying by killing himself/herself. I know of another university friend of mine who have had those thoughts due to stress from his (top) job but I’m thankful that he seek help before it’s too late!!!
True, it is a personal choice. Those who took that path should be conscious of its effects on family and circle of friends. We all have problems or even illnesses in life. The choice should be LIVE and NOT die!!! I remembered the movie What Dreams May Come and it depicted hell as in a place where we cannot get out of our miseries even IF we were to die!!! That’s permanent despair and misery without an escape! Horror!!! So, death (esp. to the religious) is not an ending (esp. not of miseries), remember that! 
In memory of a personal friend In memory of a personal friend

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May 09, 2012
I'm sorry to read about your friend. Unfortunately, there are so many people who feel that the only way to get peace is to end their life. Years ago, I felt that it was a selfish thing to do, especially when leaving a family behind, but have since realized (because of my own experience with depression) that one is not meaning to be selfish when they end their life - bad situations and depression can get an awful hold on people and can easily confuse one so bad they feel suicide is the only answer. This is a nice write up and I think it's wonderful that you shared all of this.
May 10, 2012
Yes, you're absolutely right. I don't think of him as being selfish although the indirect consequences on the living is. It is easy to decide for others what is right or wrong until one has experienced depression and despair. I just feel that it was very unfortunate and that he gave up before people who can help him found out about his problems too late. That's a waste of talent not just to people who knew and love him but to the society at large. It's a case of bad things happen to good people. He doesn't deserve to die. Still, it is a choice and path he took. Hard when one doesn't have a chance to say the last goodbye and find no closure...
May 10, 2012
Will you consider writing an article on depression and how you managed to save yourself from destruction? I know it will be difficult but it may help people who are undergoing the same experience!
May 10, 2012
I agree with you Sherrie - it is so hard to figure out and understand what goes through someone's mind when they're in despair and it's so hard for the friends and family left behind; and you brought up a good point about closure also--it has to be so difficult if not impossible to be at peace and have closure when this happens. As far as the article - I think I could do that! I will start working on it - maybe it can help others even a little bit..thank you for asking me about it and I will let you know when I post it. I think also that writing about it would help me also! Thanks Sharrie!!
May 10, 2012
You are welcome, Brenda! Now that I think more about it, I feel that there is an invisible hand guiding me to the discovery of the news. It's as if he's trying to let me know he's no longer among us. And, tonight, I saw a program on tv about heart transplant. That I feel may be a sign telling me that he didn't die in vain. That, perhaps, even with his death, he was able to give others a second chance! I don't have all the facts but I feel that's the sign that he wishes closure...
May 10, 2012
That could very well be the case Sharrie - and closure in that way is a wonderful thing!
May 10, 2012
Oh and also I forgot to comment on the last part of your write up - those of us who believe in God truly know that suicide definitely will not end our misery as you stated...this was ONE of the things that made me contemplate what could happen to me for an eternity if I gave in to my own suicidal thoughts.
May 09, 2012
I am so sorry for your loss, and his family will be in my prayers. I have had to deal with friends doing this as well.  It must have been hard to even think about this let alone write it, people may not think it but it takes courage to even write this. This may be a write up that helps someone else in their time of need.
May 10, 2012
Thanks, Alex. Yes, it's not something we wish upon ourselves. Sometimes, things just happen without you having a chance to help! My friend lived in the States for almost 20 years now. If he had been elsewhere, he might still be alive! I'm also very sure many are experiencing that despair in the States now and I hope if they find their way here and read about it, it might have helped somewhat. Sometimes, people just see no light when they are having difficulties that they cannot overcome by themselves...
May 09, 2012
It was very thoughtful of you to write such a moving review.
May 10, 2012
Thank you!
May 10, 2012
You are very welcome.
May 07, 2012
So sorry for your loss, Sharrie--I don't even know how to rate your write up because it is definitely not fun to read. You did put a lot of things in this write up though. Hang in there...how have you been?
May 07, 2012
Thanks, William! Erratic, emotionally draining & teary. It will take a long time to get on with something like this!
May 07, 2012
let me know if there is anything I can do....take care.
May 07, 2012
Yes, I think may be if you can get friends to read this which I hope would serve a purpose. In the event that they are contemplating it, it will be at the back of their minds.

Time heals, I hope! Thanks again!
More Suicide reviews
Quick Tip by . May 07, 2012
A childhood friend of mine committed suicide in Oct 2010 and I only got to find out recently. Sadness is certain but another emotional response which surprised me is guilt. Guilt for not having been a better friend by keeping in close contact and not even knowing he has had problems financially and physically. May he rest in peace in the holy arms of God! You were much loved & I'll always miss you, my friend!
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
Ranked #3
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, "to kill oneself") is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair, the cause of which is attributed to a mental disorder such as depressionbipolar disorder,schizophreniaalcoholism, or drug abuse.[1] Stress factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a significant role.[2]

Over one million people die by suicide every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide[3] and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States.[4] It is a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under 35.[5][6] The rate of suicide is far higher in men than in women, with males worldwide three to four times more likely to kill themselves than females.[7][8] There are an estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide.[9]

Views on suicide have been influenced by broader cultural views on existential themes such as religionhonor, and themeaning of life. The Abrahamic religions traditionally consider suicide an offense towards God due to the belief in thesanctity of life. It was often regarded as a serious crime and that view remains commonplace in modern Western thought. However, ...

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