suicide has been a topic discussed by some of my classes through reading poems like ‘the lady of shalott’ and ‘the highwayman’. accompanying such topics, and many others, i always find a way to use experience from my own life to relate it to what they are learning.
when i think of suicide, i think of a number of things but the most prominent idea is the suicides of two brothers i knew growing up a few years apart from each other.
i was 20 and i received a phone call late in the night informing me that a friend of mine from high school had committed suicide. he was clever, kind, athletic and well liked by his peers. he wanted to become a physician and better peoples’ lives. he was voted ‘most likely to succeed’ by his cohort.
the news of his death upset me greatly. he was always someone that asked how others were without really expecting others to do the same. shortly after his death i dreamt i was passing him in the busy school corridor as if it was 1998 and he asked me how i was, i responded by saying that i wasn’t worried about myself but about him. he just smiled.
his younger brother did very well to put on a brave face and organise for everyone that knew him to attend a memorial. there were many tears shed and while i didn’t speak myself, i was amazed at the number of people that wanted to say a few words. most especially the construction workers that were dealing with a project near where he lived. they talked about his walking past their job site, his friendly nature. i think i even remember them saying he would bring them coffee and other treats to make their day a little easier. they drove nearly an hour to attend the memorial.
he touched so many lives and yet he was in real pain. i never saw that side of him. i saw his motivational, positive attitude.
a couple of years later i saw the younger brother at belleville’s waterfront festival. he was friendly and we chatted for a while. i asked him how he was and he said he was fine, though i could tell from the look in his eyes that he was lying. possibly to make me feel more comfortable with the whole situation or to play down the difficulty he was having.
the sad result was that less than a year after my encounter with the younger of the two, he too committed suicide. with this second death, i was very upset indeed, though this time i was not as surprised. i had seen the signs.
anyway, the reason i bring this up is that alongside my teaching, i try to occupy my mind with reading and thinking. after telling my students about this sad story i looked back in journals from more than a decade ago to find entries about the very people i have mentioned above.
there are old snipits in my nearly 20 notebooks full that must be utilised in my writing. that first short story that i posted on here had no less than a dozen references to real life experiences from my life. items such as the t-shirt the protagonist was wearing to a ‘character’ in the bar’s comments to the bar itself.
i guess what i’m trying to say is that the value of real life experiences have enhanced my life and i would like to use these experiences to enhance the lives of others.
ultimately what i write is for me but if at any point something i have written has resonated with someone else, i would feel like all the thinking and writing all these years might have been worth something more than my own mental well-being.
i have said many times that i hope one day my children and grandchildren will read my journals and understand what i was really like as a person. my thought is that these future potential individuals will see my motives clearly by reading my scribblings.
more to come sooner rather than later, i hope. i have jotted down a dozen or so creative writing starters from ‘the writer’s block’ to get more fictional writing under my belt. i plan to use this blog as a springboard for such projects.
please check back for more posted pieces and please leave a comment. i would love feedback/forward whether it is good, bad or ugly.
thanks for reading.