A mystifying act.
It doesn't matter whether the means involves a gun, a tall building, a car crash, a bottle of pills. A suicide is an act of violence against the human body, against the human person, against the universe. An act of opposition to the goodness of all creation.
How does one absorb the reality, an act of violence in and against a life characterized by peacefulness and gentleness, and its relentless invasion into the lives of all who knew him?
As a little boy, my son collapsed, sobbing, into my arms when his beloved box turtle died. His earliest letters reflected his delight in creation ~ the letter to us describing the skunk family crossing the green on which his entire summer camp community was gathered for 4th of July fireworks, the card to his grandfather reflecting his and my pursuit via canoe of a loon haplessly looking for peace on an Adirondack lake.
It hasn't been more than a year since I commented in an email to a friend on what a joy it was to observe his gentle and graceful consideration for his girlfriend, his generous appreciation of her gifts.
A few nights ago, I went to a Survivors of Suicide meeting, which I do on occasion, and the conversation turned to this issue of violence. All of the people there were gentle, loving, and had clearly contributed compassion and kindness to the lives of those now gone. We were grieving deaths ranging from two days to three years old, and every one of us was struck by the sudden incursion of violence into our lives at the hand of a beloved sister, son, or boyfriend.
You think that you would not survive if someone you loved killed someone else ~ shot or pushed someone else off a building, ran over them, whatever. You know that the ripple effect of such an act would alter your entire existence. There are simply no words for describing the effect when somene's victim is him or herself.
The book No Time to Say Good-bye, linked in my sidebar, includes the following quote from one Edward Dunne:
"The death of a significant other by suicide is a stressor of unparalled magnitude in most people's lives, and even the most psychologically mature individual may encounter difficulty in responding to it."
Ay-yep to that rather stunning understatement.. And the violence is part of the reason.