Yes, there are sadness and the thoughts that crowd her mind. Still, I chooses to play, not to fold.
Most times it’s a fleeting thought: a what if of too many pills, a misstep off of the trail, wondering how long it would take to bleed out in a hot bath.
Would it hurt? Would I feel regret? Or would I go gladly?
It’s sobering to consider my mortality every day. Every day I live is a choice that I make to stay, instead of to choose an exit.
I can’t remember not feeling this way. Sadness, melancholia, depression- whatever you want to call it- has been a part of my being since I can remember. I don’t know which came first- life or sadness, sadness or life- but I have a feeling it was sadness.
It’s just a part of who I am.
It’s been both the greatest gift and the biggest thief in my life. Knowing despair- the despair of being unworthy, hopeless, lost, meaningless- the joy I witness feels that much more profound, more intense, more colorful than I imagine it does for those who don’t flirt with anguish regularly, who don’t live with a gray shadow always creeping in.
When I was a teenager, my cousin committed suicide. He was a kind, gentle person. Young. Full of the future and, it turns out, full of pain.
At the same time, my uncle was dying of terminal cancer, fighting every day to stay with us.
My cousin’s sister asked my uncle at the funeral, “why? How? How could he take his life when you fight so hard for yours?”
My uncle responded, “We can never tell what’s going on in someone’s mind, what their struggle is. We don’t know what makes some decide to fold their hand, and other’s to keep playing.”
We don’t know. We can’t guess, or judge, or project our own abilities, wants, desires, and needs, onto another person’s life. Our struggle may be easy for someone. Their struggle may be mind–numbing for us.
What make someone fold their hand and another to keep playing?
We don’t know the answer, for others. We can only know for ourselves.
I remember telling my husband that I consider suicide. He was devastated, in disbelief that I would consider- on the regular- ending my life.
It is sad. It’s sad and it’s terrible and it’s profoundly fucked up.
But it’s also a gift. I live on purpose. I choose to be here. I know what my hand is, and I make an active choice to keep playing.
To try to win.
How many people are not living on purpose? How many are dying a little bit, every day, by not living fully? How many people don’t stop to consider who loves them, how their death would affect the world, how their life can be used for good, for service?
A timeclock punched, another day ticked off the list, praying for the weekend and for the “next thing.”
We make choices every day: we choose to play, to pass, or to fold.
I choose to play.
Photo Credit: shoobydooby/flickr