February 18, 2004 ~ Seeds Against Suicide
Your breath catches in your throat and tears sting your eyes when you get the message. You pick up the phone and dial the number, and you realize that your hands are shaking a little bit. Pick up. Please, please, please pick up.
"Hello?" It was only three rings, but it felt like ages.
"Why?" You ask, and you are surprised at the anger in your voice. "What triggered this?" you ask, as compassion seeps back in again.
How do you convince the person at the other end of the line that their life is worth living? You don't. Only they can do that. But you riffle through all of your memories, all of your hope, and all of your love for anything and everything that you can say, every little seed that you can throw out there and hope that just one of them takes root, grows. One is all it would take.
You talk about how very, very hard "now" is, and how much it hurts. You listen. You let that person rant and cry, and you think that your shoulders would break under the responsibility, the pressure, that they carry every day. You listen.
You talk about the things that you would miss about this life, this world, about how warm the sun feels falling through a window on a winter day, about the smile on a child's face when you tease and joke. You listen.
You talk about how unfair our society is and how justice is really just an idea, not usually a reality. You tell stories and relate songs that remind you of that person's situation, that give you hope. You listen.
You say "I love you" over and over and over again. You tell that person how much they mean to you, and how angry you would be if they gave up. You listen. You cry. A lot.
You read them something they wrote to you a long time ago, and plead that they do not prove those words wrong. You search for meaningful metaphors whilst cursing your reliance on platitudes that feel so weak against all that black. You listen.
And most of all, you know exactly how they feel, and you do not blame or judge them at all for what they are contemplating.
So you tell them the story of that night, years ago. It was raining. Life hurt too much to breathe. So you decided that you'd stop. Breathing. You climbed to the top of a building. And you stood there until you were soaked through with rain. And you cried, because your life was crap, and it hurt so goddamned much that you wished you were dead.
And just as you were about to jump, so that you would be dead and no longer wishing, you slipped. And you started to fall.
And your heart jumped in panic and your hands shot out to grab at anything, anything to stop your fall. And you realized, when death was no longer a choice but a surprise, something inside you wanted to live, and it was reaching desperately for a savior. And you thought in that split second that everything else in your life was fixable somehow, except for this.
And the moment that your hand connected with and caught something solid was the sweetest relief in the world.
"And," you say, to that person listening on the other end of the line, "if I had jumped that night, succeeded in killing myself, instead of slipping just before and having that realization, that second chance, I would never have met Morgan, would never have known love, real love. I would never have gone to college. I would never have climbed the mountains I've climbed. I would never have seen the amazing things that I have seen. I know it hurts terribly right now. But I don't want you to give up now, never to know that the most amazingly joyous moment of your life is going to happen to you ten years from now, but you aren't going to experience it because you killed yourself. It will get better, it has to get better, and you have to hurt now to see it later."
You talked, intensely, crying together, for two hours. And the conversation ended in laughter. It was tired laughter on the other end, but, all the same, that laughter gives you hope.