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Tag Archives: Suicide

When I Wake in the Morning

When I wake in the morning I want to do yoga.
When I wake in the morning I want to go for a walk.
When I wake in the morning I want to spin wildly.
When I wake in the morning I want to lay in bed and bless the day.
When I wake in the morning I want to wash in dew.
When I wake in the morning I want to make a slow breakfast.
When I wake in the morning I want to stretch.
When I wake in the morning I want to recall my dreams.
When I wake in the morning I want to do tai chi.
When I wake in the morning I want to run on the beach.
When I wake in the morning I want to sit and write.
When I wake in the morning I want to meditate.
When I wake in the morning I want to putter in the garden.
When I wake in the morning I want to do qigong.
When I wake in the morning I want to sing praise songs.
When I wake in the morning I want to greet the sun.
When I wake in the morning I want to be glad.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Poetry, Social, Uncategorized

 

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When I Am Alone At Night

When I am alone at night,
When I go to bed,
In my head,
I disperse my goods.
I write notes,
Letters, long, detailed.
I imagine deep long rest,
Wonder if I’ve had enough.

When I am alone at night
I roll myself against the walls,
Scratch, stretch,
Rub, rock,
Hunger for sensation,
Pray for contact,
Want for touch,
Wonder if I’m here long enough.

When I am alone at night
I fail to create ambitions.
In my head,
I disperse my goods,
I write notes,
Look at bottles,
Estimate pills,
Wonder if there are enough.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2016 in Culture, Poetry, psychology, Suicide

 

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Nightshirt

Nightshirt

Originally Published in Elephant Journal.
(For Lee, 9/8/13)

For the first few weeks,
once I would return to the bed,
I’d lie on my side
arm on your pillow
your nightshirt tucked
under my cheek,
One of the few pieces of your clothing
I kept. The body is a just a shell
You said. But your lab coat,
the suit you wore to your graduation,
your nightshirt.

The one you wore to hospice.
The one you were comforted in,
the one, the last one.
Your favorite,
cornflower blue
Bamboo fiber,
soft and light,
unwashed
the scent of you
still smooth upon it,
the smell of your skin-
the gentleness of
the small of your back,
the familiar comfort
between your breasts
where I would rest my cheek,
the collar that still
carried the nape of your neck.
Each breath, a calmative
against the cruelty
Of the sudden solitary sleep,
the life, a brain, that was built around
your existence
suddenly
without.

And, sometimes, I would sleep.
and sometimes not,
but over the days,
the scent diminished,
disappeared,
like your ability to walk,
speak, see, remember,
until little was left and,
fearing it’s loss,
as I still fear yours,
I put it in a plastic bag,
removed the air, closed it tight,
put it away in the dark.

A perfume, almost gone,
of days past,
that brings a flush or joy,
a smile, a sigh,
that, for fear of being used up,
isn’t used at all.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Family, Poetry, psychology, Social

 

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High-functioning

Not all people with depression are home lying in a darkened room. Not all depressed people sit with the curtains drawn listening to Morrissey or reading Emily Dickinson. There are people with profound depression who would surprise you, if you knew. But you don’t know they are depressed. They won’t tell you and you won’t notice. They are noncomplaining, high-functioning, dependable individuals who can work next to you each day without giving you so much as a clue to the noise in their heads and the pain in their hearts.

I already regret that last line. I don’t want to be maudlin. I want to present the facts. Let me try this again. There are people we see, know, work next to, who are profoundly, clinically, depressed, who have trouble finding any joy in daily activities, no longer enjoy things they used to, feel little motivation, are noncomplaining, high-functioning, dependable, creative, responsible people. They show up, do their jobs, often volunteer in their communities, and leave those around them with no idea anything is wrong.

You wouldn’t know. Let me tell you.

Nights are sometimes spent curled up in a chair, in a ball, head racing with the most horrible thoughts. There is nothing to do to calm this. Not meditation. Long talks with monks. Rabbis, ministers. Self-help books. Workshops. Guilt doesn’t work. Gratitude for a wonderful life filled with love and laughter and everything one would need doesn’t work.

Psychotherapy. Gestalt. Rational Emotive Therapy. Bioenergetic. Breathwork. Tired of seeking help. Tired of trying. Tired of everything. Tired.

There is nothing to take to calm this. There are no drugs to take because anything that would help could also harm, and so is not kept in the house in any reasonable quantity. Some self-medicate – alcohol, pot – but most do not. At some point, one goes to bed.

The nights are long. Sometimes sleepless, sometimes sleep laced with dreams of failure, or frustration, or remembrance. Sleep is something looked forward to, as, when it does come, the only solace, the only refuge. But prior to sleep, always the thoughts, please, please let this be the last time this bed is laid in. Let tomorrow not come.

But it does, and even with the practice in gratitude, with years of meditation, with knowing the problem is chemical or structural, knowing one has a wonderful life, still, regardless, the first thought upon waking is “Damn. Not again.” Sometimes less polite. And the thoughts start right up again. “This has to stop. This has to. I can’t take this anymore. I just don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done here. I just want to rest.” But there isn’t any.

Morning is a trudge. The daily common activities are chores, but they must be done. And the thoughts, always. Pointless to do anything, but one has a job.

Work. Self-medication begins with music. Maybe coffee – high caffeine. Loud music. Nineties Alt today, Or Tool. Maybe some Sixties’ Psychedelic. One sings. People stop in. There are meetings and conversations. Things get done. Reviews and evaluations are done. All are stellar. Inside, this feels like slogging. Forced. Exhausting. Outside, effortless. Gliding. Flowing. The day ends.

A second job or a volunteer event. Be involved. Or a long walk. Or Gym. One mustn’t seem lazy. One mustn’t seem as though one isn’t taking care of oneself. But going home is the last thing to do. How long can it be put off? Out, at least there is something to occupy the mind. Some days are harder than others. The thoughts are more dense. Some days the thoughts are still there but they don’t come as fast, as thickly. One can distract the mind. One is less prone to cry.

As the evening wears, home cannot be avoided forever. It is quiet. Maybe some TV. Maybe some reading. But there is no escaping what is going on inside. Another mental inventory of the medicine cabinet. No, nothing. Good. Good? People would be upset. People would be hurt.

Calling someone might help. Don’t do it. Don’t complain. Don’t even mention it. People would figure you were too much trouble to deal with. Depressed people are difficult to have around. They bring you down. They won’t love you anymore. You will lose the people you love.

Bed. Bed. Please, please don’t let me wake up again.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in psychology, Suicide

 

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Link

Enter to win the Songs from the Well revised and Expanded edition, in paperback.

Enter to win the Songs from the Well revised and Expanded edition, in paperback, to be release on Yom Kippur, 9/8/13, along with my latest book, Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Books, Culture, Family, Religion, Social, Suicide

 

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Seafoam and Shadow

She dreamt in color
She dreamt in light
Of the moon on the wavecaps
And the impression her feet make
In sand and seafoam.

And I dream of those footprints
And the light that filled them
The foam that took their shape
The shadows that became them.

And walk the beach under full moon light
Looking back at my own footprints
Trying to forget I just left them.

Watching them fill with shadow and seafoam
And wash into the waves,
Into the sea
To be shined upon by moonlight.

Trying to forget I just left them.

I can do that.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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After You, I Insist

I am forty-eight. not old by a long shot. But still, this year, as I begin to think of myself as fifty, as half-way, I and my friends, my close friends, those long friends, those who have been with me for decades, for lifetimes, and those with whom I cannot recount decades but feel as though lifetimes have been spent in their splendid company, with those friends I have begun discussing who goes first.

Perhaps it is the death of my wife nearly two years ago. The shaking out of any sense of permanence and security. The blowing of the ram’s horn, the clanging of the cymbals, that shocks off the clinging illusion that anything lasts but love.

Perhaps it is the suicides, both successful and non,  that have surrounded me. The conscious choice to leave on one’s own terms.

Perhaps it is just age.

I have been asked to perform a wedding. It is an honour and a joy and I will happily bundle myself up to Boulder to help write vows and join Joyce and her Ryan in wedded (we hope) bliss. I also performed the naming ceremony for her daughter, my god-daughter, Sloan.

She told me, you know, I have you in my will. I knew why. She has it that I am supposed to do her funeral as well.

Joyce is younger than me by about seven years. She does Pilates, Jujitsu, dances, lifts weights, fight tigers, climbs poles, eats nails, and I think every bit of her gorgeousness is made of warm, soft and cuddly indestructibility. Near as perfect a human female body as I think anyone could imagine, like an android from a science fiction story. Heinlein’s Friday.   And she wants me to do her funeral. Barring a (lucky?) strike by a space toilet fallen from orbit or a sudden disease (like I don’t know those happen) I can’t see her going first. I told her so.

“Well, you’d better quite the pilates and Jiu Jitsu and starting eating crap then, because otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’m going first.”

This morning I sent her a text.  “You know… You are the only person who knows everything. Did you know that?  You had better NOT go first. No one else knows all the stories.”

It’s true, though I’m not sure how this happened. We are very much alike, she and I, in so many ways that nothing I say surprises her. Nothing. She understands it all. She always has. Never a laugh except at our similarities and how funny humans are. Never a shame, or a judgement, or even a question. She knows it all. All about the kids, their stories growing up, about Lee and love and life with her and after her. She knows who I am and how I am and love me anyway.

Someday, I will be on my deathbed, unless I’m on the grill of a truck, of course, or inside a bear, and there will be stories. That is a good thing. How sad to be dying and be, one would hope, surrounded by loving family and friends, and have no stories. How terrible for the children to have had no embarrassments to recount, no mishaps to retell, no tall tales to let grow over time. It will never be said of me that I worked, came home, slept, and did it again. No, there will be stories.

When Lee died, when we had her memorial, it was stories.  All night. The all night slumber pool party memorial and story-a-thon. I told so many. So did Lee’s mom, and sister. And Craig, and others. And Joyce had her share. She told them in the living room, she told them sitting with the kids, Sef, Alek, Ari, on the kitchen floor, each story leaving their faces a bit more red.  She told them as we all divested ourselves of our various bits of cloth and jumped into the pool. She told them over drinks, and breakfast, and whispered them to me when I could not sleep. She knows the stories.

And she wants me to preside over her funeral. No, dear. No, I told her to let the good people at PrestigeFuneralPlans.co.uk take care of all the details.  She needs to tell the stories. So the kids can pass them on. So everyone can laugh, or sigh, or cry, or shake their heads, or wonder how on Earth I made it that far.

And she wants me to preside over her funeral. Joyce, I think you shall have to preside over mine. And everyone better laugh. I know they will.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Family, Social, Suicide

 

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