One More Light


So many who were touched by his music, now mourn the fact that Chester Bennington’s name was recently added to the tragic list of famous people who took their own lives through suicide. I was shocked to read that there are an average of 121 suicides PER DAY just in the United States each year! When a cultural star does this, the subject of depression becomes front page news and while many of us think money or fame could be cures for our sadnesses, we’re obviously all dead wrong.  

I’m not a doctor or clinician and therefore have no business arguing the causes or treatments of clinical depression, but I do know that millions of us have been or are currently affected by it and/or the suicide of someone we’ve known and/or loved. Millions of us are left wondering why. Why we feel this way. Why despair sometimes wins out over hope.

The 2017 Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” has received a tremendous amount of critical acclaim. Fearful of the act of suicide being glamorized, educators have been warned to monitor middle and high school conversations they came upon and to be aware of student attitudes regarding the show. Having just watched the series myself, I see it as conveying a highly powerful anti-bullying and empathy message. Our words and actions have consequences. As our society becomes more attached to technological devices and less attached to each other personally, I believe we need to be reminded of that, again and again. “13 Reasons Why” highlights issues that affect today’s youth and lays the groundwork for immensely important parent/child discussions.

Learning of Chester Bennington’s suicide and watching the series “13 Reasons Why” last week, reminded me of this poem I wrote about a dear friend lost to suicide. I’m sharing it with you in hopes that it may be of benefit. We may never know the answer to someone’s why. The only thing we can control is the way we think about depression, our own and that of others. May we seek help and encourage others to do so as well. May we view it as we view any other condition/disease. And lastly, but most importantly, may we all be a little kinder, a little softer, more willing to just be there and listen, for we know not the silent battles others face or why they feel the need to turn off their light.

Peace and Love

******************************************************************************

For Tim


I live in a land of orange groves

and so did you.


I wish I’d known

the exact moment that the acidic taste of your despair 

became corrosive

as it started to eat away 

at the man you once were,

strangled your voice,

kept you from calling out.

I wish I’d known

the exact moment that the acrid smell of your despair 

congested your nostrils and poisoned your lungs,

clouding all of your senses,

depriving you of the oxygen of love.

I wish I’d known 

the exact moment that the blackness of your despair

turned each day’s sky to onyx darkness,

insuring that you’d lose your way.

I wish I’d known 

the exact moment that the howling of your despair

deafened you to joyful noise,

like your angelic granddaughter’s voice.

I wish I’d known

the exact moment that the grit of your despair 

rubbed your soul so raw

and left you bleeding all alone.

I wish I’d known

the exact moment you planned that final drive 

to an orange grove

where the cold steel explosion of a handgun 

and not the warm hands of those that loved you 

would be the last sensation you’d ever feel.

I wish that you would emerge from each grove I pass,

crooked smile, pirate eyes,

arms laden with fruit.

I wish you’d known

how much I wished I knew.

How I would have gotten there before those moments

and fought for you.

CRR

 3-3-15

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This entry was posted in death, grief, hope, life, pain, suicide and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to One More Light

  1. Brooke says:

    What a beautiful post. Your poem had me tearing up, the way you connect the acid and oranges with human emotion and pain. Just beautiful.

    I’ve lost too many loved ones to suicide, and actually, the first poem I ever wrote was about my grandmother’s suicide. I was in sixth grade, so naturally, it was terrible. But I read it from time to time still because it’s one of the many reminders of how writing can bring peace in moments of (what feels like) unbearable hopeless pain.

    Thanks for sharing your words here and for beinging a little more beauty and kindness to the world today. Love to you and also to Tim ❤

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