Okay, I don’t want to get wrapped up in a controversial subject, but I think there’s something important that needs to be said.
I was reading earlier about Brittany Maynard‘s choice to end her life. No matter how she went, it would be a tragedy. But what she did was suicide.
In the article, it gave a quote from Brittany, “It’s not suicide,” she said at the time. “It’s meant to relieve the suffering.”
I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of those who commit suicide if people truly believe that physical pain justifies it, whereas emotional pain does not.
People don’t just commit suicide because their life is great, or they want to know what it’s like, or it sounds fun. People commit suicide because the pain of this life is unbearable.
It’s not okay to minimize emotional pain like that. As if those who kill themselves because of abuse, addictions, bullying, depression, etc. are somehow wrong, yet those who kill themselves because of physical pain, (or fear of that pain), are somehow dignified.
Either way, it comes down to control. A need, or a desire, for control over one’s life and well-being. I know Brittany had terminal cancer, and I feel a deep sorrow for her, and all that she had to endure. My intention is not to criticize her, because I do not know what that’s like, or what it would be like to be in a position to take one’s life that they’re losing anyway.
I think it needs to be approached with understanding. If we think suicide is tragic, that’s fine, it is. But if we’re expected to extend grace and understanding to those who do it to prevent physical pain, we also must extend that same grace and understanding to those who do it to prevent emotional pain.
We can’t say suicide is tragic for some, and then berate others for doing the same exact thing, as though being open about it and endorsing it makes it okay. Is it just that we’re nosy and like to know what’s going on? That if someone does it in the dark, on their own, they’re seen as less worthy of living? That their death is less tragic?
Suicide is about hurting and broken people wanting to take control over their own lives, because the pain is too much to bear. I think this is an important opportunity to become more aware of the people around us. To extend a loving heart, to give hope.
No one would commit suicide if they felt hope. Brittany did because she had no hope for recovery as millions of others have, the only difference is that she had hers broadcast all over the world. And somehow, we act as though having support gives value.
The value of a life is not based on how many people are supporting them, it’s an innate gift from God. Death is tragic no matter whose life is lost.
Killing oneself, no matter what the situation, is suicide. It doesn’t matter whether that person is surrounded by family and friends, or if they’re completely alone. It’s tragic and heartbreaking. We can’t glorify it on one hand, while condemning it on the other.