This I Believe

Lauren Taylor - So. Hamilton, Massachusetts
Entered on February 22, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death
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I believe that, no matter what, suicide is not the answer.

Just a little over a week ago, my sister killed herself. Tuesday, February thirteenth is a day my family will remember with horror and grief for the rest of our lives. But even though depression runs in the family, and I can sympathize with kind of the negative thinking that leads to suicidal thoughts, I believe in the end that killing yourself is not the answer to life’s problems.

She was a bright, energetic star, and already there is an enormous hole in the universe where she used to be not so long ago. The very fact that she is gone is palpable in every fiber of my body. She was my sister. She is irreplaceable.

But her death has also brought the rest of my family closer together, and it has awakened an entire community around us, too. Since that day, numerous visitors have stamped winter ice and dirt off their boots in the front vestibule. Casseroles and homemade soups have arrived at an impossibly consumable rate. We joked about starting a soup kitchen.

The church was filled to capacity with an entire grieving community at Emily’s wake and at her funeral. Good friends as well as people that I barely knew opened their arms to me and to the rest of my family – the four of us left – to offer their support and condolences. No one likes to see a bright, 25 year old star fall out of the sky, and they didn’t want to see the family fall either. So there we were held, in the safety net of a community’s arms, with prayers and wishes of healing on all sides. I have never had so many hugs, or seen so many tears, in one place in all my life.

But still, no one can answer our questions for us. We frail living survivors can but stumble and grasp at what might be the truth, without ever really knowing what it is. There is only one truth we can know: she is gone.

And I know what is true for me: that no matter how bad things get, it is not up to me whether I live or die.

It can be a tempting thought at times. Why not leave this messy, broken life and trade it for the certainty of the grave? Let someone else handle the details and figure out life’s meaning. But for me, that would be too easy.

I believe that if I don’t stand to face my problems, then nothing is solved. I believe that if I can see the sun rise again, then I should, because it might be more beautiful than any other sunrise that has gone before. And, ultimately, when I die, I give up every hope, every dream, and all the power I have. At least while I am alive, I can change something.