Wednesday 7 December 2016

Each pointless young death is an indictment of world we've made

We are all responsible for creating a society where people feel they 'have to' kill themselves, writes Emer O'Kelly

Published 28/08/2011 | 05:00

THOUSANDS of people, whether fortunate or unfortunate in their lives and occupations, have never been pushed close enough to all-encompassing despair to be tempted to end their lives. Or they may have been tempted, but a glimmer of hope or love, or both, has been a flickering light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. Or even a bloody-minded determination not to be defeated can be the flicker, a defiant decision to face down what seems uncomfortably like the "ease" of despair.

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But there are others who can only look inward and in their introspection are utterly overwhelmed and unable to deal with their sorrow and unease. They have always accepted the highs and lows denied to people of a perhaps less imaginative temperament. They perhaps accept the lows of grief and fear as a fair exchange for the ability to feel the highs of superlative happiness, however ephemeral. And then a day comes when the depths are just too deep and the scales unbalance, pitching them down. That's when the choice is made and the tragedy happens.

Most of us can try, in common humanity, to understand the nightmare world, the loneliness and despair of the suicide victim. And all of us can both empathise and sympathise with the people left stunned and bereft when someone they love feels compelled to end their lives suddenly and deliberately, even violently. Unless we have been bereaved in this way, we can never know the horror of it; but we can, however helplessly, try to imagine it.

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