100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #68 (Guest Post).

Rules, much like that bird house I blew up with a “homemade firecracker” when I was a kid, were made to be broken, and so today I’m turning the blogging reins over to the phenomenal Mark Myers, a blogger and human being whose magnificence I am incapable of doing justice with my meager talents so you can read about him and his amazing family here.

Mark’s blog is called, “A Generous Helping (Of Laughter & Tears)” and the man is just as generous as the name implies. Please, read his words carefully and take from them what you will.

And what you need.

The Hole

I once had a writing assignment to develop a tall tale. I centered my story around the existing legendary characters of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe.

In summary: Paul and Babe were wandering out west looking for trees and found themselves in a remarkably flat, desolate place. A sepia-toned Teddy Roosevelt showed up claiming the ground as a National Park. Surveying the land with his hands spread wide, he grew and grew until he pushed Babe into Paul and both fell headlong into a heap, thus creating a massive hole we now call the Grand Canyon.

I have no idea what grade I received, but I remember being quite proud of my work.
I grew up in Kentucky and took several trips to another hole, Mammoth Cave. It is a different kind of hole but an impressive system, nonetheless.

With 412 miles of passageway it is twice the size of the next known cavern. Because of its high concentration of limestone, Kentucky is full of caves. When I was in college, my fraternity often held bonfire parties where we could explore a nearby cave. In the “how stupid is a twenty-year-old boy?” category, two friends and I went off caving with one flashlight between us. Of course, we hadn’t checked the batteries and the light began flickering half-way through. It went out and left us in abject darkness for a couple of hours until everyone else realized we were missing and came in the hole after us. Lucky idiots we were.

I bore witness to another hole recently; a hole caused by death. Cancer reared its ugly head into a friend’s life and he was given a three-week diagnosis. The stubborn guy stole fourteen months from it. His oldest and youngest daughters are very close friends of my girls. We arrived at the funeral early and sat near the front. With the angle of the seats I could see his family in the center and while I did pay attention to the service, I couldn’t keep from looking their way from time to time. I saw a musical son keeping time to music, a daughter lift her hands in praise, a daughter lost in thought, and a strong wife dabbing tears.

All of them sat beside an empty chair… a hole.

While geologists tell me the caves I’ve explored took millions of years to form, the hole I witnessed that day appeared in an instant. And in terms of size, it is large. It will be manifested as an empty place at the table, in the bed, beside his girls at their weddings, and an empty chair at his son’s concerts. It is a hole uniquely theirs that no one else can fill.

Death is proof that we lived and a funeral shows that we didn’t live in isolation. Each and every death creates a hole of some kind. Since my daughter, Kylie died, I have contemplated death more than ever before. I am sure that is natural, but new to me. I don’t think I have ever feared death, but I have always assumed I would live a long, full life. Kylie’s death challenged that notion somewhat. I have yet to feel suicidal, but I admit that I’ve entertained a more welcoming attitude toward death. After all, part of my heart is already gone.

When I turned fifty years old, people said things like, “here’s to fifty more.” I know it was said to be kind and jovial, but my internal response was, “No, I’m good. Maybe five or ten more and then I’m done.” Sometimes I said it aloud. After all, I’m kind of okay with death now.

But the hole.

Watching my friends deal with their hole made me consider the hole another death in our family would create… a widening of the hole we have. That day marked a turning point of my thoughts. Of course, I am going to die. The mortality rate is 100%. But don’t I owe it to those I love to push it out as long as I can?

No matter how lonely and isolated you feel, your death would make a hole, too. No one walks this dusty earth without crossing paths with others along the way. Talk to them, talk to someone. Maybe it’s been years, but please make the effort. Suicide is not painless to those left behind.

You matter.

I’d be a fool to try to add anything to this.

See you in the lobby, friends…

 

Image result for grand canyon website

 

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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18 Responses to 100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #68 (Guest Post).

  1. It would be difficult to add to that story for sure. I totally understand the “hole” he mentioned. Although I have been blessed enough to never have lost a parent, sibling or child (yet) I have lost both my in-laws and I know the pain that this family has endured with the aftermath of hurt and pride. It’s so sad and all these years later, there are still open wounds. 😦

    • The Hook says:

      These wounds never really “heal”, Courtney, but we’re stronger than we realize.
      Focusing on the blessing of having these people in our lives at all always helps to get us through the trauma of losing them.

  2. Excellent point on “The Hole.” Well done, Mark.

  3. Doug in Oakland says:

    Excellent metaphor, the hole. There have been times that my life felt like Swiss cheese from all of the holes in it, and those times have brought me two thoughts: First, don’t make it worse by disappearing myself, and second, pay attention to the parts that aren’t the holes while you still can, because you never know when they will go also.

  4. 3bones says:

    Thanks, Hook. This guest post has given me one of the best “stumbles” ever …right into Mark’s blog. For me personally, this guest post and the blog share you have provided me and your other readers with have shown me the genuine intentions you originally had when you decided to undertake your project and series of blog posts on suicide. I found Mark’s metaphor of the hole left by any death so very moving, and it’s that hole in mine and my family’s heart that our own brother Brian left behind 35 years ago that has always made us question “why.” But it wasn’t until today, after reading this post and then stumbling into Mark’s blog and reading one of Mark’s posts entitled “The End Of Why” and coupled it with a quote that I read from Elizabeth Gilbert recently …

    “… you don’t get to know why … You’re not allowed to. Those answers aren’t for you, and they’ve never been for anyone, for all of time. Nobody gets to see into that — and that, again, is part of that warehouse of mystery that I’m growing more and more comfortable with. You don’t get to see why this goes this way. It just does. It just is. It just did, and it’s not pretty.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

    … that I believe I can finally appreciate the fact that I have come to my own “End Of Why.” Thanks for this guest post.

    • The Hook says:

      It was my pleasure and honor to have Mark here.
      Thanks you for joining us on this journey.
      I’ve found your comments and insights to be inspiring.

  5. Mark Myers says:

    Reblogged this on A Generous Helping and commented:
    I’m proud to call Robert a friend. I started reading his blog – The Bellman Chronicles for a good laugh. His writing and comedic style are impeccable. Recently, he lost a friend to suicide and has made it his mission to help others struggling with their mental health. I respect that. He is in the middle of a series called “100 reasons not to kill yourself” and asked me to contribute. I was happy and honored to do so. It’s a good thing you’re doing, my friend.

    • The Hook says:

      Thank you, Mark.
      I may stumble at times but I’m doing my best.
      And thank you for helping me carry the weight; you’re a brilliant writer and a good man.

  6. ksbeth says:

    wonderful words of wisdom, as always, mark.

  7. Tara says:

    Beautiful, Mark. That’s all that needs saying. Beautiful.

  8. Almost Iowa says:

    It is a hole that is never really filled. Even when you think it is gone, you find yourself standing on soft ground.

  9. curvyroads says:

    This was a beautiful, thoughtful, and thought provoking guest post. My heart goes out to Mark and his family, and I thank you both for sharing it. ❤

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