It’s a happy time of the year, Christmas time and the Aussie summer holidays and I am pleased to be quite cheerful this year and not “pretending in the hope of becoming OK”. I’ve tested the practice of putting a smile on my face so that I can make some “happy chemicals” that cheer up my brain and it works (a little), but it’s no good long term. I either honestly feel pretty OK or I don’t.
While I would have called myself “chronically suicidal” over autumn, winter and most of spring during 2011, I was never in danger of jumping off the cliffs at Hallett Cove. However, one friend did succeed in killing himself in autumn and two other people I knew died in November. One suffered in isolation, consenting to one last-ditch dose of chemo for his bowel-liver cancer which he should have skipped and had a good trip to the Barrier Reef; the other was elderly and died peacefully in his sleep as everyone had wished he would.
The death of my friend from cancer, only in his early 50s, affected me quite deeply. It made me think of what it would be like when I know the lights are going out for the last time. With Richard, there was probably another century’s worth of things he could have done in his life, as he had multiple enthusiasms and stacks of friends to keep him company. Yet the curtain came down on him very early and it’s like he never physically existed. How did he feel? I can only imagine the swift fade of sensations and the rushing “water in the ears” sound of an anaesthetic taking effect, but then no waking up. How would that be different? I guess it wouldn’t be. It’s just hard to think of my own personality and “liveliness” not being in the world. But that’s what will happen.
This should spur me on to fit a lot more in my life before I go. I AM doing quite a bit compared to winter, so maybe I’m on the up.