Making Sense of an Ending

A seventeen year-old in my neighborhood jumped to his death.
His parents are devastated. I, like most of the people who have known them for years, shocked to the core. I had thought I’d tell me daughters about the incident only when they came home for the holidays, when we could have a longer conversation. But bad news travel fast and it was my daughter who asked me for ‘details’.

Then I had to write to them. I write to them often but this time I did not know what to write. Why am I putting parts of it in the public domain? As a prayer from a mother who hopes that no parent has to live through this.

What happened?
He jumped from the 7th Floor.

Only he knew what was going on in his mind at that moment. Anything else we say would be an un-called for assumption.

What other details can I give you?
His parents will be in pain for a very long time. It is like he stabbed them and went off, leaving the knives in.

We are all shocked. We, who knew him as a much loved child a friend of our children, are now not sure how to talk to our children.

Say yes to everything, because we don’t know how you will react to a ‘no’? But then how will you face the number of times the world says ‘no’ to you? Be around, keep a check on all your activities, your internet time, your interactions? But what if that sends you off in a more remote corner, interpreting out protection as intrusion? Trust you, leave you to your own space-but what if that leaves you feeling alone or isolated or vulnerable?
There are a hundred ways in which we can go wrong. But is this the solution?

We have just one life. And that too is limited. Some beliefs say we are born over and over again but then that will be as a different identity, a different life altogether. Death is final. And every death is so sad. The death of a child, that too when it is deliberate and avoidable is the saddest.

Maybe he thought it was his life and he had that right to give it up because he didn’t want to live it anymore. What makes a person decide to take his own life? Depression, desperation, frustration, loneliness, losing all hope, not being able to ‘face’ the world, running away, or the desire to punish someone-making them regret forever? Or is it just that overwhelming moment? For everything there is a better solution.

Maybe he thought there was no other way for him. Everyone is looking for the reason now. If anyone knew the reason, before he took this step, they could have helped. Maybe if he had talked..

There will be phases in life where there is no hope, where your struggles may seem too tough to carry one, where you may not see the point of going on (I wish I could save you from such sadness forever, but it’s a reality which happens to everyone). But there is always a way out.

J.K. Rowling suffered from severe depression. She channeled it into imagining the ‘Dementors’ and the 'Dementor’s Kiss'-a fate worse than dying because all happiness and hope is sucked out of life. Everyone can’t write a 'Harry Potter' but everyone can survive, find a new hope, a new reason to live. It takes a lot to break out of these phases, more than conjuring up a Patronus from happy thoughts, though that is a good begining. Talking helps-massively.

There will always be a way out. Talk to us, your friends, strangers, anyone. Keep talking. Keep the human connections alive and you’ll find a way. Be a friend. There would be people around you going through such a phase but you’ll be unaware if you don’t talk enough. You could be a tiny light for someone. Make someone’s life happier. Make your own happiness. Make something from your own life. It can be as beautiful as you let it be. (No, don’t take it as more gyan from me-this is just what I wish for -a beautiful life for you).


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