BLOG‎ > ‎

What Keeps Them Alive Now?

posted Sep 10, 2018, 7:37 PM by Cliff Williams   [ updated Sep 10, 2018, 7:38 PM ]


Today, September 10, 2018, is World Suicide Prevention Day. I wrote Choosing to Live: Stories of Those Who Stepped Away from Suicide to help prevent suicide. Here are five answers that people in the book gave to my question, “What keeps you alive now?” 

“Ethan” said, “I make a point of getting out of my house as often as possible, engaging with others, and trying to get energy from them. I try to look people in the eye and smile, and I occasionally greet others with a hug or an embrace. Before my attempt, I had completely stopped doing what clearly were lovely things to do.”

“Anne” became new: “It feels to me now that my creator has been waiting a long time for me to accept this gift of grace, waiting a long time for me to recognize that I had been living a false life. It feels as if I have been given a new life, one that is fresh and unencumbered. I have received the gift of being nurtured, like the nurturing a newborn child is given. Now, with the grace of being loved, the power my false self had over me for so many years has been nullified. I don’t feel that I have to be someone else in order to be loved. The anxiety of trying to figure out what life is all about, which for a long time has been an albatross for me, has been washed away.”

“Harvey” does not want to hurt those who love him: “I tried to suffocate myself once, but just as I was about to gray out, I had a burst of energy and freed myself, because I knew my dad would be devastated if I died. And I almost slit my throat a few times, but didn’t only because I thought of my dad. I now feel that no matter how much I suffer, no matter how much I hate myself, and no matter how much I want life to end, I will live for those who love me. I could never hurt them with my death.”

For “Torrey,” who lives in Ireland, there are at least thirty-seven things that keep him alive: “What keeps me alive now is music, passion, food, flowers, birds at dusk, the sun at dawn, frost on the hills, the glaze of the trees, wet autumn mornings, the sky at night, the aura so green from the hills in Ireland, the sound of traffic, the buzz of people, the smell of my coffee, the chilies from my garden, all the fruit and vegetables that grow and blossom, eggs and bacon, a fresh pint of Guinness, the smile of a woman, gentle kindness, opening doors for strangers, the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, the sweet hum of Neil Young, the air in misty evenings, light sleet that glows the roads, stop motion animation, tenor alto choirs, the fiddle with harp, the sound of my Vespa scooter, the bark of a dog, capturing a photo forever in a day, short poems, folklore tales, the smell of marijuana in the late night garden, sitting beside a fire, complete utter desire—everything keeps me alive!.”

For “Penny” it was love: “Love keeps me alive. God’s love. And my husband’s love. All my friends care about me.”





© 2018