Rest in peace, Angela
September 19, 2012 by William K. Wolfrum
My wife’s aunt Angela committed suicide a few days ago. She had long threatened to do so and had several unsuccessful attempts.
This is not the story of others missing the signs, however. It is the story of a troubled woman who never joined the fight to improve her situation. Angela was the youngest of nine children and lived a chaotic existence. Her troubles were many, and not to be listed here.
Her death has given me reason to reflect on my own life and my own struggles. For so long, I was lost in a world of my own, unwilling to reach out for help for a drinking problem or for my own depression. While I never contemplated suicide, I imagine there would not have been widespread shock if I had.
For Angela, sadly, this is a story of inevitability. She was unable to cope with her world and unwilling to ask for help from those who loved her. Her death was inevitable.
My story became one of inevitability when I met my wife Emilia. With a strong, happy and loyal woman at my side, it was inevitable my life would improve. And it did.
I suppose what I’ve really learned is how alike we all are. We all have our moments when we are terrible people to be around. When we feel life is more of a chore than we care to undertake. When self-pity makes us unbearable to ourselves and to those around us. We all have times when the person we dislike the most is us.
Suicide isn’t an inevitability. It is a one-time action with the ultimate of results. It takes away every good and bad moment you will ever have. I have felt lows I thought I could never climb out of, but with help, I did. And every smile or laugh or good feeling I now have is my reward. The love I have for my wife is the best of those rewards. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She is why my lows are not at all what they used to be.
I refuse to judge Angela for what she did, though. It was as much the wiring in her brain as the sadness in her heart that led to her final act. All I can hope is that those with problems they cannot handle find a loved one to speak to about it. There is no weakness in asking for help. And every day, the words “mental problems” gain a more honest and less mockable definition.
If you feel you have hit the wall, talk to someone about it. The embarrassment of speaking of your own weaknesses is nothing compared to the devastation brought upon by keeping it to yourself or by suicide.
Angela, however, made her decision. Her final decision. May she now have the peace she could never find in life. Rest in peace, Angela.