Suicide Heaven Scenarios

I don't know why this unhappy face was in a pillar in a beautiful hotel lobby in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Perhaps Mexico understanding combined beauty and death better than we do?

I don’t know why this unhappy face was in a pillar in a beautiful hotel lobby in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Perhaps Mexico understanding combined beauty and death better than we do?

Mr. Devlin was 42. He left a short note in his car, telling his wife, Kristina Devlin, 41, to go on and live her life. He said he would watch over their daughter, Ludivine, 4, and their son, Cole, 3, and apologized to his family.

I doubt I need to tell you Mr. Devlin took his own life. The quote was from an article by Liz Robbins last Sunday in The New York Times which outlined Colin Devlin’s high profile restaurants, current financial problems, and circle of devastated family and friends.

Suicide is common and in the papers everyday. There’s no way to avoid these headlines that always send a wave of sadness through my heart for the hopelessness that was felt by another human being. Through the years since my brother’s own chosen death, I’ve acquired a protective, easily-permeated shield of black humor for protection. So please understand the following is half serious, half knowingly ridiculous, half just trying to understand.

The reported contents of Devlin’s short note is not any more tragic or

I'll bet the javelinas we saw on a recent Arizona vacation don't worry about being sorry.

I’ll bet the javelinas we saw on a recent Arizona vacation don’t worry about being sorry.

laughable than any other suicide’s last words. They are boilerplate. “Live your life, I’ll watch over you, I’m sorry.”

Most people have a personal theory about what happens to suicides in the afterlife. Here’s a few possible scenarios that have entertained me. A few I’ve given more serious, thoughtful consideration, and a few give me comedy relief because even thirty years down the road, I still need it.

Scenario #1 – Suicides have to abide by the terms of that damn suicide note.

I’ll bet that “I’ll watch over you,” comment gets pretty hard to witness. Seeing the sadness and anger that has already started may be a bit gratifying in the beginning, but the guilt and long term personality changes directly attributable to the death is bound to get a little wearing when the deceased was purposely trying to leave problems behind.

Scenario #2 – Reincarnation believers are really stuck.

Spiritualists are constantly yammering things like, “I am receiving a message that your serial-killer son was sent to teach you a lesson.” What circumstances of horror are we setting ourselves up for in the “next life”? Is Mr. Devlin someday giving birth to a future serial killer?

A twist on this is the “you reap what you sow” so maybe next time he’ll be Mrs. Devlin who needs to explain the unexplainable to two innocent children who too easily can grow up falsely believing they weren’t worth their dad’s time. But don’t worry all you Mr. Devlins out there, you’ll get a few hints you can improve upon by watching the mother of your children.

Many people turn this cabinet in grief.

Many people turn to this cabinet in grief.

Scenario #3 – The “I’ll up the ante one poker chip” hereafter game.

This extension of Scenario #2 is based on observation of my own little life that appears shackled by the rule of: Nothing gets better until I fix it, learn it, change it, or improve it. In other words, I’ve never had a problem or issue that was made better by dropping all responsibility for it. Closer observation shows when I have done that it later returns with an angrier or sadder face and always costs more. I have a sneaking suspicion that’s a rule of life. Maybe it is of afterlife, too.

Scenario #4 – The It Doesn’t Matter School of Nihilism

On the other side of the pearly gates there is a clubhouse named Freedom Road. It’s motto is, “We understand you.” Everyone goes to one of three chapters named, “I Did It My Way,” “I Did It Their Way,” or “What Did I Do?”

This conversation passes daily at the welcoming cocktail party of “I Did It My Way”. “Those useless humans. Why can’t they understand it doesn’t matter? They’re wasting their time feeling bad about me. I’m in seventh heaven!

I find nature very healing.

I find nature very healing. This is Laguna Beach, California.

They’ve got their own lives to live and manage. Why don’t they leave me alone?”

Who can say (or convince the rest of us) what happens after that cocktail party? I don’t know, but my belief has to do with learning awareness, love and forgiveness.

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8 Responses to Suicide Heaven Scenarios

  1. this was a hard post to like because of the content but you covered the subject well and gave me some aha moments in your more serious applications–I understand suicide, but I do not understand suicide

  2. I’m with you all the way. The like button is a quandary at times and I’ve found through time that I have to lighten the mood on some subjects and when I do, others are more receptive to the ideas, cheer, and deep felt empathy I really do have for them. Thanks for commenting, LouAnn.

  3. Oh dear. I cannot imagine this act of desperation. I like life so much I NEVER want to leave.
    It’s especially difficult when young people feel they must end their lives. This summer around here, three high school students followed this call. They, as well as all others, don’t just leave their problems behind but a trail of devastated families and broken hearts.

  4. Yes, it’s a really awful way to go. I don’t think they are “thinking straight,” but that’s little comfort to those left behind. Teenagers! How awful.

  5. Denise Hisey says:

    Rebecca, I’m so sorry about your brother. Though time must help heal the pain, it must be something you never really get over.
    I’ve heard people say suicide is a weak act, but I happen to believe it’s a desparate act. Too much pain and too little hope. I’ve also heard someone say ‘it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem’. Whatever the case, it leaves a lot of broken hearts behind.
    I considered, even planned it, myself as a child I was so desparate to escape my situation. I’d never say it’s a good solution, but because I walked right up to that line in the sand, I have nothing but sympathy for the pain of those who follow through -and those left behind.

    • I have that sympathy too, Denise. See it close up and you see the pain. That it’s desperate, yes, that it’s weak, no I don’t think so, but it can be a passionate, unthinking moment, in some way not too different than the drivers I see taking crazy chances in traffic. They don’t know or care about the consequences either. They just see themselves as getting through the moment.

  6. Smaktakula says:

    The notion of suicides having to abide by the terms of their final note made me laugh, which was surprising, given the subject matter up to that point. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve so far managed to remain largely untouched by suicide. I’m not so foolish as to believe I’ll remain that way, though.

    An interesting, and only slightly-related note. It’s commonly believed that suicide invalidates a life insurance policy. That’s only partly true. In California (the only state in which I have any business discussing the particulars of life insurance) there’s a two-year clause that will deny payment in the case of suicide (and a couple other cases). However, if the person has owned the policy for more than two years, the company must honor it. Apropos of nothing, but I like to share.

    • Thanks for the information on life insurance policies in California. I’m sure there’s an ugly court case behind that one, but it’s all bad enough for survivors so that seems right. After all, death by “preventable” diseases are covered, aren’t they? Thanks for laughing, the older I get the more there seems to be to laugh about. All of this world is just so dear and silly and stupid and mean and sweet. I hope you remain “untouched” on this subject, though.

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