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  • Showing only topics with the tag "death". Back to normal view
    1. no subject

      2020. That's when I met her. To some of my close friends it sounds silly to them when I tell them we loved each other. It's hard for some people to grasp the intensity that a long distance...

      2020. That's when I met her.

      To some of my close friends it sounds silly to them when I tell them we loved each other. It's hard for some people to grasp the intensity that a long distance relationship can have. But I don't have anything to prove to anyone - I truly did love her.

      Being with an ace, I thought, would make things more complicated as I am not asexual myself. But if anything it made things simpler. It made the long distance easier to deal with. It made it easier to be patient. Easier to deal with her not being in my life all the time, because when push came to shove, she was in my life when I needed her to be. In fact, she was the main reason I labeled myself as polyamorous this year. I realised that I didn't want to pretend we were just friends anymore. I cared for her too much for that.

      In so little time, she changed me into a better person. She taught me subtleties about love, sex, relationships but also about life in general. She helped me through mental struggles. She was my first call when we got my SO’s sister out of Kyiv this year. In fact, the day of the war, we talked for over six hours in a row.

      She was always, always positive no matter the challenge. A true constant. Saw the flip side nobody else could see. No matter how ill she would get, she'd always brush it off and get back on her feet. In the two years I knew her, she had never made me cry, and her messages would always put a smile on my face.
      Difficulty tends to make people stronger. She's had an incredibly difficult life, and was the toughest person I knew.

      None of those challenges defined her. She was not defined by her gender, illness, sexuality. She was defined by her constant, absolute positivity. And her unending love for Korea.

      She believed, as I do, that we're all one entity - the universe experiencing itself. That her role here had been to spread love and positivity. I hope everyone here will be lucky enough to meet someone like her, at some point in their life.

      She was 30. The world is worse without her in it.

      33 votes
    2. Thoughts after a visit to the cemetery

      Today I went with my dog, Ketchup, to the cemetery nearby. I'm not a gothic or anything like that, but in my neighborhood, there is not much nature or open spaces. The cemetery is the one...

      Today I went with my dog, Ketchup, to the cemetery nearby. I'm not a gothic or anything like that, but in my neighborhood, there is not much nature or open spaces. The cemetery is the one exception -- a vast and peaceful green land, perfect for long walks, scattered thoughts, and occasional meditative states. Something essential for my mental health.

      I turned off the podcasts and made an effort to pacify my mind. Show some respect for the place. Listened to the birds, saught refuge when it started to rain. Ketchup is anxious, always pulling the leash, but walking among the graves seems to make him quieter. Eventually, I started to meditate on the grounds I was walking on. Walking over people. This is not a fancy cemetery with large cement tombs. In other places I visited, ostentatious displays of after-death economic status are common (and undoubtedly very interesting).

      Here, everyone shares the same, simple headstone layout. A small piece of black marble with limited space for a description, almost always containing just name, date of birth, and death.

      A few headstones contain photos in tiles, with custom phrases and affirmations ("Tragedy and comedy are one -- the face of life!", it says). An attempt, maybe, to negate the end, defy the inevitable decay. There's a certain life-affirming beauty in that stubbornness. Eventually, of course, decay always wins, and those that are forever gone (in their current bodily representation, at least...) must cede space for what relentlessly remains to be.

      One day, I will also become food for the plants, and someone will walk over me as well. That thought brings me peace.

      6 votes
    3. Thinking about death

      Up until recently my girlfriend’s grandmother had a relatively good life. She’s taken care of, had some interesting allucinations, slept most of the day and had funny interactions with her...

      Up until recently my girlfriend’s grandmother had a relatively good life. She’s taken care of, had some interesting allucinations, slept most of the day and had funny interactions with her grandaughter, some of which ended up on Instagram.

      In recent weeks, she started refusing food and spent days at the hospital. The sudden lost in autonomy made her hostile. It’s a struggle to change her diapers. The situation was made worse by the feeding tube up her nose, which she attempts to remove non-stop, and can only be replaced at the hospital. We had to restrain her arm. That is no way to live.

      She's made it very clear she does not want to be in this world any longer. Today I heard a hundred year old lady scream, multiple times: "just let me die!".

      I don't know what to make of it.

      Edit: I'd like to thank everyone's answers. I wasn't really looking for a solution since the legal situation in my country does not allow for any wiggle room. But it is always nice to read the smart people of Tildes passionately explore their ideas, sharing knowledge with compassion. Sometimes it is enough to feel less alone. Thank you and good night.

      15 votes
    4. How it feels like to think about my own death about once a day

      For the past 20 years, I thought about my own demise about once a day. Bipolar depression can do that to you. I was always prone to bouts of melancholia. Someone once wrote that the problem with...

      For the past 20 years, I thought about my own demise about once a day. Bipolar depression can do that to you. I was always prone to bouts of melancholia. Someone once wrote that the problem with melancholia is that it kinda feels good. It's addictive. Abandoning all hope is equivalent to abandoning all failure. You're suddenly in power. Eventually came the desire to die. My girlfriend lived in a high apartment and the thought of jumping from the window became a secret obsession. Every time I felt any kind of insecurity, during fights big and small, the window was always there, a reminder of a perfect solution. That's how some call suicide: a perfect solution. Something that cannot be rectified. The ultimate fantasy.

      This girlfriend eventually dumped me, and then came another. She was going to another state and I had difficulties relocating. She was a doctor, I was a freelance professional. Two very distinct economic situations. When the move proved impossible, I took a box of pills and threw myself in the pool. Happily, I soon realized that breathing was grossly underestimated, and quickly swam to the surface. That day I decided to live.

      This doesn't mean death is not a part of every single one of my days. It's like an addiction for the brain, an automatic response of the unpleasant kind. Lost a job or a relationship? Your brain suggests suicide. Is your Playstation 4 no working? Maybe you should not be living at all. Unemployed? Don't waste time and resources on a futile pursuit! For every single minor frustration that might ruin your day, I may be fighting with the thought of throwing myself in front of a train.

      I could, of course, talk to people, but how many people do you know that are able to deal with the fact that their friend/relative/partner/coworker can envision their own death multiple times a day, and for the most mundane reasons?

      No, I am not gonna kill myself, this is not a suicide watch. Living is awesome. I like eating, fucking and watching TV shows. I also think a lot about suicide. And it sucks.

      26 votes
    5. I had to put my best friend to sleep today

      Olly never liked people very much. He was rescued at ~9 months old wandering around the streets in my hometown. Because of this, and perhaps his past, he had an aversion to lots of commotion,...

      Olly never liked people very much. He was rescued at ~9 months old wandering around the streets in my hometown. Because of this, and perhaps his past, he had an aversion to lots of commotion, people he didn't know, or unexpected noise. But between all of that, he came to trust me, and placed his faith in me—his twelve year old owner. He grew up with me, as I went through high school, then university, a few jobs, and more.

      My furry companion, who at night would sleep on my bed, curled up, paws covering his eyes (but only after licking my hand with his raspy tongue for minutes on end) and during the day would wander outside—safety assured, away from any main roads, with lots of high grass to wander through—or lounge under the sun in the front yard.

      He always had to be the boss—have things his way. A large, well-built 6.5kg ginger-tabby who was neutered much later than you'd normally neuter a kitten. This bossiness extended to the neighbourhood competition. He didn't like other cats much, either. This would lead to an occasional, emotionally painful (for both of us) trip to the vets to treat a scratch, or bite. A 20 minute drive in a cat box, as he meowed and sobbed his head off—telling us in no uncertain terms, "let me out!".

      And do you think he'd ever let you pick him up? Not a chance. Everything has to be on his terms! But in between his assertiveness, he shared his love for me, bumping his head into mine, gently touching my face with his paw on occasion, being a part of my life as I was a part of his.

      Unfortunately, none of us can escape the forever ticking of time. 13 good years pass. For the past week though, he started becoming more introverted, would sleep more—and eat less. Taking this kind of cat to the vet is a judgement call that you don't make lightly. Do you cause stress and anxiety, making him trust you less for weeks on end, make him spend more time outside, away from your watchful eye? Or do you visit the vet less frequently, but still proactively, if you know something is definitely wrong?

      I made the latter decision last night, taking him to afterhours. The triage indicated a heart murmur, and a blood panel indicated parameters that might be indicative of mild renal dysfunction—to be followed up at the proper vet tomorrow. So he was sent home, with some precautionary injections, and an appetite and hydration boost.

      Sadly, I never got that opportunity to take him for a follow up. He slept with me that night, but his condition deteriorated rapidly this morning. I rushed him to the proper vet, watching him helplessly tremble and vocalise his scaredness. I can't help but cry as I type this. The staff told me it was time. I knew it, and in some ways, I think he did too. I'm glad I got to give him the opportunity to fade away peacefully.

      I don't have many frames of reference to compare this part of my life to, but it seems to me this is the most pain I've ever felt over a single event. You might be able to get another cat, but you definitely can't get another Olly. A part of my heart is forever gone. I'm a believer that the pain doesn't really go away, you probably just learn to cope with it more, to focus on the years of good, and not the hours of bad. I really hope I can do that, because he was my best friend.

      I love you, buddy. I hope you're at rest now, and I'll miss you always. 🧡

      29 votes
    6. Is death always tragic?

      I'll preface this by saying this post is birthed out of a small argument I'm having on Reddit, but the topic seems like a worthwhile one. (And I'm not getting much other than downvotes for a...

      I'll preface this by saying this post is birthed out of a small argument I'm having on Reddit, but the topic seems like a worthwhile one. (And I'm not getting much other than downvotes for a counterargument over there!)

      The initial question is whether or not the death of someone who is very old (95 years or more) should be considered tragic. Some things to consider:

      1. The overall health and condition of the person.
      • Are they in constant state of suffering?
      1. The wishes of the person.
      • Do they actively wish to be dead? This might not even be out of suffering. Some people, as they get to be quite old, are just bored of their lives or want this stage to be over. Anecdotally, my great-grandmother was this way from the ages of 90 and onward. (She quite famously would greet cashiers with "I want to die.")
      1. Are they still active?
      • Do they still find meaning in what they are doing? For example, David Attenborough is 93 years old and is still a big presence on the world stage. Despite his great age, if he were to die, his work would still be ‘cut short.’
      1. The circumstances by which they die.
      • Was it sudden, or did it take a long time? Was it painful? Was it violent?

      This list is not exhaustive. I welcome suggestions for what should be added to it.

      There is also how we define tragedy. In general terms, it typically just alludes to an event that causes great suffering and distress. I think this is the definition that we are more concerned with. Alternatively, there is the theatrical definition of tragedy, which is more tied to the leading character suffering some major downfall at the end of the narrative. While we could construe the death of someone in real life this way, it seems to be a bit of a stretch as most of us do not live out our lives in three-act structures with a clear climax and finale. (I’m going to rule out this definition now, if not just for the sake of argument.)

      Balancing all of these thoughts, I think the crux of where disagreement lies is in how we feel about death for the deceased versus our own selfish desires. Bringing this back to my anecdote, about twenty years ago, my great-grandmother passed at the age of 94. She spent at least the last 5 years of her life pleading to God to finally take her. Her health was fine. She lived in her house, alone, fully capable of maintaining it (and herself). In fact, in the year prior to her death, she was so physically active that she painted all 200 feet of her white picket fence! By all means, she was not physically suffering. She just simply wanted to go.

      Then she did. I think the group consensus was something akin to, “Well, I guess she finally got what she wanted. I’m going to miss her.” It was a feeling of simultaneously being happy for her and grief for ourselves.

      To which, does this make for a tragedy?

      Some might call it splitting hairs, but what I am arguing is that the death itself was not tragic. What is tragic is our loss of the ability to interact with that person and the feelings of grief that follow. I cannot help but feel these are ultimately separate things that we have such a difficult time reconciling. Part of life is death, and as long as we revere life, we must also revere the last part of it. If we did this better, we might have an easier time accepting things like medical-assistance-in-dying. It is for this reason that I say, death, by default, does not necessitate tragedy.

      However while death is not necessarily tragic, I do think there are a multitude of conditions that would make death sufficiently tragic. Looking back at my list above, the death of a young healthy person would be considered tragic. Suppose someone was violently beheaded; this could be considered tragic. Even suppose that the 93-year-old David Attenborough passed away, I would think his death to be tragic as he wanted to offer more to the world.

      Anyway, I think I’ve rambled enough. What are your thoughts?

      11 votes
    7. Is is possible to mourn someone you didn't even know?

      When I was in high school, I toured Boneyard Studios, a tiny house collective in the DC metro region. I met a man named Jay Austin, who built a tiny house by himself. He showed me his home, and I...

      When I was in high school, I toured Boneyard Studios, a tiny house collective in the DC metro region. I met a man named Jay Austin, who built a tiny house by himself. He showed me his home, and I thought it was damn near one of the coolest things. Jay, despite being a bit older than I, had some of the same sensibilities as I did, I think. He and his girlfriend Lauren started an awesome round the world cycling trip and documented it in their blog Simply Cycling. Reading his words, I really do see myself in Jay, although I only ever met him once and he likely didn't even remember me afterwards.

      One of the things Jay wrote was as follows:

      You read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil.

      I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own … By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.

      This amazing perspective is something I wish I was able to write myself. Because I truly believe it. Jay Austin is a man who I would look forward to seeing where his life takes him. I wish I could buy him a coffee and discuss the adventures he has had. The adventures that inspire me to think about where I want my life to take me.

      Lauren, Jay, and several other cyclists were killed last Summer by several Tajikistani men who pledged allegiance to ISIS. I cried when I heard. And I didn't even know why. I felt as if Jay was a man not unlike myself. I find myself crying because, even though Jay comes from a totally different background than I, our shared values make me feel like we come from the same place. I feel like I lost someone closer to me than I really did. And even now, months later, I find myself, a grown adult man who really doesn't cry for any reason, crying again, as I write this post.

      I really wish I believed in an afterlife. I wish I could shake Jay Austin's hand and tell him he is one of my role models. But I never will be able to. And in all honesty, I don't even know if I should be allowed to mourn someone I have hardly met, let alone how to go about it. So I guess I wrote this post.

      I just wanted the world to know how much of a light, at least in my life, Jay Austin, a man I met only once, really was.

      30 votes
    8. Suicide, and the way we talk about it

      Last night before bed, I was posting about some books that I really liked. One of them is called Stay: A History of Suicide & The Philosophies Against It. Another person noted that it sounded...

      Last night before bed, I was posting about some books that I really liked. One of them is called Stay: A History of Suicide & The Philosophies Against It. Another person noted that it sounded interesting, and I started to reply to that user. I got about a paragraph in before stepping back and thinking, "this isn't something I should write here," and deleting everything.

      This morning, I rolled over and checked my phone. Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide at 61.. This hurts. I loved Bourdain, his work for years was to broaden our cultural awareness and open us up to new worlds. He was, in many ways, a tangible Star Trek. His death will be mourned by thousands, and that he was taken by suicide will be considered by many, many, other people with suicidal thoughts.

      Suicide spreads as a contagion - it can be looked on almost epidemiologically. The way that we talk about suicide is... Telling. It's something that we try to avoid talking about, despite us almost all knowing someone who has died by suicide.

      I have worked in mental health for several years and in high acuity settings the past year. I work with people experiencing suicidal ideation every single day. It is often my job to talk around what I consider to be a monster that lives in our heads. To try and convince or guide people away from their monster and take the day for themselves. Some of the people I've worked with have ideation only, sometimes they have had as many as two dozen hospital-resulting attempts in their history. This work is stressful, it's draining. It's very meaningful, especially when change or at least the flash of change is present. It hurts, too, when it isn't enough.

      A big part of our education attempts is to be able to talk about the monster. It isn't easy for someone experiencing suicidal ideation to talk about it. There are fears that they will be seen as attention seeking - they are! It is a just thing to seek attention when you feel that you're losing the battle. There are fears that they won't be taken seriously - and often they are not. We minimize our problems to bad days or bad weeks or bad years. We say, "Just get over it," and sometimes people simply do not have the capacity to do it by themselves.

      We would never, ever, tell someone with a broken arm to get over it without treatment. We would never, ever, tell someone with a bone protruding from their leg that they were just looking for some attention. And yet, this is how we approach mental health.

      I have been suicidal myself, somewhere in the haze of depression that clung to me for about five years. Even as I write this, I feel the urge to minimize it and say, "but never to the severity of those I've worked with." Simultaneously minimizing my own experience and serving to stigmatize those that I serve. The monster's power lies in its language. The more we refuse to talk about it, the more we isolate, the more control it has.

      I went to counseling for sixteen weeks, and was only minimally invested. It took me another two years after having left counseling to start using the tools. A big part of my own ability to hold on was the book, Stay, because of its humanistic approach to prevention, one that does not rely on religion. An unfortunate thing about working in mental health is that I now understand what it is to plant a seed and not know if it will grow or not.

      Anyway, I wanted to write something about this when I saw the news this morning. One of the major themes of Stay is that suicide is theft not just from your friends and family, but from yourself. I have not felt suicidal or depressed for several years, and I can say that this theft would have been true. Except it doesn't include just my friends or family, but the people that I've interacted with and helped with similar thinking styles along the way.

      I encourage you, if you think a friend or colleague is struggling, ask the questions. "How are you feeling today?" You never know how this might help. Do you feel like someone you know might be suicidal? Ask the question. Asking someone if they are feeling suicidal is not a significant trigger that may cause them to commit - though this fear often stops us from asking. Consider, they live with the monster every day, how welcome it must be to have someone else recognize it?

      I will leave off with Hamlet's Soliloquy. I have never been huge on Shakespeare, lacking time to read. I read this as well in Stay, and now I listen to it frequently. I even had the opportunity to use it in a Group I lead the other day.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYZHb2xo0OI

      20 votes