Monday, March 06, 2006

It's been a long time, and I needed the break; the holidays were tough, but I managed, and now it's spring and things are blooming, love surrounds me, and life goes on.

Except sometimes it doesn't, or it doesn't in the way you wish it would.

There's a guy who works here at the university. He's a janitor, a little older than me, short, overweight, adores his wife (who has some major health problems), always has something kind to say, remembers everyone's name, has a smile and a greeting for all, and never, ever complains. You look at him, and your thought is: Happy. He's content. He's glad to be alive. Yet another man in his position might resent the job, avoid the people, complain about his wife, and keep his eyes on the ground. Instead, he makes everyone's day a little brighter. You just know that he carries joy with him, all day long, and by giving bits of joy away, he gets even more back.

I like to call this the "Little Mary Sunshine" method of life motivation. It's not for everyone. There aren't that many of us out there, and most of them are far sunshinier than me, but that's OK, because it isn't a competition. It's a way of life. Life is good, even if it hasn't been quite what I expected, and even if it took way too many years to realize that and find the joy in every day. My off-the-straight-and-narrow-road adventures have made me the person I am today, and I'm not sure I'd trade that for an easier ride.

Last night, though, a 26-year-old man, the brother of my son-in-law, decided to try and cut his own life short. He's in ICU and no one can say if he's going to pull through or not; there is no way to know.

He's young, tall and handsome, never had to worry about his health. There are so many "if only"s from his family members, so many "why"s, "I wish"s or "I should have"s. I have them too, even though I was only peripherally involved with his life. We want to be able to blame ourselves, even though that won't make things better and will only make us feel worse.

It was a struggle for me to learn to live and thrive with the crap life has given me, but somehow I managed. Why isn't it easier to share that hard-won knowledge?

I wish I could have helped. While I know there wasn't anything for me to do, I still feel as though I have somehow let everyone down; and if I feel this way, how must his mom feel? His brother? His dad? Yet, in the end, there was really nothing any of them could have done either.

I'd give him all the years I had left if it would bring him back and allow him to understand that life is good. Even if all you can do is sit and feel the sun on your face.

If anyone out there is reading this and contemplating suicide -- please, PLEASE tell someone, and keep telling people until someone understands that you are serious. Give life a chance. Give your friends and family the chance to help you; asking for help is not weak, and it is not too much trouble, and you are not a burden.

For anyone else who reads this, I hope you take the time today to sit in the sun (or some other place that makes you happy) and enjoy that sense of being that is so freely given to all of us. Take joy in your life; I hope Jeron will someday, somehow find a sense of joy in his own.


Maureen said...

Welcome back to 'blogland', Jodie. We've missed you!

Thanks for sharing your story. You're very right that there's so much to live for and it's important to listen to and support someone who's feeling overwhelmed.

I hope your son-in-law's brother pulls through.

Leann said...


I'm so happy to see you!!

I'm sorry to hear your sad news tho :-( Please know my prayers will be with you and and your family extended by blood.

Did I say welcome back? :-)

Jodie said...

It's good to be back -- thanks for the welcome.