When Someone is Too Bruised to Be Touched
A Split Second without a Second Chance
A tick on a clock. A split second without a second chance. A momentary collapse into utter despair and hopelessness. A fleeting glimpse of a life once-lived not enough to sustain.
A single click on a school’s classroom clock, half a heart beat, enough for blood to travel away from, but not back to whence it came, not long enough to get a pulse, a breath exhaled—yours—but mine now in the shadow of your love.
Suicide Both Begins and Ends in Pain
There is no hell and there is no pain like the one suicide inflicts. Nobody who is healthy wants to die and nobody who is healthy wants to burden his or her loved ones with this kind of pain.Fr. Ron Rolheiser, When Someone is Too Bruised to Be Touched
Suicide both begins and ends in pain: Pain in the beginning too great to be lessened for the ones who take their lives by suicide; and in the end, ongoing pain for those who have lost their loved one to suicide. When those we love die by suicide, we grieve and struggle to make sense of what seems a senseless death.
“Why?” we ask. “Where did I go wrong?” “What did or didn’t I do that could have stopped them?”
“When Someone is Too Bruised to be Touched,” although intended in the article below to refer to those who take their lives by suicide, might well be said of those who suicide loss leaves behind.
The article included below, “When Someone is Too Bruised to be Touched,” addresses the “soul-wrenching” feelings of losing a loved one to suicide. In the midst of horrific shock, we also must move through confusion, guilt, and second-guessing (What if? and If only).
“Where did we fail this person?
What might we still have done?
What should we have noticed?”Fr Ron Rolheiser, When Someone is Too Bruised to Be Touched
“When Someone is Too Bruised to be Touched”
By Ron Rolheiser, “When Someone is Too Bruised to Be Touched”
“A few days ago, I was asked to visit a family who had, just that day, lost their 19 year-old son to suicide.
There isn’t much one can offer by way of consolation, even faith consolation, at a moment like this, when everyone is in shock and the pain is so raw. Few things can so devastate us as the suicide of a loved one, especially of one’s own child.
There is the horrific shock of losing a loved one so suddenly which, just of itself, can bring us to our knees; but, with suicide, there are other soul-wrenching feelings too, confusion, guilt, second-guessing, religious anxiety.
Where did we fail this person?
What might we still have done?
What should we have noticed?
What is this person’s state with God?
What Needs to Be Said About All of This?
What needs to be said about all of this:
First of all, that suicide is a disease and the most misunderstood of all sicknesses. It takes a person out of life against his or her will, the emotional equivalent of cancer, a stroke, or a heart attack. Second, we, those left behind, need not spend undue energy second-guessing as to how we might have failed that person, what we should have noticed, and what we might still have done to prevent the suicide.
Suicide is an illness and, as with any sickness, we can love someone and still not be able to save that person from death. God loved this person too and, like us, could not, this side of eternity, do anything either.
Finally, we shouldn’t worry too much about how God meets this person on the other side. God’s love, unlike ours, can go through locked doors and touch what will not allow itself to be touched by us.
Is this making light of suicide? Hardly. Anyone who has ever dealt with either the victim of a suicide before his or her death or with those grieving that death afterwards knows that it is impossible to make light of it.
There is no hell and there is no pain like the one suicide inflicts. Nobody who is healthy wants to die and nobody who is healthy wants to burden his or her loved ones with this kind of pain. And that’s the point: This is only done when someone isn’t healthy. The fact that medication can often prevent suicide should tell us something. Suicide is an illness not a sin.
Nobody just calmly decides to [die by] suicide and burden his or her loved ones with that death any more than anyone calmly decides to die of cancer and cause pain. The victim of suicide (in all but rare cases) is a trapped person, caught up in a fiery, private chaos that has its roots both in his or her emotions and in his or her bio-chemistry.
Suicide is a desperate attempt to end unendurable pain, akin to one throwing oneself through a window because one’s clothing is on fire.
Many of us have known victims of suicide and we know too that in almost every case that person was not full of ego, pride, haughtiness, and the desire to hurt someone. Generally it’s the opposite. The victim has cancerous problems precisely because he or she is wounded, raw, and too-bruised to have the necessary resiliency needed to deal with life.
Those of us who have lost loved ones to suicide know that the problem is not one of strength but of weakness, the person is too-bruised to be touched. . . .
By Fr Ron Rolheiser
Read More of Father Ron Rolheiser’s article: When Someone is Too Bruised to Be Touched