Tag Archives: suicide

Thank You For Your Service

Today is a day for remembering our veterans. Yet we often exclude and even look with shame on those who take their own live. The following is a different take, a brief story which can save our own lives and that of our loved-ones.

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He was my cousin. He was my friend. He was a quiet and kind man, with an offbeat sense of humour.

He spoke with subdued meanness about the father he never knew. Perhaps that was a clue. Perhaps that was the beginning.

suicide

The last time I saw him, he had returned home from fighting America’s war In the land of Iraq. I asked him, “what are you going to do now that you are home”

He replied, “I want to go back and blow some brains out”

“You’re not serious,” I questioned, wondering if this was an ugly example of his warped sense of humour.  He didn’t respond. I don’t think he smiled.

In search of a more loving mood, I change the conversation. But I could not find his smile. I could not find his love.

The day I heard of his fate, I realized I had been speaking to a ghost; for the cousin and friend I once knew never returned from Iraq.

With his wife and son away from home, he took a gun pointed it to his head and like he had spoken, blew his own brains out.

Now I say tearful thanks to him for bringing greater attention to the mental illness that comes from the many wars of our lives.

His broken life sheds light on the millions of mentally ill living with sicknesses our eyes cannot see, struggling to cope with the ravages of life.

As mental illness spreads like a virus, we urgently see the need to learn how to love and how to save another mind, another lost loved-one.

To all desolate war veterans driven to take their own life, thank you for your service. Thank God for your life.

Vengeance and Anger Killed My Cousin

On Monday morning, I received one of the most tragic news of my life. My cousin, who I loved, and grew up with as a child, shot himself to death. I was devastated by this tragic loss, but interestingly enough, I was not too shocked.

Though I experienced him in our childhood, as a kind and loving playmate. With age, he unfortunately seemed to become visibly bitter and consumed with vengeance and anger.

He was in the U.S. Army, and I remember him saying that ‘he could not wait to be deployed, because he would get to kill people.’ The comment made me uncomfortable, but I chose to believe it was just his ‘dark’ attempt at humour. I could never have thought that if he were not in a legitimate war, where he could easily pull the trigger of his gun to release his vengeance and anger, he would turn the gun on himself.

This reminds me of part 3 of the movie, Ong-Bak. At the end of this film, A Thai warrior named Ting prepares to fight an evil leader and his army. Ting burns with vengeance and hate for this leader. Before the battle begins, Ting has a vision of the battle.  In the vision, I could see the vengeance and anger on his face, as he virtually obliterates the opposing army. However, the evil leader throws a spear, which pierces Ting’s heart through to the other side of his body. As he comes to terms with his impending demise, Ting hears the message:

I feed off the vengeance in your heart. You can never overcome me.

At that moment, he reverts from his vision. He rids himself of the hateful emotions that consumed him, and begins fighting. The look on his face is calm, un-emotional and focused on ridding the world of the evil enemy. Vengeance and anger is replaced by the strategy and skill that would lead to the ultimate defeat of his enemy.

My cousin, it seemed, could never get rid of his enemy, his anger. He vengeance fed off the anger in his heart. He never overcame it. It overcome him. I will forever miss him, still I thank him for a most powerful lesson. I just wish he didn’t have to give his life to teach it.