MY SISTER'S ADVICE
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. 32 weeks ago yesterday, my sister died by suicide. I tried to prevent it. I failed at that. I honestly don’t even know how possible it is to prevent suicide. I think that comes down to each individual and each individual set of circumstances. I know my sister had made up her mind and my sister’s mind, once made up, was nearly impossible to change. Particularly by her baby sister. But, that doesn’t mean I think we should stop trying.
There are too many particulars pertaining to my sister’s death to share in a blog post—at least, I don’t have it in me today. And, there are many, many variables that contribute to the overall lack of wellness in our world (mental and otherwise—they’re all connected), which lead to our staggering suicide stats. Also too many to cover here.
But, here’s what I know: People are pushed and pulled in every direction every day to the point of absolute exhaustion. It’s not sustainable. We’re conditioned to focus on the wrong things, the things that boost capitalism and decimate character. We’re killing the environment that sustains us, filling our bodies and brains with toxic waste, and, somehow, still expecting to be okay.
Here’s what else I know: We need nature. We need art—our OWN creative expression, whatever form it comes in, whether it’s Quantum Physics, auto mechanics, performance or visual art. And, most of all, we need one another. We NEED one another. We need community. We need to know we belong to something bigger than ourselves. And ALL of these elements need to be put in place in our early, early days.. in our infancy, and nurtured all the way up through our lives. Our well-being and total integration with nature needs to be prioritized over “status” and “bling” and economics and nationalism and all the rest of the bullshit noise.
Collectively we are unwell. But, we CAN get better. And, if we truly want to prevent suicide, we must. It’s not too late to get off the roller coaster and choose a different ride.
The last piece of advice my sister ever gave me was, “Do something that makes you breathe.” If there is only one thing you can do today, do that. Your breath will make it better. 🧡
Life takes guts. “I love your guts.” -elemem