Is Suicide Painless?

If you’re in your 40’s, I’m pretty sure you grew up watching M*A*S*H, a medical dramedy about a medical surgical unit situated in the middle of the Korean war. It wasn’t a life-altering experience for me, just part of the background noise of my growing up. 28(!) years after the series finale, I can only remember a few things – Hot Lips Houlihan and her boob of a boyfriend, feeling indignant at the non-Korean actors portraying Koreans and embarrassed at their laughable attempts at speaking Korean, among other things. But mostly I recall the show’s opening theme song, a hauntingly beautiful instrumental version of “Suicide is Painless.” I once knew all the grim words to this song (as a moody teenager with strict parents, I’m horrified to admit that I had given some thought to how miserable I could make my parents by killing myself), but the only words that still stick in my mind today are it’s provocative title.

I share this because a friend of mine committed suicide a few weeks ago. A beautiful, generous, caring woman, who had been battling depression for a number of years. I’ve been out of touch with her since our university days, but occasionally our circles would intercept and we would reconnect for an event with mutual friends. We’d hug and talk about how “we must get together!” for coffee or lunch, but neither of us ever took the time to make anything happen.

Back in university, she was smart, beautiful and drove a Volkswagen Cabriolet. Navy with a white top. She had an older boyfriend who took her to fancy dinners while I was struggling with acne and midterm exams. If I’m being honest, I probably envied her more than befriended her, and that makes me hang my head in shame now. So what the fuck happened? Her life now was not all that different from mine – a daughter, a job, family, friends – except she was saddled with a disease that people don’t really talk about much. Since hearing about her lonely death, I’ve been struggling with my emotions – shock, sorrow, guilt and anger among them and that sad melody floated back into my consciousness.

At her funeral, the guilt in the room was palpable. Suicide is not painless, and most definitely not painless for those you leave behind. I don’t profess to know anything about mental illness, except to say that it really frightens me. Mental illness robbed my friend of her capacity to think logically and act accordingly. Despite all external appearances, she felt powerless and alone. Sadly I heard she reached out to several people from her life in the week before she died, quite probably to say goodbye, but no one clued in until it was too late.

Someone once told me, with every interaction you have the opportunity to start/grow or diminish/end a relationship.

May you grow some friendships today and everyday.

Rest in peace sweet friend.

Love Lucie

PS. With every comment on this post, I will make a $20 donation to the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC. Thanks for reading and call an old friend today xo

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Is Spring Break for kids only?

So I have an impossibly beautiful girlfriend – gorgeous hair, great conversationalist, and H-O-T, hot. Except for the fact that I feel like Bea Arthur when we go out for dinner together and men are swarming around her like wasps to barbequed steak in the summer, I really enjoy her company. She has just gone through a divorce and is building a beautiful life for herself and that’s a powerful energy to be around.

So I’m still not sure which side of fortunately this lands on, but a few weeks ago she asked me join her on a girls trip to Mexico for Spring Break. She said she’s rented a fabulous house on the ocean and all I needed to do was book my own flight.

Without the kids.

Or the hubby.

Sounds fabulous and yet I know that I can’t/shouldn’t go. It being Spring Break and all, I probably should hang with my kids for some family time. Plus travelling with Megan Fox’s hotter sister does nothing to make my husband feel comfortable about letting his wife-in-a-midlife-crisis travel unchaperoned to the land that invented tequila. But I tell you as we’re holed up in rainy Whistler and my other friends are posting their sun-tanned smiles from Hawaii on Facebook, I can’t help but feel a bit chained to my minivan.

Maybe a Mother’s Day girls trip to Vegas? Who’s in? Rose? Blanche? You out there somewhere?

Love Lucie (aka Dorothy)