Sorry this is so long. But it seemed worth saying.
As I’ve written elsewhere on Reddit, there was a time, in fact more than once, in which I faced similar circumstances. My parents died when I was a kid; after my mom died, I went to live with my grandmother. Six months later she died. I spent a significant portion of high school living in the back of my mother’s Pinto.
In college, I worked at multiple jobs to pay off my mom’s debts because no one told me I didn’t have to. Eventually I fled the States. I lived in Paris for a while, working at menial jobs. I met a girl I loved profoundly; we married, and within a year she died.
I came back to the States broken and broke, dejected, feeling totally alone. Heartsick does not describe what I was. I went back to school for reasons I won’t get into here.
Please understand: up to that point, I felt as though my entire life had been swallowed by sorrow, guilt, depression, loneliness. It was as though I were being punished for crimes I’d committed in an earlier life. Or as though I was suffering so that others wouldn’t have to. That was the kind of irrationality I was experiencing.
At the end of the school year I’d be homeless. You haven’t eaten in half a day? Try a week and a half. I was collecting bottles so I could buy plain pasta (couldn’t afford ramen). I was digging bagels from the student union garbage.
Anyway, one day, I was walking to school, and in the midst of my dejection I saw some tulips. Purple, yellow, red, white. And I thought of how pretty they were. And of how, simply by thinking that thought, I had done something that hadn’t hurt anyone. And I had the epiphany that I could fill myself with things that I liked that didn’t hurt anyone. Sunsets. The feel of a breeze on my face.
And in that moment, my life changed. Like the ancient mariner, it was as though whatever curse under which I’d been living my entire life was broken. Around that time, a woman came up to me in the law school library and introduced herself to me. It took me more than a year to speak to her again. But when I did, we began dating. We’ve been together ever since. We have 2 children I adore and a job that lets me try to do the right thing every single day.
You want to know why it would be bad to commit suicide? Because no matter how hard you tried, if you loved life and wanted to live forever, you would fail. Because no matter what, you will die one day. Because once you die you will be dead forever. And because no matter how much you think you know, you don’t know what will happen before then.
If I had died back then, and seriously I’d considered it, I would have missed the overwhelming joy that even now brings tears to my eyes at the memory of when I first heard my son’s heartbeat. I would have missed his hugging me and telling me he loved me. I would’ve missed every day getting to be his dad.
I would’ve missed my beautiful little girl, who comes running to me, after her bath, as naked as the day she was born, giggling hysterically while my wife gives chase.
I would’ve missed my wife, who is the best person I’ve ever met. Who has stayed with me through good and bad for now almost 20 years.
I would’ve missed reddit. I would’ve missed computers, which I love. I would’ve missed getting game-winning hits in softball, which I’ve played at a competitively high level for all of my adult life. I would’ve missed comic books and good computer games and the occasional good movie.
I would’ve missed being able to help people on my job. Here’s a story: I only can reveal so much. But a woman had her children taken from her by CPS improperly. She had to move out of her house, was barred from seeing the children, and, because the children were placed with her mother, couldn’t even see her own mom. She was utterly isolated from her family, due to a CPS mistake. But all the evidence indicated that she was a great mother. This past December, I was able to get them returned to her. It brought me incredible happiness to imagine her reading the decision and getting her children back right before Christmas. I couldn’t have done that if I’d given up.
I could not have imagined this life.
See, there are all these things you can experience before you die, in the very few years you have left. So if you’re going to die, anyway, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you might as well stick around to see what changes.
You can get a job. A menial job, sure. But I’ve had those. They don’t kill you. You can find a place to live temporarily. Shelters aren’t the best, but they’re a start. I’ve lived in worse. Food pantries can offer you food.
And once you’ve stabilized your life, friends will come. Volunteer, go back to school, once you start working. Take things one step at a time and stop misleading yourself that the past is a mirror of the future.
All these difficulties don’t have to last.
I am proof they don’t have to last. I also am proof that life can change in an instant. But you have to be around to see it.
TLDR: You’ll be dead a long time, so you might as well stick around a while to see what happens.