I Don’t Know Why
By Iris M. Bolton
I don’t know why…
I’ll never know why…
I don’t have to know why…
I don’t like it…
I don’t have to like it…
What I do have to do is make a choice about my living.
What I do want to do is to accept it and go on living.
The choice is mine.
I can go on living, valuing every moment in a way I never did before,
Or I can be destroyed by it and in turn, destroy others.
I thought I was immortal, that my children and my family were also,
That tragedy happened only to others…
But I know now that life is tenuous and valuable.
And I choose to go on living, making the most of the time I have,
Valuing my family and friends in a way I never experienced before.
To Bob -
In life, all who knew you well would attest – that –
right or wrong – you did what you thought best.
You were stubborn, determined, and right to the end, you were my lover – my headache – my friend.
You had all my love and I know that you knew- my heart would be broken were I to lose you.
You were brave, so courageous, with courage so strong, but no one could fix all the things that went wrong
You were such a good sport when things got so rough, but the day finally came when enough was enough
The food and the shelter I so gladly shared were to me just a token of the way that I cared
But to you, after years of paying your way, were painful reminders of life gone astray.
You were good at your job, but as any proud man, when your earning power ended, your dying began
Although you spoke often of using that gun; we discussed and we argued and I thought I had won.
Your answer to all of my ifs, ands or buts was to say, “Oh, don’t worry, I don’t have the guts.”
And now in these weeks since you left me behind, I’ve gone over and over those days in my mind --
To find the one moment that might have been changed, your actions to alter, your plans rearrange
You were so tired of hurting and fighting and trying that the only way out, as you saw it, was dying.
If only you’d known of the void you would leave – how friends you thought had forgotten would grieve –
“I had no idea he was feeling so bad”
“He said ‘let’s get together’, I wish now we had”
“If only I’d known he was feeling so lonely!”
“If only I’d called him” ….. if only …… if only…..
But all those ‘if only’s’ cannot change the fact that you carried it out, that unspeakable act
Of your death, as your life, you have taken control, and may God understand, and be kind to your soul?
I will see you again, this I am certain of
I forgive you – I miss you – You still are my love.
~Jeri Livingstone – September, 1987
I Am Alive
By Jeff Schuck
I am alive.
I may have lost my son or daughter,
...but I am a survivor of the long dark night
of unspeakable loss.
The unbearable pain
of my own darkness,
And, I am alive.
I am unwilling to stand idly by and allow shame
to defeat love or silence to defeat action.
I stand for the enlightenment of a society that would hide from parental grief, that would avoid, that would pretend,
and I am alive.
I am unwilling for my perseverance to be in vain,
unwilling for the passing of my child
to be in shame.
I loved my child more than I loved myself,
and my child's life will have meaning.
in my action.
I am resolved,
and I am alive.
In a world blinded by the pursuit of pleasure,
I am here to say
that people are in pain.
In a world rushing to get ahead,
I am here to say,
that people are being left behind.
In a world obsessed with the value of the market,
I am here to speak
For the value of life,
And I am alive.
This will be no quiet fight,
for I am the voice of audacity
in the face of apathy.
I am the spirit of bravery
in a word of action.
I am a commitment to action
in the face of neutrality.
I am out of the darkness.
I am into the light.
and I ---
I am alive.
This was given by Jeff Schuck
at the opening and closing ceremonies at the
OUT OF THE DARKNESS 26 mile, night time
walk event for suicide awareness and prevention,
in Washington DC
the weekend of August 17-18, 2002.