Bioethics Discussion Blog: Suicide: "No Way to See What Your Last Sorrow Hid"

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Suicide: "No Way to See What Your Last Sorrow Hid"

This poem which I found on Poems for Free puts into a poetic verse the very view that I commented on in my last posting. Those who know the suicide victim and even those who only hear about the suicide, usually feel a sense of guilt for someone not doing something to prevent the act. I suspect often, unlike the Bob Stern case decribed in the last post where Mr.Stern discussed openly his anticipated act with his family on a video, there is at times no unambiguous warning or explanation to those who know the victim or society itself. For more poems about suicide, go to the above link. ..Maurice.

"There's No Understanding What You Did" by
Nicholas Gordon

There's no understanding what you did,
Or why, or what we now should think or do:
No way to see what your last sorrow hid.

What unimaginable agony amid
Our ordinary lives unraveled you?
There's no understanding what you did,

No way for you to tell us why you rid
Yourself of us and family, and . . . who?
No way to see what your last sorrow hid.

Or was it you were just a spoiled kid,
Trying to make us all feel bad for you?
There's no understanding what you did,

Whether mere curiosity had bid
You to sneak ahead a lethal view;
No way to see what your last sorrow hid,

Nor penetrate that awful, granite lid
That lies between our thoughts and what is true.
There's no understanding what you did,
No way to see what your last sorrow hid.

3 Comments:

At Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:28:00 PM, Anonymous Coranth Gryphon said...

Interesting perspective, especially the sudden twist of attitude in the fourth stanza.

The majority of the poem focuses on how suicide often leaves unanswered questions, especially why the person chose to end their life.

But the line about being "a spoiled kid, Trying to make us all feel bad for you" -- that's spite searching for spite.

It's interesting that the only proposed answer to questin of "why" is to suggest that the person who committed suicide did it merely to invoke a particular feeling in others. No other suggestions of how bad or mad or sad the deceased person's life was -- nothing but blame.

I've noticed this theme frequently in discussions on suicide. That the person chose to end their own life somehow was wrong to make that choice, because of the effect it had on others.

Yet few follow that logic through to its natural conclusion -- must we always make our decisions based on how others might choose to react, regardless of what we want? We can't live our lives primarily for others, or they cease to be "our" lives.

I think that if the people surrounding suicide victims were truly more interested in what the deceased person was thinking, and less interested in placing blame, then I think there would be a lot more answers available.

Then again, that's true in most areas of life.

 
At Monday, November 14, 2011 2:00:00 AM, Blogger Christoph said...

Well, that wouldn't happen so often if people could discuss honestly their intention to commit suicide. Then others could know the reasons why, to the extent the suicidal actor wished known. And who knows? Maybe others would rally around the person and so cause their life to be worth living (you just know they'll all be patting themselves on the back about how willing they would have been to after the suicide, if only they had known). Or maybe even discussing the matter openly will lead the suicidal actor to realize that there is no joy or argument sufficient to alter their path.

But no, we don't allow freedom! Open communication! Hell no.

It's, "Talk to someone." Or, "Get help."

And if you do, you're subject to arrest and chemical or electrical assault.

 
At Monday, November 14, 2011 7:55:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

I wonder if most "others" are faced with an individual who discloses intentions for suicide what their response would be and whether they really would "rally around" or take time to talk except to advise "you should see a psychiatrist" and walk away. After all, suicide is morally distasteful to many and perhaps they look at the intender as a "spoiled kid, trying to make us all feel bad for you". Maybe I am too cynical. If so, let me know. ..Maurice.

 

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