Monday, February 8, 2010


Someone close to me just lost a friend. This friend hung himself during a party. Can you imagine? His dad found him.

I have a character that's somewhat obsessed with suicide and I have to decide if I am going to try to stop her when and if the time comes.

Did you know that the number one place people choose to end their own lives is The Golden Gate Bridge? The number two place is The Aokigahara Forest in Japan, a very spooky place that has something to do with demons, or so I've heard.

Below are the lyrics to the theme song from M*A*S*H. Robert Altman's son Mike Altman wrote the lyrics. His dad only made $70,000 for directing the movie, but Mike earned upwards of a million bucks from this song. Check out Lady and Bird's rendition, it's very good.

"Suicide is Painless" by Johnny Mandel) - M*A*S*H Lyrics

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...


That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.


The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.


The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows it grin, but...


A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
'is it to be or not to be'
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you choose.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.


Journaling Woman said...

I have suicide in my family. I think because we have so much depression.

It really hurts to lose people that way.

Jan Morrison said...

I have long considered suicide my enemy. I see many young adults in my role as psychotherapist. I have lost one to suicide although it was deemed a motor accident. I know better. It is terrible, always painful because it arises out of pain and is rarely done well. It is sometimes a failed cry for help or as in your friend's friend case - an act of anger and extreme aggression. When I saw the title of your post come up I started singing Suicide is Painless - such an evocative song and so right on even when it seems not to be. I'm very sorry for your friend and as Journaling Woman points out - suicide does run in families and so must be treated as any deadly virus would be. Depression is a silent and often victorious killer - of people, of dreams, of tomorrow. Thanks for talking about the unimaginable - it is one of the most powerful ways to conquer this scourge.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

For once I feel at a loss for words. My heartaches for the tragic loss of this precious life.

lakeviewer said...

Scary! I had not paid attention to the words of that song. Suicide is most prevalent among the youth. We all have to be alert to the signs of depression and possible suicide.

Jemi Fraser said...

I lost a dear friend to suicide several years ago. Still hurts. Always will.

Jeanie said...

As bad a tragedy for a person and their family as there is. Let us know what you decide with your character.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. Suicide is such a tragic, complicated thing.

Cheryl said...

I can't imagine from personal experience though I've seen what it does to others.

That forest, not to mention the bridge, must be really haunted...

Carrie said...

Nine years ago I lost a very dear friend to suicide via hanging. It's a painful thing to inflict on others.

Fireblossom said...

I never liked that show or that song. I realize that pretty much everyone else in the western world did.

My closest friend from my teenage years commited suicide.

Tabitha Bird said...

I have long battled depression and at its worst I was very close to making the choice to end things. Thank God I did not. That is very sad about your friend's friend. But I do understand how dark life can seem sometimes. I must have had some big angles around me :)

Lori said...

Suicide is indeed so painful to everyone. Especially to those left behind wondering what they did wrong. I cannot imagine the guilt of not being able to help a loved on in such despair. And I do remember dark and deep adolescent years when suicide did seem like a possible answer.

Anonymous said...

I think it's so sad that people come to a place in their life where they feel it is better to stop living... Everybody has sooo many different reasons and I am not one to judge. Let's just hope there is enough help out there for those who need it.

Macy said...

I only stopped actively planning my suicide when my partner was diagnosed with cancer.
Without implying any kind of judgement on other suicides, or trivialising my own thoughts, I had to face up to other responsibilities and priorities.

Nancy said...

Wow, I'm so sorry for the person close to you and the family of the young man. Tragic doesn't begin to explain it. A young mother in the neighborhood that we lived in a couple of years ago committed suicide, leaving two tiny little girls. She had put them down for their nap and called their father to come home. The neighbors were organized to take them meals and I will never forget their little faces...

On another note - I'm so glad you banished those nasty little voices. I really don't care for those guys myself, and they're definitely wrong about you!

Stacy Post said...

This is a rough time of year for a lot of folks. I hope your friend has a good support system to get through the loss. (At least we know they have you, and that's a blessing!) I think writing a suicidal character would be rough. Best of luck and let us know how it turns out!

Suldog said...

My step-sister committed suicide. It is a tremendously selfish thing to do. You leave behind grief that can never be assuaged.

Having said that, I understand that demons infest some tragic people's souls and they truly see it as a viable option. Shame, that. There is always someone willing to listen, to try to help, to offer medicines, or spirituality, or other possibilities beyond pure death.

Wistful Writer said...

I don't mean to rock the boat here, but for all of you who say that suicide is selfish and that it is painful to those other than the one who committed suicide, I would like for all of you to read up on suicide.

Please, take a step back from yourselves. Saying how suicide is selfish and painful to the victim's loved ones is, when you think about it, in fact a self-centered thing to say.

The person who commits suicide is in so much pain and suffering. Imagine if you were suffering the worst pain you can possibly fathom, and the only solution to ending it was to end your life: would you be thinking of how everyone else feels? Even when you are simply having a terrible rotten day, do you think of how someone else might feel because of your nasty attitude? Magnify that a thousand times and you may begin to understand how some suicidal people may feel.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind all of us that we should be more conscientious towards those we love. We never know when they will leave us, so treat each day as an opportunity to show how much you love them.

Marguerite said...

So sorry to hear about your friend's loss. This is the most tragic way to end life, especially hard for the survivors. Hugs!

Pop Art Diva said...

The one thing about suicide is that you can't take it back. To think that people have lost all hope is truly the saddest thing and the pain for those left behind is an open wound that never heals.

As for the song "Suicide is Painless" I have always loved that song despite it's subject matter. The fact that it was written by a 14 year old boy makes the lyrics even more poignant, but it's the melody that has always lured me.

BTW, now I understand why I've always been freaked out while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge! Of course, most of the time I was driving a 30 foot motorhome w/ a van behind it and the winds on the North side access can be truly nasty!

If your character commits suicide there will be no sequels . . . just sayin'

Al said...

I have know so many people who have taken this desperate step. I have also worked with people who were suicidal in a professional capacity.
All I can say is that it is a tragedy for all concerned.
For those who are left their is always grief and guilt.
For those who take their lives (or even attempt) there is a terrible unbearable pain.
I prefer the REM song "Everybody Hurts". Its central message of 'hold on' is invaluable, while it does not trivialise the pain.
As a writer I find it fascinating that you have to ask "I wonder..." I often feel my characters are not in my control, as if I am channelling their stories.


Publish or Perish

Al said...

oops that should be "for those who are left THERE..."
Inexcusable slip of the keyboard!


Publish or Perish

Kim said...

This is such a painful thing. I cannot imagine a parent finding my child this way. I grieve for your friend and their family.

Jenn said...

A very close friend of mine killed herself back in high school and ever since this subject has been very difficult for me to process. I never understood the inclination until a couple years ago when things in my life actually did seem so hopeless that maybe it WAS the only way to fix/change them. Luckily I didn't go down that path because I am in such a better place now but it is such a difficult thing to face let alone talk about. I am so sorry to hear of this young man's death. I hope his family is able to come to terms with it someday but for now I offer all of you big prayers.

gayle said...

So tragic!! Thank God I don't know anyone that has taken their own life.

Linda Lee Foltz said...

My Uncle killed himself and I saw my father, a wonderful, supportive brother, blame himself and harbor lifelong guilt. On the other hand, my girlfriend's father committed suicide and she felt some relief. He had molested her for years. Suicide is a difficult topic. Those left behind bear the scars, the doubts, and the guilt, plus lots and lots of anger that can be difficult, if not impossible, to resolve. Linda

Nishant said...

It really hurts to lose people that way.

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