To live and die

I was listening to the first Raincoats album, and I went to Wikipedia to get some info. I read this in the entry: "[Kurt] Cobain invited them to play on the tour Nirvana planned for the UK in April, but he died a week before the tour began."

"He died." I felt anger well up in me. He didn't fucking die. "Die" sounds like being taken by a disease in a hospital bed or maybe being killed in a car crash. Die? Don't bloody sanitize it! He didn't just die. He fucking blew his brains out.

And I felt anger because he did that. He took Kurt Cobain away from us, away from everyone. He took Nirvana away.

Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day. And right after I felt that anger, I started thinking that even though the feeling was understandable, it should not stop there. What I needed was some compassion.

Because Kurt really did die in the sense I wrote above. A disease took him. He suffered from clinical depression and gods know what else. He didn't ask for that. He might not have dealt with it very well, but he tried. No one was in his head when he made his plan. No one was in his head when he squeezed the trigger. But it's impossible to imagine him doing that unless he was in incredible pain, and that this was the only way he could see to end it.

I've never experienced pain like that. I've never formed a plan. But I have thought plenty about leaving prematurely. There were times when things were bad and I thought that my being gone would make things easier for those I loved. Really, I thought that way. There are still times when I think that I should declare an end. Ironically, sometimes that happens because things are so good. I fear the possibility of things going wrong outside my control.

Stupid, I know. But we are not always logical creatures.

Victim-blaming is no good. But when victim and perpetrator are one and the same, feelings get complicated. And yet I want to err on the side of compassion, see the victim, not the perp. No one shoots dope because they already feel good. They do it to take away pain. No one takes their own life unless that life has become intolerable, for whatever reason.

Kurt died, 18 years ago. It makes me angry. It makes me really sad. But it also makes me feel compassion. I understand the impulse. I understand the need to stop hurting.

Nothing will stop someone once they are determined, but there is so much any of us can do before it reaches that point.

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