Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “suicide”

Cowboy Up

In the West, there is an admonition that means one ought to be tough.  The phrase is this:  “Cowboy up!”  It is used to encourage.

For example, if a cowboy is complaining about having to do something difficult, another cowboy would likely say, “Cowboy up.”  It means to face what you need to face.  It means to do what you need to do.  It means the same as another catch phrase, one formerly used in Nike ads, “Just do it.”  I am guessing the derivation might be about getting up on a horse that is likely to buck.  (Mount up and be ready for a ride, i.e., Cowboy up).

You do not have to be a cowboy in order to cowboy up.  A non-cowboy can be tough.  A non-cowboy might figuratively have to endure a rough ride of one kind of another.

For two examples, I will tell you about my Uncle Luke and about my Friend Bill.  They each have faced something more difficult than anything that I have faced  — A.L.S., also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.    Talk about tough men!

Recently, I spoke separately to two young men who had threatened suicide.  I did not tell them to cowboy up. That is not always therapeutic.  I listened to the hopelessness they felt about life circumstances.   I also encouraged them, or tried to, by telling them about the courage of Uncle Luke and Friend Bill,  facing A.L.S., and how those tough men have inspired me.   I agreed that life can be difficult, but reminded them that life is precious too.  Too precious to throw away.

That realization, that life is precious, is the reason to cowboy up.

One Day at a Time

It can be positive to live each day like the last so as to make the most of life without regrets.

It can be unhealthy to live each day like the last in the sense that one wonders about ending life the next day,  enduring one more day without hope.

It can be courageous to live one day at a time while trying to overcome addiction or the difficulty of an unrelenting medical condition.

Some people are fighting to survive; others are longing to die.

Same choice.  Different perspectives.


Another Funeral

Tomorrow is the funeral.

When Jamie posted on Facebook that his teenage son, Adam, had committed suicide, Sugar told me about it and I called him.  We had a good talk about Adam, about addiction, about depression, about divorce, about family, about grieving, about the Bible, and about Jamie’s faith.  He wept.  I tried to comfort him.   

I did not know Jamie that well.  We just met at a couple of Sugar’s art shows and hit it off.  Jamie’s planters made from re-cycled tires are very unique so we bought a few.  I just thought he could use a friend when I heard of Adam’s death.  I told him to call me if he wanted to talk more, but I did not call him again.

That was in November.  In December, Sugar offered Jamie a spot in her Handmade for the Holidays show at the Hilton.  He decided to not participate.

 Tomorrow is Jamie’s funeral.  He could not bear living any longer.  He hung himself in the shed behind his rented house. A lady from church told us.  She thought we’d want to know.

Jamie’s pain is something I can only imagine but not understand. God understands. May God grant Jamie the peace that passeth all understanding.

Not Forgotten and Not Gone

Today is the funeral for a young man,

The son of a friend.

He was 23.

He won’t be 24.

Hopelessness yesterday.

A funeral today.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Gone today, gone tomorrow.

Gone tomorrow, gone the next day.

Gone except in memories of those who cared.

Here in loving hearts.

There with the Lord.

Even death cannot separate us from the love of God.

Even death cannot separate us from those we love.

Here yesterday.  Still here today.

Keeping On

To be or not to be.

To live or die.

To quit or try.

To  forfeit or show up.

To stay down or get up.

To fight or  surrender.

To turn back or stay the course.

To persevere or stop.

To keep on keeping on, or not.

That is the question.

Right to Choose

Dylan Klebold’s mother admitted that when she learned he was one of the Columbine shooters, she prayed he would kill himself . He did it.

The Craigslist killer also killed himself, but he did it while in prison, after conviction for murder.

James Holmes, the alleged Aurora theatre shooter, has not been convicted yet, but he is in jail and, reportedly, has attempted suicide.

Should he be prevented from commiting suicide? Would you look the other way if you were on the jail staff? Wouldn’t it be ironic if the jailers would be disciplined for letting the killer kill himself?

Usually “the right to choose” is used in the context of a woman choosing whether to have an abortion, which choice involves the life of another, the baby.  The choices of the men listed above involve whether to continue their own lives after ending the lives of others.

I am not going to write a deep theological or ethical or even legal thesis on this subject. I was just thinking about these three killers (I mean two killers and one accused alleged killer).

For the same reason that Mrs. Klebold prayed for her son to shoot himself, which was probably not for punishment but so he would be spared the legal process in which Mr. Holmes is involved, it might not be malicious for us to allow him that way out of the justice system. He knows whether he is guilty. Maybe he should be allowed the right to choose “to be or not to be.” That is the question.

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