It's been a rough week, extremely rough. I am heart broken to say, this week I lost a cousin to suicide. Needless to say my entire (huge) family is in various states of shock and grief right now. I don't pretend to know the intense, unimaginable despair Matt must've been suffering to drive him to take his own life. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that during some of the darkest moments of my own life, I'd thought about 'just ending it'. But... obviously, here I am, thus I never did. There was always someone in my life that I could say "I can't do that to this person". A reason to carry on this journey called life another day, even just another minute. I look at Matt, and it breaks my heart for reasons much beyond the loss of his life. I look at his parents, two of the most loving and wonderful people I've ever been graced to know. I look at his siblings, and how close they all are, and what amazing people each and every one grew up to be. Mind you, Matt was one of eight children, so to have all eight turn out to be such great adults is a feat in itself. I look at our enormous extended family, and how despite our faults we all love each other so much. And yet, even with all this love around him and directed at him, he must not have been able to feel it. That.. is what breaks my heart.
I'm sure anyone reading this is by now thinking "ok, this is very sad, but what on earth does it have to do with living with MS?". Actually, a lot. As I sit here trying not to itch the spot I gave my daily Copaxone injection a few minutes ago, I can't help but reflect on my own life in relation to the tragic ending to Matt's. Every day is fight for me. Be it a fight to make my hand work, a fight to walk without falling over, or a fight to speak without sounding like an idiot as I forget words. I fight with this disease daily, always trying to overcome it and always trying to find ways around it. Some days I fight just to not crawl back into bed and cry my life away at the unfairness of it all. I think that is what struck me, we all have fights in life. Some people look at me with pity and wonder how I do it. I look at people with much worse afflictions and wonder how they do it. We all can look around, and always find someone worse off than ourselves. Or can we?
Obviously, for people like Matt and the thousands like him that choose to take their own lives, they can't. They can't see past their own pain and despair to realize it really can always be worse. They completely lose their will to fight another day. In their eyes, there is no worse. So they make it stop the only way they know how.
I am grateful to still have my will to fight. To my cousin Matt... I am so sorry that you lost yours along the way, and that you felt you had no other choice but to leave this life forever. If we can all take one lesson away from this horrible ordeal, is that we are all human and vulnerable. Just because you still have your ability to look around and see that things could be worse- or can get better- please don't forget there are people out there among us that can not. Those are the people that need us to fight for them when their will to do so for themselves is gone. Be good to one another, you never know who's life you may save in doing so.
... and never stop fighting.
Be Well All,