So recently in my life suicide has become a huge topic of discussion, both on and off line. Long story short I have an aunt who has drug and alcohol issues, mental, physical and emotional issues and who just lost her teen daughter six months ago, so depression and suicidal thoughts are just the norm... And with the whole bully thing lately on the news it's been a growing hot topic on most of my mommy boards too... So I felt it was a subject I felt I should address here as well.
PLEASE though, do not assume that my beliefs are blanket beliefs for the Pagan community or that I should be used as an example of what others may or may not believe.
So, I've talked about my beliefs about life, death and fate before. But I'm going to speed through them so that you understand some of why I believe what I do about suicide. I believe that life is a cycle and that each life is "assigned" a purpose before it enters the physical realm. The fates will not allow that life to end prior to that purpose being fulfilled. Once that life is ended in the physical realm we move on to a "Guardian Angel" position in the spirit realm until we are no longer needed here in the physical realm any longer and are able to either move on to the next physical life, with a new purpose, or until we ascend to a higher spiritual realm.
Now, the reason I went through all that is simply because to understand my beliefs about such a touchy subject like suicide, you need to know what I think about death in general. I don't see death as an end or something evil or bad. The physical body dies, the spirit does not, it simply moves on.
To me, for someone to honestly consider suicide, they are in a place of great pain or anger or both. In some cases there is illness, be it mental or physical, involved as well. For others they are simply at a point in their lives where death seems to be the only way to end their pain or at the very least seems better than continuing their life.
Obviously I would like to say that there is help out there and that anyone considering suicide can be saved. However, I don't believe that. I've been through the anti-suicide therapies, on the medications and hospitalized, and I will be the first to tell you that all the "help" in the world doesn't change the situation many of these people are in - especially in cases of illness. Don't get me wrong, there are cases where medical help is an option, but in my opinion, these are the people who weren't completely to the point of suicide in the first place. Many people, including myself, are very serious about their attempt at the time they do it, but they aren't actually 100% sold on the idea. It's a "this is the best of a bad situation" kind of thing. Many times they don't honestly want to die, they just want the pain to stop. For them, therapy, medication, hospitalization are good options and can help. So assume that I'm only speaking about cases where the suicide is successful or attempted by someone who clearly wants to die.
Whenever the subject of suicide comes up online I always see words like "selfish" "sad" or "tragic" used. However, I simply disagree with this idea. Of course it's sad and tragic for those of us who are still here, but does that mean that those who decide to end their pain are selfish because it could hurt us? To me, No. Instead I feel it's selfish of those of us who are here to place negative assumptions on those who we lost simply because of out pain.
I believe each life has a purpose. In some cases that purpose is to teach others a lesson or to aid in someone elses spiritual maturation. I also do not believe the Fates will allow someone who has not fulfilled their purpose to pass on. So, in my mind there are going to be times where the death of one person is in fact their purpose of life. I know it was the loss of a close friend which clearly impressed on me the importance of positivity, friendship and love... So who am I to say that maturation wasn't the goal of their life? Of course I don't know that it was either, but it's a possibility.
So what am I saying? Well, all in all what I'm saying is Suicide is a way for someone who is in extreme pain to end it. Do those of us who are still living miss them? Of course. But is it more important for us to have our loved one or for them to be at peace? And who are we to say at what point someone's life purpose is in fact to aid others through their death? If a fireman dies in order to save a child we call him a hero because without his death that child's life would have ended or he would have stopped "maturing." So how is that different from someone who's purpose was to die in order to help someone else to mature? It's all speculation of course - whether or not suicide is ever someone's life purpose. But who am I to know?
I guess my entire point is this - While it's painful for those of us who remain, those how have died are in a better place. Their pain is over, their purpose (what ever it was) is fulfilled and they are able to move on to the next stage. It's a stage we will all someday enter and ultimately it doesn't matter how we get there, the point is that we do.
I feel for those who lose loved ones, in any way. I have lost a great many loved ones in my life, and that includes a few to suicide. But I do not feel it's my place to decide when someone elses life should end. We can't live forever, and those who choose this path are simply speeding the process...