A couple of weeks ago when I was in Spain I overheard a couple of lovely elderly ladies conversing about an article on the newspaper.
I’d been reading the same article they were debating that same morning. The article talked about the reasons that drove six different people in different parts of The Basque Country to commit suicide.
Some men, some women, but all relatively young, had chosen to end their lives. Financial problems seemed to be the common denominator.
My chin trembled and my eyes filled up as I read their personal stories of unpaid mortgages, redundancy, unemployment, eviction, children left behind… worries, depression, and secrets kept from partners, family and friends.
I’ve felt very very low on several occasions in my life. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider putting an end to it all when I suffered from anorexia and bulimia, which also led to anxiety and panic attacks. I know what rock bottom feels like, even though what lead to my rock bottom is probably different from what lead these people to their rock bottom.
I remember feeling one thing above everything else though: numb. Ridiculous pain, not physical but of the mind, and worse still self-inflicted, had become so unbearable that I felt nothing. I saw no future, no colors, I heard nothing but the continuous negative ramblings from the voices in my head, I felt not like a person any more, but like a thing, a nothing actually.
Even before that I’d felt really bad physical pain before in my life, but nothing compares to the soul destroying pain the mind can inflict, if we allow it
I remember telling myself “if I leave now, no one will probably even notice, and if they do, yes they might cry for a bit, but they’ll get over it and the world will go on”.
When I read the aforementioned article, as my heart crumbled a little inside my chest, for a few moments I thought about exactly the same thing the two elderly grannies were talking about:
There are millions of people in Africa, India, China, and other countries in the world, where men, women and children live in tents, with no homes, no jobs, no money, no food, no certain future… nothing, but hope.
I’ve never seen or experienced extreme poverty first hand. All I know is the stories my own dad tells me of how when he was little he, his 5 brothers and sisters, his alcoholic dad and blind mum lived in a one bedroom house, and they’d have to raid the fields sometimes, looking for whatever vegetables and fruit they could get their hands on. I’ve heard many times how when grandma managed to cook a pot of stew, they all had to tuck into the same pot and he who eat the quickest got the most food, whilst he who wasn’t quick enough missed out.
Why do some people continue to hang in there and continue to fight, whilst others decide to leave us?
No matter how low I felt in my life, I never followed through with my darkest thoughts. But when I heard the two old ladies talk about the same thought that had crossed my mind only a couple of hours earlier, I kind of choked up again a little. Because I know how I felt, and somehow I was able to guess, at least a little bit, how desperate these people, strangers but brothers – after all we’re all connected in my eyes – must have felt.
I couldn’t help but think that if we, as brothers and sisters of the same mother, mother Earth, stopped being so disconnected with each other and started talking and sharing more, we could maybe prevent these horrible things happening.
So let’s friggin’ do more of this, because as the two old grannies said:
Back in the day we used to smile at strangers on the street and say hello to everyone who crossed our path, we used to stop and talk to people for a while, and help each other when in need. Back in the day we used to know our neighbors, we used to feed other people’s children, we sued to share a loaf of bread… we didn’t have much either, but we used to care. Back in the day we were all in it together.
I dedicate this little post to the people we’ve lost, and the two lovely grannies who made me cry, but also made me smile 🙂
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