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Suicide May Be Painless But Can It Be Without Consequences?

The horrendous experience of having my body deteriorate around me is driving me to crazy thinking. After a year spent to all practical purposes bed-bound I now clearly have had enough. I am thinking of suicide. At first this was in a desperate sort of fashion, along the lines of “I can’t stand this anymore maybe I could just jump out of that window” – (My bedroom is on the seventh floor and has a clean drop to the concrete below).

Then these thoughts took a slightly more serious turn along the lines of “well I should do such and such first, clean up before I go”. Today it was my nephew’s birthday. I haven’t jumped from the window because it would be a bummer for him. And that is why I will not, I suspect, ever act on these impulses. If I die from some natural cause or the complications of the deterioration of my body Oliver won’t be confused by it. If I took my life he would be. This I can never clean up before I go.

It’s not the first time this child made such an impact on me. Before I remembered I had been raped as an infant I had a couple of “nervous breakdowns”. After one I went and lived with my sister and her family for a year. Oliver was two years old at the time and characterised by the utter openness and honesty of psychologically healthy children at that age. He used to look at me and smile and ask simple questions and give simple hugs and love. Uncluttered and unsullied this cut through all my crap and reminded me of the joys of life. He kept me going.

It is the consequences of suicide beyond my own death that stop me, frankly. It is oliver being upset and confused. It is the things I will not be in a position to do. The Buddha banned suicide for all except enlightened arahants in exceptional circumstances. It’s just another form of craving (see Assisted Suicide from a Buddhist Perspective by David Truong Thanh Duong). As I am not yet enlightened this is not an option. And if I were would I want to? I doubt it.

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