There are times when I feel I’d rather not be the one behind the wheel

Another death. Pointless. I’ve been to too many funerals, and I can’t tell if it’s because I am getting older and that is what happens when you become an adult, or if I’m just exposed to a particularly susceptible bunch of people. I think the only person I have known who has died of old age is my grandfather (touch wood). There’s been accidental overdoses, a couple of murders, car accidents and lots and lots of suicides.

In a way, suicide is indeed a most selfish act born of the fear of rejection and responsibility for “letting down” people we care about. “I couldn’t bear to tell my wife I’m broke,” “I failed all my exams and my parents will be so ashamed, I really don’t want to hurt them.” Sentiments of care for others, but ultimately narcissism for believing that loved ones would rather have them dead than failing at some part of their life. Surely the pain of seeing someone fail is not a pinch on the pain of having someone end their life over it

I sit here, having just learned about another friend who has taken his own life, and I’m certain he wasn’t thinking of others, but not in the narcissistic way that saddens entire schools, businesses and churches. He sounded so completely fine when I spoke to him a few weeks ago. He sounded happy. He was excited about coming back to South Africa. I don’t for one second believe that he feared parental upset for something less-than-favourable in his life.

This may be going all over the place, but I’m basically saying that I see two sides to suicide. The “guilt/can’t cope with embarrassment of self-perceived failure” type, and the “my life is fucking miserable and I don’t want to be alive anymore, and I’m going to end it because I just can’t bear living anymore” type.” I don’t find the latter selfish. I find the former selfish. Even though it involves care for others, it is is care that stems from a desperate need to keep one’s ego afloat. The latter stems from utter misery and depression, and has nothing to do with ego.

I count last night’s suicide amongst the non-selfish type. And it makes me so sad that this person was in such a bad place to have done this.

You’ll be missed, Surfer James.



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