The Impulse to End It All

By Fuana Tmarsel —-

Death has assaulted Palau violently shaking every family, clan, and the whole society. Every week our friends, co-workers and acquaintances are grieved with a loss of a loved one. This is strenuous both emotionally and economically especially because our culture demands relatives to contribute financially towards funeral expenses. However, natural demise is an understandable human phenomenon that approaches us all as we grow older, or encounter terminal illness. We know that to live is to expect to die – someday.

Nevertheless, suicide is a departure that “kills” more than just the victim and leaves loved ones only bereaved but also confused and bewildered.  Palau already witnessed two suicidal deaths this year. If I heard correctly, there was an accidental death of a young person that was more or less self-inflicted. When I heard of the incident, I felt weak to my stomach thinking of the parent’s agonizing grief; many parents expect their children to outlive them and carry their legacy. Not the other way around.

So why does Palau, and other parts of the world continue to lose its members to suicide in an age of unprecedented scientific knowledge and psychological intelligence?  Many psychologists explain that suicide is a form of escape from what seems to be intolerable circumstances. That is, suicide victims feel trapped and helpless to change what they see as hopeless situation. In many cases, it is believed that the person who commits suicide isn’t choosing death as much as he is choosing to end the unbearable pain. Suicide is precipitated by various difficulties, such as financial burdens, family problems, loss of special relationship, or even goals that weren’t achieved. On the face of it, these are normal problems that many people face and overcome, but to a suicidal person he finds no other solution.

Suicide also has spiritual implications manifested often in families which have suffered at least three or more incidents. This is normally termed, pattern of behaviors. Just as we inherit good looks, curly hair, obesity from our ancestors as well as diabetes, hypertension and the like, we also have spiritual inheritance – intangible inheritances which are impalpable but very real. In other words, we reap what our ancestors sowed. This is often something that is not readily discernible but it makes us prone to it. Psychology calls it predisposition. That is, we are susceptible due to our physiological and spiritual make up. Simply, some of us are more prone to suicide, others to obesity, to promiscuous behavior, to anger and violence, to alcohol, and the list is endless.  Just as with other destructive behavior, completed suicide never takes place apart from demonic influences driving one to take his life. I select to use the pronoun he because men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women.

My own father succumbed to suicide. I prayed for him, but God allowed it. For a time his death was not only painful, it was shameful. Even to this day I find myself wanting to avoid the topic because it conjures memories of our last exchange. That if only, lingers still. But his death drove me to study about the spiritual aspect of suicide that is not readily embraced by unbelievers. My painful healing journey led me to one conclusion – suicide is a work of evil. The only remedy is GOD.

No other book in the world holds life more precious than the Bible. Many great characters in the Bible faced overwhelming depression and distress and sometimes wrote that they wished they could die, hence evade the agonizing pain. King David and Job reached low points where they despaired for their lives, yet they persevered and saw the blessing of God on them.  For it is HE and HE alone can take one out of despair and make something beautiful from it. It is never too late with HIM.

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