by DM Morales
On the day you finally decide to end your life, you must be absolutely certain that you treat the day just the same as you would any other. Naturally, in the larger scheme of things in the history of the world, it is just another day. It is preferable that you never decide in advance when the day is going to be, but rather you wake up, brush your teeth and then about mid-morning say, ‘this is the day.’ Please don’t choose anniversaries of any specific events as this is entirely too sentimental and really – isn’t it just overshadowing the very event that you wish to honor? Furthermore, it should never be a day that you’re depressed or listless. Why people choose to end their lives on their bad days forever baffles me – it’s your last day on Earth – if it can’t be the best, why not at least a good one? Let me tell you what the best day for it is. It’s the day that you wake up and feel calm, complete and utterly done.
When that moment comes you will smile to yourself with a sense of patient urgency. There can be no antics and there can be no scenes, but I can understand if you’d like to use the opportunity to avoid doing annoying little things like scooping the cat box or washing the dishes.
Next is how you should handle daily communication. You will feel as though you have very exciting news and you will want very badly to share it with everyone. The problem is that you cannot because socially, and I’m sorry if I’m taking this opportunity to climb onto my soapbox, but socially, suicide is viewed as a very dark and disturbing thing. It’s viewed as a solution that someone comes upon when they most desperately need help and guidance. It is viewed as a situation where we must run to their aid and force them to change their mind. You know this isn’t so. You know that you’re pretty and brunette or smallish and blonde or maybe you know that you’re smart as a whip and that as the years go on, you’ll forget more than you can ever hope to remember. You understand that life is fleeting and that sometimes it gets better and sometimes it gets much worse, but at some point you must look at your unique situation and acknowledge that you aren’t sad that your best years are behind you. You’re happy you got to see them. You understand that once those good years are gone that you’re just sitting around playing a terrible waiting game and this game is a far darker venture than taking your own life. You know this and I most of all know this, but your sister and your neighbor and that coworker you don’t even care about, likely don’t know this, and so it’s best to keep it all a nice little secret. Just for you. And of course for me, but only because I’m helping.
You must be very careful of how you speak to people on your big day. If you’re embracing the mailman and thanking him for years of wonderful service, then you are just about begging for someone to come along and rip the gun out of your hand that very evening. But perhaps that is what you’re after? A scene. Let me tell you, if you are, I have no advice for you. I don’t like dramatics and I refuse to take any part in them, so just go jump in front of a moving train in a prom dress with kittens in each hand and some political slogan drawn on your face if that’s the kind of nonsense that you’re after. If you’re one for flamboyant suicide, I don’t like you and I don’t want to help you and in fact I can’t help you because people who are after these types of suicides are not calm and done. They want their lives to change, and I am clearly not in the business of life.
Ah, once again, I digress. I’m sorry for all these tangents I seem to be going on today. I just sometimes feel like I have to argue to get my point across. But let’s proceed on to the issue of wills and possessions. Here, I don’t have much to say, and it always perplexes me why someone in your condition would care. After all – you’ll be dead. However if there’s something special that you wouldn’t want just handed off, or maybe something that a poor child in the community could use – by all means and at all times – be kind.
Next we must decide on your choice of weapon. I know, the use of the word ‘weapon’ might be harsh, but really, if the definition of a weapon is that it is something used to harm the body, then it is the very best term. This is your big moment – what will you choose? Pills are the perfect resource for one who enjoys drugs recreationally. This way, you can ensure that the last moments of your life are in a wonderful drug-induced haze. The problem with pills is that your body knows what you’re up to and it isn’t likely to consent. For this reason it remains a possibility that you’ll wake up in a pile of your own sick with a thoroughly destroyed liver and a callow appearance or worse, a weeping matriarch at the foot of your hospital bed. I don’t recommend pills.
What of a gun then? It’s short, sweet and really shows the world on your way out that you meant business, you weren’t playing around or hoping you’d recover, you knew what you wanted and you went for it and this must be respected. But you must consider that a gun is an intensely violent end and understand the implications of that. It makes others think of self-loathing and anger. It will make your friends wonder if you were mad at them. It will make your cocky ex-lover come floating out of the woodwork and tell everyone that you were just so destroyed by the way that you wrecked the relationship. As if! If you must use a gun, you must be careful that you don’t seem to be of this self-hating variety. So you say, ‘well everyone knows that I was a happy person!’ Well then you also don’t want others to think that you had some accident because you’re too much of an imbecile to work a gun. Lastly – do you know how to work a gun? If you don’t, you are likely to wake up with half a brain, just enough to guarantee that your life will go on, but in the most miserable fashion possible. I only recommend a gun if you happen to know quite a bit about human anatomy or if you have a kind and compassionate member of the healthcare community willing to tell you precisely how to destroy that gorgeous brain of yours in a way that makes sure the rest of the package comes with it.
Slitting your wrist is really only for the masochistic poet types and even so, this is a long, painful death and it is very likely that someone will stumble in upon you and for this one, you will wake up in an insane asylum. It’s only slightly less aggressive than the gun but somehow, just a bit sadder.
Drowning has its problems. In all my years that I’ve seen it, I can say for certain that as ready as a person is to die, they can’t help but fight against that rush of water piling on their heads. You and your wonderful mass of gray matter may be entirely excited about the decision you’ve made, but your body is not and it will do everything in its power to fight you on it. So I do say that drowning is only a good option when you understand how hard you’ll fight and you’re certain that the body of water that you’ve chosen, will in fact, win. I recommend swimming out to the ocean in high tide, but do keep in mind, salt water is brutal on the eyes, nose and throat and some of you might not like the fact that there is a very good chance that no one will ever discover your body and therefore your death will forever be unconfirmed.
I’ve never seen anyone generate enough power to fatally stab themselves so it’s hardly worth discussing.
A very popular but newfangled option I’ve seen lately is the indirect suicide. With this, you join the service or you join the peace corps and the more scientifically minded among you become doctors just to go abroad to a war torn county. You work very hard to put yourself in a situation where your suicide can be waiting for you at any time. On the day, in the hour or even in the minute that you decide this to be the case, you can easily make the stupid, careless or even heroic decision to do something in the interest of ending yourself. This action of indirect suicide is not saying that you want a long, happy life or that you want your life to change or even that you want very much to die. It’s sort of saying that you might not want to die at the moment but that you’re always somewhat ready for it. It’s saying that your perfect moment could come in between one where you’re miserable and another where all you can think about is a craving for a can of soda. It says that you like the idea of looking down the barrel of life’s gun and not flinching. Maybe I’d even go so far as to say that I respect this. I respect the choice you must make to say that you will live in this light colored gray area that could tip dramatically at any moment. If this is your choice, you white knight with a death wish, then you can’t really use very much of my advice because your suicide is planned years in advance, worked towards in a diligent manner and when it finally does come, it might take even you by surprise. It is such a secret surprise that no one who knew you will ever even suspect that this is what you had in mind the entire time. I recommend this for those who are quite ready for death, but are just as fine with waiting years for it. Let me clarify that I don’t believe all of you enlisted and shipped overseas types are this way (I hardly want a backlash of angry letters); just that a fair amount of you seem to smile right before making a seemingly careless mistake.
Let us now flash forward to the big event. Today is the day you had your epiphany and you spent all morning and evening in a soft warm glow of acceptance and calm. Your last letter is written, or intentionally unwritten or absentmindedly forgotten about. Your weapon is chosen and checked twice, or in your haste you’ve neglected to bother. You’re smart enough to know not to wear your best clothes because they will get ruined (I won’t go into details but let’s just say that death is neither pretty nor romantic) and so you sit there having noted, but not cried about the fact, that you have seen your last sunset and talked to your dad or wife or dog for the very last time. You don’t think about the things you didn’t get to see and do because life is just such a long time away from wherever it is you’re embarking on now.
Depending on your method, popular choices for your second to last location are either your own bedroom for those deaths that’ll take some time or your bathroom for those deaths that’ll be especially messy. Perhaps you’re the embodiment of an 1850s English gentleman and you’re so courteous that you’ve even managed to leave a nice little note on the door to indicate to whoever is headed your way, that they will not find you exactly, but rather something especially gritty and disgusting. This isn’t an insult to you, my dear, it isn’t you personally that’s so unappealing: it’s what you’re leaving behind. Isn’t that funny? ‘Leaving behind’? As though your body were a cheap but prized piece of jewelry left in a hotel room while on vacation.
When the moment comes where you don’t hesitate or think twice, this is the one to go for. You’re calm, elegant, your eyes are gleaming and then by whatever means you’ve chosen, you end it. A bang, more often than not, a spasm and then that’s it, that’s you, so utterly tranquil, so perfectly done.
The One Nobody Likes to Talk About, but Who’s Always There
D M Morales resides in Chicago. This piece previously appeared in CC&D Magazine, Volume 228, January 2012.