"I’m issuing a rule. You are not allowed to kill yourself. You are going to like this, stay with me. When a person kills himself, he does wrenching damage to the community. One of the best predictors of suicide is knowing a suicide. That means that every suicide is also a delayed homicide. You have to stay. The reason I say you are going to like this is twofold. First of all, next time you are seriously considering suicide you can dismiss it quickly and go play a video game (or something else meaningless and fun, it’s when we try for meaning that we go crashing into the existential wall – the universe is absurd, to get along with it, you should be too). Second, and this one’s a little harder to describe, if you are even a tiny bit staying alive for the sake of the community, as a favor to the rest of us, I need to make it clear to you that we are grateful that you stay. I am grateful that you stay alive.
"And we are in the room with you, going from one moment to the next, in whatever condition you manage to do it. Sobbing and useless is great! Sobbing and useless is a million times better than dead. A billion times. Thank you for choosing sobbing and useless over dead.
"There are poets and other artists, psychotherapists and average Joes, who are thinking of your struggle and appreciating what you have managed to put up with. We are grateful. Best of all, practicing tuning in to your gratitude for others' staying alive also tones up your ability to feel the gratitude that people are extending to you too, you start to feel the support of it, the invisible arms. Don’t kill yourself. Suffer here with us instead. We need you with us, we have not forgotten you, you are our hero. Stay."
Below is a poem by the late poet, Rachel Wetzsteon, who provoked the outcry against suicide. I am grateful that she lived for the time she did, but it's so painfully true what Hecht writes about her: we need you with us.
|At the Zen Mountain Monestary |
Rachel Wetzsteon (1967-2009)
A double line of meditators sits