Last night I watched a TV show that is just haunting me. I won’t say which show so as not to spoil it for anyone, but in the scene that got to me, a father had to rescue his 20-year-old son from an attempted suicide. The way the son screamed for help, the way his father didn’t at first realize what was going on, and then started running without thought… then cradled his son in his arms like a baby while his son heaved with tears… I can’t get the images out of my head.
It’s the helplessness they both felt, I think. People have so much capacity for expression and emotion, and even so it fails them. I can’t imagine having to rescue my son or daughter from suicide.
Maybe it hits home for me too, in a way. There were times in college I felt I needed that sort of rescuing, felt that sort of helplessness. Maybe I never attempted suicide, but accidental death would’ve been ok with me, and I made those sort of halfhearted temptations on death more regularly than I suspect I recognize.
I relate to the father, too, though. I’ve visited someone I love very dearly in mental hospitals before and it was a whole other kind of helplessness. Knowing how completely out of her mind she was without knowing if she could be saved made me die inside. No amount of love eases that sort of pain.
I’ve been lucky that my situations have both turned out well. But seeing that show last night brought all those feelings up again and I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head again.