I was hoping to get into the city to walk with the folk raising awareness of suicide (run by my friends of the Suicide: it's no secret campaign, with Lifeline), the need to talk about it, and the ways we can all, as a community, help to prevent it.
Alas, my own black hole has been swallowing me up in recent months, slowing me down, and in the midst of some very busy times, the work is piling up. So I am at home attending to neglected finance management, marking, an essay that is due on Thursday, and the ceremony for my sister's wedding in under two weeks.
But this week, these days, of drawing attention to the issues of suicide, survivors, and prevention, and the many tasks & events & moments in my life in recent times, remind me of the need we all have for each other if we are to be whole and healthy.
When you are in a black hole, you are alone. The hardest thing to do when someone you know and love is in a black hole is to stay beside it, waiting, in uncertainty, helplessness, holding onto hope for you and the person you love. I've been inside a black hole, and alongside another's black hole. I have seen people find incredible strength and patience, experienced their deep love and hope, as I emerge from a black hole to find them waiting for me. I have experienced the grief of emerging from a black hole and finding a loved one gone, unable to endure the waiting, the distance, the uncertainty.
This most recent black hole hasn't taken me as deep as I have gone before, so I have been able to reach out to people on the edges, speak to them, stay in touch, helping them, helping myself. It's still dark, but I can see the light they hold.
I have been able to find a ledge close to the top of the hole, because there have been people who have waited in the past, who have reflected on and explored the darkness with me in better times, helping me to understand it, and to develop the strategies that keep me safe when the darkness closes in.
People have differing theories about whether or not I will ever be free of the threat of darkness, hovering like a shadow over my shoulder even when I am well. Or of the black dog that sleeps in the corner of my life, stirring and occasionally prowling ...
I hope I will. In the mean time, I treat my dark companions with respect, and listen when they growl, and feed their hunger with attention and sunlight, allow others to nurture the hunger with love and hope.
My motivation to be well is two-fold, or maybe three: for me, because having finally tasted wellness, I prefer it to the simmering pain; for those I love and who love me, because of love; and for those I will encounter who are in their own black holes, for whom, when I am well, I may hold hope and light, and wait for them to emerge.