November 21, 2011

After reading Father Ron Rolheiser’s In Exile column on suicide (WCR, Oct. 31), I am left wondering if I could disagree with him more fervently. My life has been touched by suicide a couple times and I have even attempted it myself once.

My recollection of the event leads me to believe that the action was carried out with the wilful intent, on my part, to end my earthly life. Fortunately, I was unsuccessful and never attempted suicide again.

I believe one of the possible events that led me to change my life, and essentially saved me from wilful termination of my life, was that a father once told me “if I wanted to be healed then the onus was on me.”

Although we were not specifically speaking of suicide, his telling me that empowered me. Instead of feeling that everything was out of my own control, I felt as though I could take control of my life, in spite of my infirmity, and turn things around from where my life was headed.

This is quite the opposite of what I take away from Father Rolheiser’s column. One reason that I was hesitant to committing suicide in the first place was that I did not want to be personally responsible for the pain and suffering it would have caused for my loved ones.

I eventually got over this perceived sense of accountability enough to attempt suicide. However, had I ever read in the WCR from a person in Ron Rolheiser’s position that those who commit suicide are not actually responsible for the consequences of this terrible act then I can only wonder where I would be today.

I sincerely believe that I am here today because someone once empowered me to choose life and not death.

Clinton Ford