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Love should make you act...

The other day at the coffee shop I overheard people discussing a recent suicide. Apparently, a regular committed suicide in the most dramatic of ways. He shot himself.

The shop was abuzz. People were full of outrage and amazement. The cashier commented “he seemed fine to me.” Immediate suicides startle us, and it should. It’s unnatural. However, gradual suicides tend to escape our attention.

We observe people killing themselves softly and slowly over time, but we look the other way. We ignore evidence of their broken spirits and their lost hope. We observe them engaging in very harmful behavior, but we convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing by minding our own business.

Recently, a relative received a terminal cancer diagnosis. He learned that cancer had been eating away at his lungs, liver and brain for some time. Regrettably, the cancer killed him within two weeks. The disease got our attention because it demanded it. However, I know that there were other signs that we ignored.

We watched his quality of life decline steadily over the years. His belabored gait, poor dentition, and weight loss were all signs that could have motivated us to act. However, over the years, even though I knew about nicotine’s addictive properties, I judged him harshly for smoking instead of responding in love.

At the end, I did not blame him for his illness. My own illness taught me that illness has no respect of persons. What I deeply regretted was not trying to help.

We might not have saved him, but we could have made his days better. If I have learned one lesson, I pray that I have learned to love my family and friends a little better. That will make all of the difference.
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