In my lifetime I have lost one close friend and one not so close friend to suicide. I have spent much of my life making sense of their lives and deaths. With the recent death of Robin Williams, may he rest in peace, some news agencies accuse him of cowardice for his rumoured suicide. This got me thinking, is it not harder to take your own life than wait for it to be taken from you!!! I for one would find it incredibly difficult to take my own life no matter what the circumstances, so it is reasonable to think that what Robin had done, took a lot of courage, strength and honesty!
Dictionary.com defines cowardice as “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”. I would reckon that taking your own life is the most dangerous, difficult and painful act one could possibly do. So, if you can do that, hell, you must be brave!!!!
Let say, for arguments sake, that some people find it easy to take their lives and taking their lives is much easy than the difficulties they face in life, then yes, they are cowards! But how do we measure or determine such a characteristic? I would’nt know where to start, so I choose to give them the benefit of my doubt and call them courageous!
Based on the people that I have known and who have taken their own lives, I have never once thought of them as cowards. They were smart, hardworking, kind and courageous people and I cannot comprehend what they have experienced, and so I trust that they acted righteously! May Robin and my friends, who have consciously chosen death over life, rest in peace……
Those who think that this courageous act is sinful, all I can say is don’t do it but also don’t judge others who do and don’t speak ill of the dead.
“…life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it; that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with; and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for, it is the moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision.”
― Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending