They don’t mean to do it, but I see it in their eyes when they look at me. Fear. The lingering question: is he okay? Or, is he contemplating suicide again? That haunted look in their eyes, that fear, torments me.
That look first appeared when my mum awakened me as a lay dying. I saw the horror in her eyes, her fear that she was losing her son. I saw, and I still wanted to die.
She doesn’t know it, but that haunted look in her eyes has been a frequent visitor since.
My son has it too, that look in his eyes. I saw it twice on the same day. The first time was when I took him home and his mum wasn’t there. She’d hospitalized herself because she was in crisis. I saw my son’s fear, confusion, and loneliness. Then I added to it. I shared my story. That was the second time I saw that look in his eyes.
Every once in a while I catch him looking at me. I see that look in his eyes and I know he’s wondering.
I’ve seen that look in other people when they look at me. It’s the same lingering question: is he okay or is he contemplating suicide? I wonder, though, if they aren’t looking for the train wreck to gawk at.
None of them know the truth, that I’m frequently thinking of suicide. But thinking of suicide is not the same as wanting to die. Thinking of suicide is a symptom of my illness. I’m being treated for that illness. So today, while I may think of suicide, know that I want to live.
Even though I want to live, that look in their eyes appears, fleetingly, to remind us all of what might have been.
And each time I see that look, I’m haunted.
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay