A couple of weeks ago, a guy I knew killed himself. I’ve taken a couple of stabs at writing about it, but I can’t really figure out what to say.
On the face of it, my go-to response to this sort of thing is that it’s an asshole move. Like, who checks out when they’ve got a fifteen year old kid who looks up to them?
Maybe I have to go back to some of my darkest times to make sense of things. There was a time, in my late teens, when things looked pretty bleak. I was a high-school drop-out who had a new car and by all appearances was living the good life. Nobody other than me would have appreciated that I was paying for my successful life by working 90 hours per week.
Long story short, I quit my job in the middle of the day, headed to Pearson Airport, and within hours I was in a place far away.
The reason I was able to do that was because I’d been keeping a poem by Rainer Rilke in my pocket. Graf von Kalkreuth was a pal of Rilke’s who took his own life on being called up for military duty.
What I took away from that Rilke poem was this; no matter how big the shitpile at your door looks today, you can never tell what’s in store for tomorrow. Until you’ve viewed every view, seen every sight, made love to everyone you ever wanted to make love to, YOU’VE STILL GOT WORK TO DO!
It’s the poem that’s kept me going.
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