I think modern suicides are different from the traditional suicide - if one can call it that. Of course many suicides are the result of serious depression. A friend of mine with bipolar disease - is that how you are supposed to say it? - recently committed suicide.
I stayed up late last night to watch a documentary on PBS about a young artist, Francesca Woodman. I found it disturbing and couldn't sleep very well. She threw herself from her roof in NYC. The interviews with her parents were quite sad - Francesca killed herself because she wasn't achieving her goal - that is how I understood it - I may be wrong of course. Oddly enough, her suicide almost seemed to be part of her art - which had been her reason for being. That is why, aside from the nihilism of the age, I believe suicide is understood differently by younger people in our day.
The documentary was an interesting look at Francesca and her family, all of them artists. It might have been nice, I thought, to grow up in a family of artists. The Woodman's made a good living - they were able to summer in Italy - the kids schooled there - I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to have such a family. They seemed removed from ordinary life, although I'm sure they would claim their life was most ordinary. I'd like to see the documentary again, when I don't have to worry about going to sleep, or getting up the next morning.
Anyway - Francesca reminded me of Isabella Blow - the lady I just posted about - she also committed suicide. (The news of my friend's death prompted these reflections.) I sometimes wonder if some people are so numbed down, so depressed, they come to a point where they can no longer feel anything but pain, at which point they self-inflict a physical act so violent and painful, perhaps to prove to themselves they were really alive - that they could still 'feel' something 'other'. But then it is too late.
Just a thought.
I've written in the past about a nun who suffered from depression all of her life. Just before she died - of old age, she told me the Lord had finally healed her, delivered her of all anxiety and depression, that she no longer cared about what people thought of her. She told me she no longer had anything to prove to anyone, or felt the need to compete. She died in great peace. If only everyone could embrace that peace for themselves now - to anticipate the graces Our Lord holds in store for us, to be distributed at the time allotted.
Remember what Fr. Zosima said: "Pray for the suicides." Perhaps our prayers for them now could have been anticipated at the moment of their death...
Art: Francesca Woodman