Winston Churchill is one of my heroes. One of the quotes he is famous for is, “…never, never, never, never, never give up!” I think of that often when I’m not achieving all I think I should. I get angry and frustrated that I’m not a success at this or that, and I start putting myself down over it. Sooner or later, I have to stop and give myself a mental shake and remember failure goes hand in hand with learning and many things require more than one effort before we get them right. I think of Churchill’s words most often when I read of someone completing suicide.
Suicide among veterans is at an all-time high: 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000 people compared to 8.9 per 100,000 for other Americans. One fifth of all suicides in America are veterans. That’s horrible. Suicide has been called a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Things may look horrible today, but the sun will shine again. The sad thing is that suicide is not an individual solution. It hurts everyone who comes in contact with it, especially family members.
So, what do you do when you’re in such terrible pain (usually emotional as well as physical)? Try anything…try everything! Life is full of difficulties at every step. But, life is also full of wonder, joy and beauty if you open your eyes enough to see it. I know, you’re probably thinking, “What a Pollyanna!” Maybe I am. But I’d rather face the devil than quit and leave those I care about to suffer.
I know of what I speak. My brother died of a drug overdose many years ago. It was a horrible blow when I found out he was dead. My mother found him lying back on his bed, already cold. She ran upstairs to wake my father who came down and pronounced him gone. All the family gathered to grieve and no one could fathom that he’d taken too many drugs on purpose. Life had been extremely hard for him at that time. But I’ve often wondered if he wouldn’t have found some peace and joy again if he’d waited it out? I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t have.
So, you ask, what do I try? As I said earlier, “everything.” Many years ago, I had a period where I was sick for a very long time. I was diagnosed with mononucleosis 3 times. I had pneumonia winter after winter after winter. I had chronic bronchitis, asthma, and arthritis. I was depressed and miserable. I was going to college at the time, and I took a class in alternative therapies. I decided to try visualization for myself. I chose an exercise called “The Healing Blue Star.” It was funny when I first read it, but, what the heck? What did I have to lose? Nothing.
The Healing Blue Star involved visualizing a large, glittering blue star which I imagined moving through the air to sit above me. As I watched it, it exploded into thousands of tiny blue stars. I breathed them in and imagined them flowing through my body bringing healing as they flowed through me. I felt their power as they entered my lungs, and I visualized my heart pumping them throughout my body over and over again, recharging my energy and ability to heal myself as they poured through me.
You know, it worked. I have no explanation for it, except maybe it just helped me hang on until my own immune system recovered enough to step back into the picture. I’ll never know what exactly it was, but I gradually began to feel better, and then to get better. Was it worth it? You bet it was. I just wish I could have given that Healing Blue Star to my brother before it was too late.