I am moved to write this in response to stories about suicide (especially by teens and those incarcerated). I am a senior who has thought about this.

I lost a son to suicide when he was 22, an event that turned my life upside down and deeply affected the rest of his family. I have kept going, hoping to heal, but the scars remain. I have learned more and more about pain over the years, and am still learning.

As a senior who is facing her own challenges with loss of purpose, vitality and connections, I have wondered why I will not follow him.

As I get closer to the reality and the mystery of a natural death, I am also more conscious of the mystery of life. Life is possibly the only thing we humans have in common. Not my life or someone else’s life, but Life itself.

I might like it or I might not, but it is something I have great respect for. Since it is something I share with all others, to harm my part of Life also harms those around me. If I can reach out to help someone else with whatever I still have, then that someone else might find a better way to solve his or her problems.

All lives are filled with potential. At any age or in any circumstances, it is there to develop. We might not see significant changes, but in some way we are all needed to improve the well-being of the world.

We start by helping one another the best way that we can and by choosing to keep on learning.

Elena Prien

Albemarle County

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