Concert to Remember

I went to see a concert the other night featuring Swell Season.  While standing in line one of the concertgoers asked if I had heard what happened at the group’s show the previous evening in California.  I had not, since I rarely watch television anymore.  He informed us that a man had committed suicide by jumping from some scaffolding on to the stage during the performance (I later learned he jumped from a roof, but that is immaterial).  

Fortunately for us, they decided not to cancel the performance in Portland, OR.  It was a sold out show at the Oregon Zoo with most of us camped out on blankets snacking on picnic-style dinners. Naturally, at one point in the evening as we awaited the start of the concert, the topic turned to suicide.  Having first-hand knowledge of the subject, I’m always interested in people’s reactions.  Some express anger, others claim that suicide is a selfish act; but most are confused as to why someone would want to take their own life.  I always tell people to be glad you don’t understand what they were going through.  It’s not a feeling I would wish on anyone. 

I’m not a psychologist, but I believe that some suicides are a product of mental health issues while others are the result of a deep depression.  Some may argue those are the same, but I think there are varying types of mental health issues that could drive a person to suicide other than depression; just as the methods and venues people choose differ between very public ones such as what occurred at the concert, and, more often, private ones.  Sadly, a number of suicides take others with them – one concept I cannot put my head around. 

My younger brother committed suicide, just over four years ago.  We knew he was depressed.  He had lost his job and separated from his wife about nine months earlier.  Even with that knowledge, he had two wonderful children that he adored; and I thought that would be his motivation to see him through the rough time in his life.  However, it wasn’t enough.  In his case, I think intermittent drug use also played a part, but the larger issue was depression.  Though we can never be truly certain of what was going through someone’s head as they prepare to take their own life, I could more easily than most, relate to the depths of despair he must have felt.  I, too, trod that lonely path more than once; though fate decided that at a fork in the road to send me back along a trail towards life instead of further down the darkening road.  That pit of despair is surrounded by a slippery slope that once you start down, it’s tremendously difficult to crawl back out. 

I was deeply saddened by the death of my brother, but my first hand knowledge of depression along with my belief that he was finally at peace and free from spiritual pain, gave me great comfort.  I hope the same is true for the man who took his life at the concert – that he has found a place where the pain no longer consumes him and he is at peace. 

There’s an old saying that goes something like ‘do not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes’.  I believe this adage holds especially true for anyone who has attempted or committed suicide.  I can tell you it’s a dark and lonely path that I hope most of you never have to walk.  So try to reserve your anger and instead pray, using whatever gods and methods suit you, that the victims of suicide have finally found the peace they were denied in this life. 

On a lighter note, despite the tragedy, the group put on a great show, performing a mixture of old and new material, including crowd favorites from the movie Once.  (If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  There aren’t that many movies I am interested in seeing multiples times, but this is definitely one that would make the short list).  Glen Hansard has a great passion for his music and it is readily apparent in his performance.  Marketa Irglova has a beautiful voice and excels in her ability to harmonize.  There was even a wonderful Irish tune played on the fiddle by Colm Mac Con Iomaire.  The crowd seemed not only grateful for the fantastic music, but full of admiration that the musicians could see past the dark event into the light and joy that music, the universal language, can bring. Hopefully we were able to express those emotions through the cheering and applause that was showered on them throughout the evening.

It was a night of reflection as well a celebration of the gift of life.

About musingmirror

A writer of many genres, always in search of creative inspiration.
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