June 11, 1984
The would-be suicide’s problem is usually not one of suppressed rage or anger, it is instead the feeling that there is no room in his or her private life for further development, expression, or accomplishment, or that those very attributes are meaningless.
The will to live has been subverted by the beliefs and attitudes mentioned earlier.
People with life-threatening diseases often feel that further growth, development, or expansion are highly difficult, if not impossible to achieve at a certain point of their lives. Often there are complicated family relationships that the person does not know how to handle. To numbers of such individuals, crisis points come and are conquered. Somehow the person learns to circumnavigate the unpleasant situation, or the conditions change because of other people involved – and presto: the disease itself vanishes.
In all cases, however, the need for value fulfillment, expression, and creativity are so important to life that when these are threatened, life itself is at least momentarily weakened. Innately, each person does realize that there is life after death, and in some instances such people realize that it is indeed time to move to another level of reality, to die and set out again with another brand-new world.
Often, seriously ill people quite clearly recognize such feelings, but they have been taught not to speak of them. The desire to die is considered cowardly, even evil, by some religions – and yet behind that desire lies all of the vitality of the will to life, which may already be seeking for new avenues of expression and meaning.
There are those who come down with one serious disease – say heart trouble – are cured through a heart transplant operation or other medical procedure, only to fall prey to another seemingly unrelated disease, such as cancer. It would relieve the minds of families and friends, however, if they understood that the individual involved did not “fall prey” to the disease, and that he or she was not a victim in usual terms.
This does not mean that anyone consciously decides to get such-and-such a disease, but it does mean that some people instinctively realize that their own individual development and fulfillment does now demand another new framework of existence.
Much loneliness results when people who know they are going to die feel unable to communicate with loved ones for fear of hurting their feelings. Still, other kinds of individuals will live long productive lives even while their physical mobility or health is most severely impaired. They will still feel that they had work to do, or that they were needed – but the main thrusts of their beings still reside in the physical universe.
Each person’s purposes are so unique and individualistic that it is quite improper to make any judgments in such matters. There is also the overall picture, for each family member plays a certain part in the reality of every other member.
A man might die very shortly after his wife’s death, for example. Regardless of the circumstances, no one should judge such cases, for regardless of the way such a man might die, it would be because the thrust and intent and purpose of his life was no longer in physical reality.