The Last Page Revisited
No, I don’t want to die. Not today, not tomorrow. I want to know the “end of the story,” and I can’t find out what happens if I shut the book before I read the last page. If there is one thing I’ve learned from all my hard knocks, my mistakes, my serious suicide attempts, and most especially from surviving Paula, it’s that I’m stronger that I thought, kinder, and more full of genuine love.
I want to know the “end of the story,” and I can’t find out what happens if I shut the book before I read the last page.
Pain is pain, and only the person experiencing it knows when enough is enough. I think about Christopher Reeve becoming a quadriplegic after his horseback accident. From all I’ve read and seen, he had a loving wife and children around him, and plenty of money to make his physically limited existence meaningful. The same can’t be said for everyone cursed with quadriplegia.
Every single day that you can add a ray of sunshine into this troubled world, your existence is meaningful. But is that enough to justify your own survival, and the pain you carry? Having been there and back many times, I wouldn’t dare presume to tell another person what choice to make. I do know that there are several people who, if they made that choice, it would cascade down and crumble my own world. But it would be selfish to say, “Please don’t do it because I love and need you.” Is my need greater than their own pain?
Every blessed chance I get, I try my best to make a difference in someone’s life. I know I give a lot. Not a lot on the grand scale. But sometimes more than I’m able. Is the little that I give enough to mitigate the pain I carry? Some days, I don’t know, and some days I think my small efforts make a real difference…
I am a nobody, and yet the experiences I’ve had and the life I’ve lived has been close to mystical. These experiences must have happened for a reason I don’t yet know. And if I don’t read the last page down to the clause with the last period, I won’t know. Is that enough to keep me going? I’m not sure — but it is enough to keep me curious.
One thing I know is that after the most horrendous downpour, a rainbow can inexplicably appear. I was quite glum one day, and managed to photograph this one after a storm in Greenbelt:
I always go back to my favorite poem by Emily Dickinson:
IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.