September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and I was asked to write something about suicide. Being our resident Veteran I wanted to write something meaningful. Over and over I started writing stories about myself and others who have struggled with thoughts of suicide, or worse, completed suicide. I found the poems and wanted to share them with you because, in their own way, they express how I feel about the subject. The third poem I decided to write instead of muddling through a story. Please find a group of teammates and commit to see each other through no matter what. I’m sorry I couldn’t do any better, but also glad you’re here to read it.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well if a promontory were.
As well if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send no to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Suicide In The Trenches – Poem by Siegfried Sassoon
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
What Do I Know? (about suicide) – Kurt Webb
What do I know about suicide?
Nothing, but the emptiness of a slow death, one drink at a time.
Nothing, but the wail of grief from a mother who will never get to console her son again.
Nothing, but the empty cry of a child who will never be enough to bring her father back.
Nothing, but the despair of holding your child and wondering how fucked up she will be because of you.
Nothing, but the envy of dead brothers who didn’t come back and don’t have to fight to live everyday a mediocre shell of themselves.
Nothing, but the wish to have my name on a wall so that my sons can imagine their father as a good person.
Nothing, but the feeling of having the floor fall out from underneath you and not knowing if the ground is going to meet you.
Nothing, but the desire to hide from myself anywhere I can.
Nothing, but the desolation of a friend who has nothing left to lose.
Nothing, but the news hitting you like a ton of rocks, another brother folded into the darkness, another sister cashed in her hand for oblivion.
Nothing, but the immense desire for the pain to end.
Nothing, but the lonely morning, in the quiet, the nights events slowly claw their way back into your skull.
Nothing, but the attempt to fill the hole in my soul with any substance I could find.
Nothing, but the crushing weight of a compromised life.
Nothing, but the empty hole when you think about the future.
Nothing, but the loss of a friend, and the loss to us all.
Nothing, but the keys in my hand prepared to “accidentally” die.
So, you ask; “what do I know about suicide?” My reply is, “Nothing, but I almost tried it once.”
May the Divine be with you forever, and if Hell comes let it come for us together so that I can fight through Hell with you. One. More. Time.
About the Author...
Kurt Webb is a Certified Peer Counselor, veteran, and father. He served in the Active Army for 12 years, 6 in the infantry, and 6 as a Special Forces Medic. He served in Korea 1/503rd Infantry Reg., Ft. Lewis 1/24th Infantry Regt., 1/501st PIR Ft. Richardson, and 1st Special Forces Group, Ft. Lewis. Kurt Was deployed to Iraq during “the surge,” in 2007 during the worst year of the conflict in Iraq, a deployment which cost the lives of several personal friends. Since being honorably discharged from active duty Kurt worked as a civilian contractor in Iraq in 2010-2011, he also served in an LDAC unit in the Army Reserves, earned three degrees, along with being a collegiate athlete, coached youth-High School Rugby, and youth-College Soccer. His interests include fishing, hiking with his children, training and riding mustangs (the horse), and pretty much anything else outside.