Aside from the grave act of evil that is suicide, suicide has a social dimension as I am now experiencing in all its depressing, horrific reality.
The last time I spoke to this man I tried to talk him out of taking his own life and urged him to come back to the Faith. There were probably things I should have said that I did not say. There were probably things I said that I should have said better. I will perhaps always live with this regret that I didn't call him more to reach out to him. His last words to me were, "It's been nice talking...don't leave it so long next time." It feels as if these words will forever be etched into my soul.
Suicide is not just the autonomous act of ending a person's life. This man was so consumed with his own grief that he forgot that I and those he knew were his brothers and sisters. He was so consumed with the grief that social services decided he could no longer see his daughter of 13 until she was 18 that he has left her and his friends to deal with news of his suicide. "If only I had said this, if only I had said that. If only I had cared more. If only I had called more. If only I had prayed the Rosary with you. If only I had done this and that."
Among the terrible things about suicide is the reality that your guilt and pain, shame and humiliation, frustration and even despair are not necessarily placed immediately upon the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Absolution, but are passed immediately onto those who knew you who spend their lives trying to absolve you and themselves. The guilt and pain that is yours is no longer a guilt, burden and pain shared, but a guilt and pain transferred to those who knew you. Suicide is an act that enlightens the consciences of those who knew you, but it does not forgive them. It leaves them seeking forgiveness for a sin which is singularly yours and when they want to apologise for the times they feel they let you down, there comes no answer, because you are no longer here. I can only be consoled by the thoughts of Pope Francis today, who talks of the Mystery of God's patience.
"The Lord takes his time. But even He, in this relationship with us, has a lot of patience. Not only do we have to have patience: He has! He waits for us! And He waits for us until the end of life! Think of the good thief, right at the end, at the very end, he acknowledged God."
Pray for him because only God can judge him and His judgment alone is perfect. May his soul and the souls of the Faithful departed, through the great mercy of God, rest in peace.