A Suicide in My Family
I can't make everyone happy. So I won't even try.
Recently there was a suicide in my extended family. My aunt's husband took his own life. I wrote two posts on suicide following this.
My family was shocked but this wasn't the first suicide in my family. About 12 years ago my Uncle John took his own life. He was the brother of my same aunt who just lost her husband to suicide as well as my mother's brother.
So my poor aunt has lost a brother and now a husband to suicide.
My sister and I were the only members of our extended family who could fly to the east coast to be with our aunt immediately following the suicide. My sister flew out east from Seattle on the night our aunt's husband died and stayed for a few days. I flew out from Anchorage, Alaska one week after he died.
Flying from Anchorage, Alaska to the east coast of the United States is a very long trip. It is about the same distance as flying direct to London or Tokyo. That's how far Alaska is from the rest of the Lower 48.
I left my family and husband and traveled 30 hours round-trip to spend a few days comforting my aunt.
Upon my return, as my plane landed in Anchorage and my cell service connected, I received an email. It was an ugly email from someone on the internet identifying herself only as "Angie" complaining to me about using the phrase "committed suicide" .
Yes that's correct. I was literally landing in Anchorage returning from a very long trip to comfort my grieving aunt who has suffered the loss of two close loved ones to suicide when I received this nasty-gram. As an aside, my aunt loved my previous blog posts and they gave her a great deal of comfort.
"Angie" angrily informed me that the term "committed suicide" is "outdated" and "offensive". This was the first time I'd heard this.
I certainly don't want to be offensive to an entire group of people. I do believe in using politically correct language so as not to be offensive to other lifestyles, religions, genders, etc.
A Little Internet Searching
So I did a little searching on the internet. I found a few articles stating that this term is offensive to those who have made this choice and their surviving loved ones. But I still wasn't clear why it was offensive.
I then looked up the definition of "commit". According to Merriam Webster commit means to carry into action deliberately: commit a crime, commit a sin. I can see that the word "commit" has a connotation of negativity because of the examples used.
I looked up suicide. This means the act of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally. Alright. So the term "commit suicide" means to carry out the act of taking one's own life.
Further searching brought me a number of very recent articles from many reputable news sources discussing death by suicide. They ALL used the term "committed suicide".* ** ***
Major news outlets are typically politically correct. They most definitely use the current and thus least offensive terminology for everything. By the current standards of Reuters, the New York Times and the LA Times my language is not outdated or offensive.
I Can’t Make Everyone Happy
I understand that we need to be sensitive to other people. But this feels a bit over the line to me. I can't make everyone happy and I will not be afraid to speak my truth because I might offend someone. For Heaven's sake I'm a MEDIUM! My very existence is offensive to a whole bunch of people - some of to whom I'm related.
If you don't like or want to use the term "committed suicide" then don't. If you think other people should not use that term then by all means spread the word. But for the love of God be POLITE about it.
This person who contacted me about my terminology was not genuinely interested in enacting change. She just wanted to unload on me in an angry way from the safety of her computer.
Hiding behind the anonymity of the internet to bitch out someone who is doing her best to help others is not the way to enact change.
Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings and this is MY blog so I get to share mine. Those who are offended are obviously hurting because they lost someone. Losing someone to suicide is particularly traumatic. I understand that. Blaming other people for your own hurt and anger and shame is not ok and doesn't make it go away.
I mulled this over and worried for several days. I am by nature a "people-pleaser" and don't like to offend others. As I was thinking about this both my uncle and my aunt's husband who committed suicide came through to me and told me they weren't offended in the least and that I should tell "Angie" to F%^$ off.
They were both the the wild and rash sort of person who would have done just that. I am not. I decided not say anything directly to her but channeled my thoughts and feelings into this post instead.
If my loved ones in spirit who actually committed suicide are not offended by that term then I will not be offended either.
My Obligation is To the World of Spirit
As a medium I must always remember that my obligation is to the world of Spirit. Everything I say will be offensive to someone. I cannot please everyone. That's the nature of my work. I provide healing and comfort to those left here. The connections I make are most often a result of the spirits bringing people to me and not the other way around.
I am working for those in spirit. I give them a voice and let their loved ones know that love never dies. I am not working to appease the over-active egos of people still here.
February 13, 2018
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