25/03/2014 07:38 GMT | Updated 20/05/2014 06:59 BST

Suicide Is Painless, Things I Saw in the Woods Today

Suicide is painless

That famous line from the theme song from MASH, the popular TV show where American medics satirised their lives in the firing line in Vietnam. As a child I remember being enthralled by the words of that song and the concept that indeed, suicide could be painless. That level of adult irony was way beyond my juvenile head at the time but eventually I figured it out. The truth is those who are left behind will never feel anything like a joyful numbness at the thought of not having been able to rescue a loved one or friend from the last resort.

Mick Jagger received the worst news this week of the death of a woman whom he described firstly as his lover. The act of love is one that infers a closeness and intimacy where two people share a similar outlook when it comes to their feelings for one another. There are many different types of love but the decision to be together and share a life, albeit for a moment in time, means that dreams are shared too. How tragic that a heart can be bleeding metaphorically to death and there is no one to turn to, to ask for help, to scream out loud that it is all TOO MUCH TO BEAR.

I suffered a lot of heartache in my life and for years lived in a very upmarket village where veneer concealed reality. Those environments are the most soul destroying of all. Unless one is sufficiently strong willed and courageous not to mention in possession of a well-honed sense of self where one carries on regardless and with scant regard for what others think, life can seem like a quagmire of utter despair. L'Wren Scott seemingly had it all. The remarks on Twitter as her death emerged, reveal both an utter lack of humanity and a puerile mentality which is perhaps the reason why our politicians think us stupid enough to fall for anything. Life is a complicated mess- worse than a maze where at least we are aware that an exit exists even if we cannot see it. The person who chooses suicide wants only the finality of their actions. French author, Jean Giono, described suicide as the most free moment of a person's life where ultimately they are released from all the falsity, perversity and shallowness of their fabricated lives. Suicide therefore takes on an ecstatic aspect- a breaking free, an escape, a release and perversely, a being true to oneself, for the first and last time.

Humans evolved as social beings. In other words, apart from the family unit which ensured the continuation of the species, we have relationships based on love, friendship, etc. As soon as humans could talk and articulate their emotional needs, they began to define themselves by the nature and profundity of their relationships with others. Think of ten people that you know and separate them into categories- lovers, friends, acquaintances, professional acquaintances. And yet, in our frenetic and false 21st century lives, there is no definition for a level of relationship that includes the word 'saviour'. When our lives go wrong, we find ourselves completely alone. Our deepest thoughts, concerns, fears and weaknesses are never revealed to anyone but us. Our lives become a masquerade, our sadness hidden away.

A well of unhappiness is like a hidden river that eventually must find somewhere to go as it simply cannot disappear into the earth for evermore. The trick which humans learned so long ago is to resolve, to make sense of, to find the magic formula that would explain it all. Nature runs its course. We humans stop, look and listen to something greater than us, hence the reason we sought and invented "God".

The age we live in is godless and without grace. We have become slaves to a type of materialism where whenever we ask, our capriciousness must be satisfied. In matters of the soul life, we cannot be satiated so easily with all the right answers, bought off the shelf. The soul life is unique to each and everyone of us and when left with a will that guides us wrongly, the loss is everyone's because ultimately, we have learned nothing.

RIP Ms. Scott.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen

Things I saw in the woods today

The repulsive toothwort

This plant which appears sporadically in spring is seen above ground. The plant is a parasite dependent on its host for nourishment. "To grow corpulent at its host's expense, and to reproduce its own shameless kind are the Toothwort's only occupations." (A Pocketbook of British Wildflowers, Charles A. Hall, 1937). This all sounds terribly familiar....


Photo copyright S. van Dalen