"After so many vibrant years of service to so many, she finally tired out and called it a day."

(Mom) Sometimes I catch myself
Thinking, "When I phone,
I can talk of this or that!"
Then remember, I'm alone.
She was always there
To answer my calls
To listen to my "small talk"
Or when I climbed the walls.
At times, I didn't feel like talking
And somehow, she understood
Didn't say she wished I'd call
Or make me feel like I should.
Now, I wish I would have
More times, to show I cared
To say, just how important
Were, all those times we shared.
I could have shown my love
So much more than I did
I never, did it enough
Even when I was a kid.
Now it's too late to do or say
All those things I wish I had -
No way to ease the pain inside
When my heart is sad.
She was my "anchor" to this life -
The "rock", that I clung to -
The place, where I could turn
When, nowhere else would do.
Now, the ravages of time
Have worn my "rock" away -
And all I have to cling to
Are memories of yesterday.
Del “Abe” Jones

"He died fine, didn't he"? Gus, from the TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove, about his friend and fellow Texas Ranger, Jake, that they just hung for being a horse thief.

rape of nanking by Iris Chang
AN ADVOCATE FOR TRUTH IS REMEMBERED. "He died fine, didn't he"? Gus, from the TV miniseries,Lonesome Dove, about his friend and fellow Texas Ranger, Jake, that they just hung for being a horse thief.

Today as I read this really long story about the suicide of Iris Chang(March 28, 1968-November 8, 2004), I thought of the above quote from Gus in Lonesome Dove. I'm not sure that we can say that Iris died fine. I didn't know her personally, but she made her choice and the article was very good at spelling it out. Afterall, in my belief, our lives truly belong to us.

I've followed Iris's career over the years. She wrote the Rape of Nanking about the awful atrocity that the Japanese inflicted on the city of Nanking just prior to WW ll. Iris became so caught up in it and so identified with the awful tragedy that many felt that this contributed to her suicide. I read the book, one of the best ever, unbelievably intense. Even as we speak, the Chinese are showing great hostility toward Japanese who have never apologized. (Iris also wrote The Chinese In America: A Narrative History and Thread of the Silkworm)

I think that what was so interesting about the story of Iris's choice of suicide was that it really dealt with her mental illness. And, it told about how intense she was in everything and how she pushed herself: her sleep deprivation and how she meticulously planned to take her life. She bought an ancient replica gun that could be bought without a waiting period. She planned it.

Her major mental illness episodic event hit, while she was away interviewing victims for a book on the Bataan Death March. She was hospitalized for three days; and, then her family, as opposed to denial, jumped in and try to do things. So did her friends-no stone unturned. She was seeing two separate therapists and taking medication.

She wrote three suicide notes: "When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day but by the minute. It is far better than you remember me as I was--in my heyday as best-selling author--than the wild eyed wreck who returned from Louisville (this was where she was interviewing the survivals of the Bataan death march). Each breath is becoming difficult for me to take; the anxiety can be compared to drowning in an open sea. I know that my actions will transfer some of this pain to others, indeed those who love me the most. Please forgive me. Forgive me because I cannot forgive myself."

She had all the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Paranoia. According to the article, "Stress does not cause mental illness, but it can worsen the symptoms." Iris was intense and often stressed out. She didn't sleep. The author of Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide said, "Typically people start losing sleep, then stay up later and later each night."

Still another physician said, "For anybody who experiences mental illness for the fist time, it's very hard to accept that it is your biology that is making it happen. It's very hard to believe that there is something wrong with your mind." Families too have trouble coping. "There is no way that a family member could sort out all the details, let alone their own feelings, because they're so connected to the person."

Iris es' good friend ventured this comment, "Those who are close to her did everything that they possibly could have done. There is always free will. I believe that Iris was very strong willed and whatever she wanted to do, she would do." Her husband said it this way, "When somebody like Iris makes up their mind that they're going to commit suicide, they're going to do it. She was too strong willed not to."

Sad to me for many reasons, not the least of which is the loss as a purveyor of truth and passionate advocate with whom I identify. But, I think that Gus is right, "Iris, you died fine."

Related Article: March 22 05: Suicide (special contributor: Jerry Davis)
(The above document requires acrobat reader software.)

May 11-12 2005
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"After so many vibrant years of service to so many, she finally tired out and called it a day."

She was there at the beginning
When the world was new to you -
She was there to turn to happy times
Those when, you were hurt or blue.
She was there to listen to your thoughts
And when you asked, to give advice -
She was there to tell you, "Those don't match!"
Or, "Hon, you sure look nice."
She was there with you at nighttime
To help you say your prayers _
She was there to tell you, "It's alright."
When you had a dream that scares.
She was there at morning time
To get you up and out of bed -
She was there when you didn't feel good (or did)
To say, "You'd best stay home, instead."
She was there when you were hungry
And when you had those dirty clothes -
She was there when you needed her
(How she knew? Only heaven knows.)
She was there at the beginning
And she'll be there your whole life through -
She'll be there in your mind and heart
Just like a mother is supposed to do.
Del “Abe” Jones
"He died fine, didn't he"? Gus, from the TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove, about his friend and fellow Texas Ranger, Jake, that they just hung for being a horse thief.

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