Fear

Fear is what saved me
all those years ago.

Don’t say it’s selfish.
Call it cowardly but
don’t say it’s selfish.

At first I was worried
what my little sister
would do if she woke up
to be the first to find me.

And then I was frightened
I would leave too much
undone and so maybe
I could force myself
to hold out one more day.

But the truth is
it was fear
that saved me
all those years ago.

When I wake up every morning
I give myself a moment to recall
how it could have been different
if there had been one day when
the selfish outweighed the afraid.
~8/12/14
_____
I, like so many other poets, had to stop today and write something to unload the feelings about Robin Williams’ suicide.

Just a few days ago I was talking about suicide with someone. How angry it made me when people called it selfish. I imagine most of the people who say that have never had the grip of severe depression around their throat. On the other hand, I do believe it cowardly. And I shiver when recalling how often I was almost that weak. I am lucky enough that age, time, and good meds have driven me back from that precipice, but I’m one of the lucky ones. And believe me, I know it.

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