Part of growing up is probably coming to terms with death. People protect you from it when you’re still a child, but when you’re older, the general expectation is that you know what dying means – or at least, since dying means something different for everybody, you have a personal idea of what it’s like. And I think sometimes people assume that you’re okay conversing about it, that it shouldn’t disturb you to know about a death because you’re old enough.

But no matter how many times I hear about someone who passes away, or takes his own life, I can’t get used to it. I honestly doubt I ever can. There’s some sort of emptiness left behind. A walking, living, feeling person is reduced to a doll-like figure in a wooden box. It is buried, like his memories, his emotions, his air, his conversations, his thoughts, his touch. You have his things, you can touch them and smell them, and it will seem like a dream; like – you know, maybe he’s just away for a while, he will come back. Look, he left his comb here, he left his closet door ajar, he’s got a bag of half-finished crisps he’s saving for later. He’s just out running errands, not gone forever. He will come back and sleep in his bed tonight, he will come back and have dinner with you just like everyday before. He will come back and finish what he started, he will close his closet door, he will finish the crisps and fall asleep beside you. Then you spend the night thinking, and waiting and hoping, and waking up the next morning hoping it was all a lie and a dream – only it wasn’t.

You will go about your daily errands, drop something on the floor, complain that you are clumsy and then expect to hear him comforting you, but there isn’t a single sound, not even a moving shadow to respond to you. Or you will hear sounds like that sound like him, and then absent-mindedly call out to him, but realise that you were hearing things. Or a neighbour.

And how do people cope with that? And worse, if they regret something they did or didn’t say or do for the person when he was there? Compensating for something will never be as good as doing the thing itself when you could.

I wonder what people think before they die. Doo their lives flash before their eyes? Do they think of people they love? Do they think forward, and wonder what they’ll see? Literature loves giving us ideas like these, and take our imaginations away with it…maybe it’s really so much simpler?

Or before they take their own life. Do they regret it the instant they go pass the point of no return? The moment their body sags into the rope under the weight of gravity?

Someone whose face I know just took his own life some time back. I can’t help but wonder.

Is it courage or is it cowardice?

Or is it just an inevitable chain of events that makes you feel powerless to stop what’s about to come, that you’ve lost control over things?

It’s always hard to justify or to condemn things like this, isn’t it.

It scares me.