|Life is like a flower, blossoming and dying in its own time.|
There it was in black and white, the answer to my question as to what took Paul's life so suddenly: Paul committed suicide. I can't read that without recalling my close friend who took his life many years ago. It is always a shock to those closest and I am saddened about the upcoming days, weeks and years that lay ahead for his wife. I know what she is going to go through, though to be sure everyone grieves such personal loss differently.
I didn't know Paul or his wife, but feel like I knew them through Jon and Maria's writings about their horse farm. I have also been following Jon's writings about all the hassles that animal owners everywhere are going through. There seems to be no room for human error or catastrophic events, as animal rights activists seem too ready to pounce on anyone who loves animals enough to sign up to be their caretakers and guardians, and they seem to cut them no slack in their critique of their mission. No one is perfect, be it animal owners or parents of children or guardians of loved ones. Any form of care-taking is a huge responsibility that is day in and day out and no matter how dedicated care-takers may be, things can happen, and activists everywhere are too ready to see the faults in those individuals that assume more than their share of the responsibilities to care for others, people or animals.
I am not sure what pressures acted on Paul to take his own life, but I do know that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Like Jon, I judge no one who succumbs to the burdens of their life, I only feel sad that somehow the world seems to be hard enough to drive the more gentle and loving from us, and can only pray that with each suicide comes the resolve in everyone around them to never inflict that sort of pain on anyone else. People who commit suicide, I am convinced, were clueless that their exit would rip holes in hearts that will take years to scar over and heal, or I am certain that they would never do it.They truly seem to be the ones sensitive enough that inflicting pain can't be any part of their plan. Though I don't know you Paul, I pray that you are at peace from your personal sufferings and that your friends and loved ones will be strengthened to stand tall and strong and pick up the work that you were doing and carry on in your absence.
I can't help but think of the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, where on the edge of committing suicide, George Bailey,the main character in the story, gets a chance to see his life through everyone else's eyes, and to see how different the world would be if he had never been born. Each of us has a role to fill that no others can and how important it is for us to realize this, and then to go out of our way to appreciate this uniqueness in others as well. I pray that all of us may remember to reach out and communicate our appreciation, love and support of those whose lives touch ours every day. May we never forget how small acts of kindness may help heal the brokenness in us all.