The  news of the loss of Robin Williams is saddening. I however can't help feeling that it is the shared delusion of a better place to go that was likely the cause. This is not a new idea as suicide to speed along the journey to "heaven" that caused the church to announce that it was a sin. Those who say religion isn't harmful if practiced alone I believe are mistaken or have never lost a loved one who was alone with their ideas of a better place. Maybe this idea is ill timed, but I have seen many instances where life was lost due to someone hoping for the promised land because their ideas were allowed to manifest unchallenged.

Just my thoughts


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Is that anything like Napolean's famous saying that religion was the only thing keeping the masses from killing their leaders?

Of course it is, Napoleon knew the strategies to keep his soldiers in line and their families pacified. That is how he got as far as he did. Just like King David, Alexander the Great, Constantine the Great, Joan of Arc, Stonewall Jackson, William Rosecrans, Braxton Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston, John Bell Hood, kept the masses in line with religion. 

Ageing isn't easy, but then, neither is being born or learning to walk, or figuring out how to live with another human being or raising teenagers, or going over the peak at middle age, or the dimming of vision, loss of hearing, creaking joints, and aching muscles. Life isn't easy. There comes a time when life is unbearable or boring and suicide is a responsible, reasonable answer. 

The trick is to live life to the fullest, find your bliss, as Campbell said, and go for the joys of life. For me, joy is being with family, neighbors and friends, talking about separation of church and state and politics, chatting on Atheist Nexus with people who like to think, joy is puttering in my garden and not dusting, vacuuming and cleaning my house. Who cares if my house is one big gob of dust balls and I just don't see it any more. In fifty years, who will care? 

My real joy is participating with people who enjoy a good debate, who create sound arguments based on thinking through a situation. I love it when people find flaws in my reasoning and have the brains and guts to tell me why they think I am wrong and provide evidence that gives me a reason to change my mind. Another great joy is learning a new perspective. My life is richer for it. 

Growing older means mining the memories of the past, sitting in a lawn chair with my feet up, a cup of coffee, birds and squirrels flying and running very close to my head and feet. It is toast with homemade jam, milled flax seeds, yogurt and a handful of nuts on top. It means going to birthday parties instead of doing all the work to bring happiness to others. It means not doing all the cooking; thankfully my son who shares a home with me is a very good cook and likes to create a beautiful plate of food. 

I am profoundly happy during this stage of life. I am 78 years old and this past weekend I spent participating with my six great-grandchildren, wondering what their life will be like when they are 78. I am doing my best to prepare them for life and living ... during good times and bad. As Laura says, just by living a good life, they learn, grow, develop into good citizens. 

My family is a remarkable group of people. Everyone works, even the four year old and the now 15 year old. The four week old little girl will grow and develop in a loving, caring, team of individuals who share a family. They all have responsibilities and know how to act in ways that bring them joy as they do not trample on others' joy. They keep me from falling over when I fall asleep during a party, they bring me beautiful plates of food, they treat animals gently and their train their dogs to behave. They care about each other, seldom argue and use good life-skills to resolve conflicts and problems. Sitting in this group of family members, I am content.

My job is done. I can sit in my lawn chair with my feet up until I don't want to do that any more and I have options. I am not a victim of my growing older, I am a participant in the good life with good people. 


Joan, it sounds like, as they say, you've got it "made in the shade".

I can't understand why anyone would kill themselves with a painful method like hanging or drowning.  Perhaps it's a spur-of the moment thing when stress & depression becomes unbearable, and the person doesn't want to take the time for a better method.

I've never been in so much pain or depression that I was willing to end it immediately by any method at hand.  I wouldn't even want to shoot myself in the head, which seems like a fairly quick method, because there is the possibility of botching the job and waking-up debilitated &/or in pain.

there is the possibility of botching the job and waking-up debilitated &/or in pain.

- most horrible thought of all.  Before suicide attempt:  depressed.  After suicide attempt:  depressed, with permanent mental or physical handicap. 

Spud, that is my reaction, hanging or drowning don't sound like an option for me. Going to sleep after a happy day and not waking up sounds about right. 

In the meantime, I am collecting new memories. Problem is, short term memory doesn't store as well as old memories. Today, I am creating my new raspberry bed and I should be able to remember this day as I munch on those delightful red gems for the next 20 years. 

How about you, what is your day turning out to be?

Raining today, which both me and my garden are pleased about. 

I'm also happy to have removed an old refrigerator from the mess in my garage.  I'm getting ready to call Idaho Power, who will remove it and give me $30 as well.  

I also removed a natural gas stove from the garage, where I put it after buying it at a yard sale.  I plan on installing in my kitchen in place of the electric one.  That will save half the cost of cooking.

Joan, I like the sound of your plan to live to 100 and not wake-up after a happy day.

People talk about death and dying and how scared they are. I guess that's why they like religion. I tell people I am not afraid to die, it's just that I want no pain involved.

Talking to a friend a few years ago, I mentioned the actor/singer Ken Curtis who was Festus Hagen on Gunsmoke. Curtis died in his sleep. My friend and I both decided that was how we wanted to die.

This doesn't mean (as some mistakenly find out) that you can take a bottle of sleeping pills and die nicely. Even if you succeed this way it's a horrible way to go. The "cure" for this overdose is even worse. I have a relative who tried it.

Same for me.  Not afraid to die, just want no pain involved.

I've had depression most of the time now for 30 years.  It's mostly been at a low level, although before I escaped the stress and fear from religious indoctrination, it did reach a level where I planned my suicide. 

I have a quick no-pain plan for when the time comes that it's needed.  However, since escaping religion and coming-out to my family, my depression has been reduced dramatically.  It's now at a low level, and I see no need for suicide in the foreseeable future.

My brother shot himself in the heart.  Sounds like that could be a painful death also.  But I think part of the reason he did it that way was because he wanted to make a statement. 

A girl he liked was a little young for him, so her mother told her not to see him again.  He went to their house, ask them to come outside, and then did it in front of them. 

Whew!  Some statement!  Probably caused them years of anguish, but at least he didn't shoot them.

I had a friend, historian and author Peter Putnam, who—in a deep depression—attempted suicide as an undergraduate at Princeton, and blinded himself. He recovered from the depression and went on to finish his Ph.D. in history, married, and had two children. He wrote a number of books, including one about his experience afterwards. He was a delightful and intelligent man with a wonderful sense of humor. The message is that even after a botched suicide there is good life to be found.



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