My week off work is coming to a close; the weather is also turning. Today was a little cooler and rippled with sunlight penetrating gray clouds. Got little sleep last night because I was thinking about a couple of things we learned late yesterday. We spoke to Hubby’s daughter on the phone who gave us some troubling news. She’s dropping out of the Prince’s Trust program at Dumfries House in Scotland to care for her boyfriend who was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The Trust will hold her place if she wants to return later. If anyone can walk through this, it’s her. She has the intelligence, the emotional strength, and the flexibility to try whatever is available to them to turn this around, although it doesn’t look good. She also told us that someone we knew back in the UK had died by suicide a few months ago. We hadn’t heard anything about this before. James’s parents were friends of ours from the community we lived in; he was around 14 when I first met him and in his early thirties when he died this summer. We had no idea he suffered, and by all accounts from his postings on Facebook, he was happy and healthy. During the night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how devastating this must be to his close-knit and beautiful family. Such profound sadness.
I’ve known others who have taken their lives, and although on the one hand I understand rock bottom darkness, I still find it so desperately tragic that some people see no way out of that darkness. James ended his life in a place in nature where he often walked near his home. I can’t know what he was thinking about the place he chose; I can only speculate that he found some comfort there, using nature as a portal toward his journey Home.
My tree wisdom class tonight was about bearing witness. Not only do trees bear witness to our suffering, but we cause great suffering to trees for which we should—and sometimes are forced to—bear witness. Forest fires, landslides, invading pests and fungi, logging to make way for housing, roads, buildings, grazing animals…lots of tree suffering. My stepdaughter is bearing witness to her boyfriend’s journey through cancer. Who or what bore witness to James’ final journey? I hope he found peace in the end. And I hope we can all find peace in ourselves enough so that we can truly see the damage we’ve done to our home, this planet, and begin to change how we live on it.