‘Why Does Not Want to Find Joy in Losing Someone I Love?’

Like the modern-day renegade Thomas Edison, I’m a hopeful inventor in dire need of a miracle. I’m on a path to double my life expectancy, and I can do it without Botox or expensive,…

'Why Does Not Want to Find Joy in Losing Someone I Love?'

Like the modern-day renegade Thomas Edison, I’m a hopeful inventor in dire need of a miracle. I’m on a path to double my life expectancy, and I can do it without Botox or expensive, big-brand cancer treatment — just having some sort of initiative and an eye for value and savings.

If you can do that, I can’t be far behind.

Sometimes, it just takes a simple solution — just one simple action or transition or habit — to see your life improve in such profound ways that you can’t see what you did.

Unlike Edison, I already thought of ways to reduce my fear and improve my life. I thought of ways to adjust how I die. As it turns out, I did them. And I do it — and I see real change.

I’m a survivor of suicide. Not the kind you see on TV. Not the kind where someone wakes up from a coma or is revived by some fancy technology. It’s my body, not my mind. It’s my way of life. It’s not about living or dying — it’s about joy and quality of life.

After my husband died, we lost an average of about four family members a year. I realized this was one thing we were doing to encourage suicide.

Where there’s suffering, there’s suicide. It goes back and forth, I can tell you.

Now, I have to look at my life as a living “grief continuum.”

You’ve heard of “full circles?” In 2001, Dr. Raoul Wakefield conducted an experiment with the subject: how long do you stick with someone if you can’t stand to see them alive?

In his experiment, the researcher tested (among others) a 12-year-old boy who had spent much of his life alone. He could imagine having as many life-long companions as he wanted, but once he became a teenager, he wanted no part of any new companion.

The experiment was straightforward. It divided this young man into two lines: the live line (12-year-old) and the dead line (16-year-old). Here’s how it worked: for each of these participants, Wakefield asked them to tick the box for an old girlfriend on the former line, a friend on the latter.

That’s as far as we went with this line of questioning.

When I look at my life, I see a lot of people in the living stream, but it’s a very different person when I reach out to them. We really talk about everything — life events, hopes, concerns, curiosity, regret, sadness, pain.

You know, the stuff that people talk about in our real-life interactions with each other.

It was the living experiments that I loved the most. Yes, I’m putting myself out there; yes, it’s uncomfortable. But I found when I was writing about my lived life online, or even in conversation with someone, I heard a new voice.

It was a genuine voice. And I got to hear the stuff that friends and family members usually never hear.

Maybe we should all spend more time talking about our lived lives.

Or we can ask ourselves, “How did I spend the last decade of my life?”

Whether it’s traveling, or taking a marathon trip to the South Pole, or volunteering at an orphanage, or traveling with a companion, or even just talking about what’s happening in our homes, friends, and family, maybe we can inspire each other to do the same.

Maybe we can dream of how we can add happiness to our lives, or help each other have more happiness in their lives.

So I’m going to keep living. And I’m going to double my life expectancy.

In many ways, this dream of yours has come true.

Allison Rosati lives in New York. She is the author of “Living with the Dead” (John Wiley & Sons, 2015) published by the John Wiley & Sons press.

Leave a Comment