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Monday, February 24, 2020

No More Suicide Notes

During my first semester at Wesley College of Education, 2006, a call came from my mum one day after lectures. I was informed of the death of a relative whom I called an elder brother. He had lived with us for about ten years.

I was in the lower primary school when he moved him to stay with us and he moved out when I was about to complete basic school. At the time I completed senior high school, he had built a house with 4 rooms at a suburb of Obuasi close to where my family lives. I stayed with him in his rented room before I completed junior high school and after senior high school, I moved to live with him in his new house.

Hard Times Beckoning

He had managed to put up his house through the activities of ‘gather and sell’ (galamsey), an illegal mining activity very rampant in the gold mining city at the time. When I finally left his house, his wife divorced him, taking along some of the documents of his land and house. I remember receiving a call one Saturday morning from him asking me to come over to his house. He showed me the remainder of the documents. I looked through them and assured him there was nothing to be afraid of.

Hard Times and Suicide

He felt very sick afterwards and grew very lean coupled with  problems at work. After some few months, he started regaining his strength and looked energetic again. He was naturally tall and well built. We nicknamed him Jackie Chan.
I remember a chat we had one day. One of our tribesmen attempted committing suicide but was rescued on time when he started screaming after the rope he tied around his neck started choking him.
“He should have been beaten before been sent to the police station”, he said.

‘’What happened to him?’’, I asked my mum.
“He hanged himself in his room ’’, she replied.
I couldn’t speak on the phone for about 30 seconds. I hanged up.

Unanswered Questions

Suicide? No, that’s not my ‘jackie chan’. He can’t do that.
What could possibly be worrying him?
He has his own house and he was able to survive his divorce.
He was able to survive that sickness.
What did he need that he couldn’t get?
These and many more questions kept racing through my mind.

After over a decade, I am yet to get an answer to any of my questions and I doubt I will get one.

Why Suicide

Many people in better conditions than my brother have also committed suicide. A lawyer committed suicide in his office and another man jump from a storey building to his death. Have you ever at one point in your life felt that the earth opened and swallowed you up? The feeling isn’t different from the ones felt by those who had committed suicide. Anything, no matter how irrelevant you might think it is, can cause someone to commit suicide.
Have you ever taken a big loan from a financial institution for a project and the project is incurring more debt rather than producing profit and the lenders are also on your neck? How did you feel?
Have you ever shared someone’s secret with another you trust and that person turns around and informs the person who told you the secret?
How did you feel?

Meeting the right people

The difference between those who killed themselves in similar situations and you, is the people you spoke to coupled with how you think you are needed in this world. All the people who have committed suicide could have been alive now if they had trusted one good person and felt they were loved irrespective of the conditions they found themselves.
Sometimes, I asked myself what I could have done to prevent my brother from committing suicide. Was there something he was keeping inside him waiting for someone to show him he cares before he opens up? Each and every one of us has a duty of helping to solve the suicide menace in our country.

Where is the Love?
Some doctors and nurses talk the way they like to patients. Some teachers shout and beat students at the least provocation. Same story goes for some lenders who run after borrowers into any hole they enter ready to do anything to get their monies back. Banks have fewer chairs for the many customers they are attending to, leaving many standing for hours to deposit or withdraw money. There is no love in the country. No provisions for disabled persons. Politicians are looting the country leaving the poor to grow poorer.
Lady Prempeh once released a song titled ODO NO WO HE (Where is the love?), and I am asking the same question again, WHERE IS THE LOVE?

Some pastors don’t care whether you have money or not, they will try to convince you till you give out all you have. You can’t send a case to the police station and win it at the court if you can’t pay well. Someone should tell me where the love we preach about has gone. God and posterity won’t forgive us if another soul is lost due to our negligence to show love.

The solution to suicide is in our hands. Be good to everybody you meet whether you know them or not, who knows, you might be saving a soul from committing suicide. Let’s not wait for the suicide notes. They are memories of our failure to do the right thing. We can make things right, now.

The Real Problem

It is not the poison, the height or the rope that kills, it is the pain we can’t let go of, the shame we can’t live with and the feeling of hopelessness and loneliness. If you have life, you can always start over again. Say NO to suicide! Start showing Love! We don’t want any more suicide notes. We need you! No more suicide notes


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