Categories
Observations Poetry

Do we have Empathy with Suicide?

A while back I mentioned “The Box”, a cardboard filing box full of old writings, poetry and creative work I had worked on particularly when I was involved in youth work at our local church. During that time I had a job working as car salesman at a local Toyota car yard and from a tragic situation I wrote the poem on this page called “My Friend of Eight Months”. Attached to the car sales was a mechanical workshop, a parts division and a Shell petrol station. While everyone worked different hours and the business embodied a wide range of personalities including mine, the focal point was a social room where people would gather for drinks and a game of pool after work.

It was here that I met a young man who started work at the petrol station. He was a great guy, always encouraging and seemed to constantly have a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Sadly it was this same young man who didn’t seem to have a care in the world who didn’t turn up for work one Saturday morning. He had committed suicide the night before after his shift. I don’t know what was the tipping point. I have no idea whether his burden was one he had carried for so long that he had found a way to make it look like he had it sorted out. Maybe something hit him that night or week that he felt unprepared to deal with.

Suicide is the hardest level of empathy. I know he deserves my understanding. He had my respect as a friend and a colleague. Sadly now there is no way to empart the empathy or listening ear that might have heard a clue or connected two dots to help him avoid this fate. We wish that there had been a way to connect him to counselling that may have seen him through the mire he was in. It may have come to pass, but for him counsel was either unavailable or in a place he could connect. I’ve tried now to listen better and be a better friend to others. I know I still get busy but I grew in a small way to think that a smile doesn’t always reveal a heart. As I dealt with his death I wrote this poem a little while after his funeral.

If you have known or have walked alongside someone who has committed suicide I’d love your thoughts in the comments below the post. Many thanks for being willing to share.

My Friend of Eight Months

Thinking back is to late and worthless
Except to remember the good
His pleasure of friendship
The wide smile of greeting
His zeal to assist me
The dry sense of humour

I wonder what life was like for him
All that can be done is learn
Urgency meant rush, rush, rush
His music turned to peak
Drive and get around alot
His style was loud to impress

Wish we could turn the clock back one week
But how would we know?
His manner was jovial then
Was he different to you and I?
His personal life quite unknown
Remorse and sorrow mix bitter sweet

Written: 16/3/1991
Author: Andrew Pitchford

Categories
Observations Poetry

Up to Heaven

Up to Heaven

I wrote this when the father of a family I knew passed away. It was hard to see a soft quiet godly man die and yet you knew he was going to be with His Lord and Saviour. Sometimes words fail to express what is being felt inside.

Up to Heaven

I knew a man, so strong with silent features

Quite a man

He loved his own so dearly and even me

Quite a man

It’s hard to understand why God led him by the hand

Up to Heaven

But deep inside we know it was a better place to go

Up to Heaven

 

Author: Andrew Pitchford

Categories
Observations Poetry

Things that should be said

Things that should be said

Things that should be said

There are many things I'd like to say
and there are many things I could
But if all I do is say them
then I guess I never should

You see words without meaning are like
flowers without their petals
or morning without its dew
like a puppy without its soft wet tongue
or me without my you.

I know that I don't own you
You've given that honour to the Lord
All I want is to be your friend
then I can love you to the end

My heart has turned full circle
and twisted like a rung out cloth
Tears fall like rung out water
as I come to face my fear of loss

I've let you down and this you know
but now I lift you up to show
You are my love I'm not ashamed
I'm proud because you bear my name

Your smile has always brought me joy
It helps me remember life's to enjoy
To God I lift my song of praise
Your beauty is defined, there is no more

You've dedicated yourself to Abbey and me
Our little family at this time only three
But I feel it is my turn to make a stand
I love you, I need you, I care for you
Please hold my hand.

Love Andrew

Author: Andrew Pitchford
Written: 1992

Categories
Observations Poetry

Time and Slumber

Time and Slumber

Time and Slumber

Time is measured by the once
but pleasure by the pound
We forsake the hour's warning tide
Sit back with men feeling warm inside

Did Christ enjoy social expense
Or sit in critique at a neighbour's fence 
His time was ours he spent it well
Used healing hands to salvation tell

Why do you slumber instead of march
Is this gratitude, limbs stiff as starch
Accept what yours, forgiveness free of charge
Heaven's transport flown, not a deathly barge

Author: Andrew Pitchford

Categories
Observations Poetry

Spiral Jail

Spiral Jail

Spiral Jail

Cries of anguish spout forth in fear
Who can I believe?

The postman is my wife's best friend
My heartache a banker's leer
Our priest buys his VCR, our sacrifice 
My own resolutions end this January hour

So I delve into the closet for a skeleton feast
Place them in a heated age
Let loose the flow into a sculptured mould
Cool past the molten phase
F O R G I V E N
Because man is made man and not a priest 
We make mistakes from embarassed rage
So forgive us for our lives which now unfold
Trying, we're blocked by the wall amazed

SPIRAL JAIL II

My heart should be flushed, rid of doubt
Which way will I turn?

The corner store is poverty's struggle
Oceans separate blood by water
Sex becomes video's smorgasbord selection 
This home is shelter against my mortgaged soul

 

Author: Andrew Pitchford
Written: 22/11/1990 

Categories
Observations Poetry

100% Pure New Zealand

Try as you may you can’t find a country as fresh, vibrant and enticing as New Zealand.

I know its hard to put it into words.

How do you explain "God’s Own"?

Take a country where you can drive
from the surf and sand of the coast
to the ski fields of a volcano.
Dip in cool refreshing pools or
peer into the depths of the trout-lands.
Drive across the undulating pastures
of emerald green dairy country
to a bush sanctuary where walking paths
meander towards heaven and
while hunters crouch far from the trail.

Be at peace, you have found a home
where your clouds drift by,
rain falls gently and sun glistens on
the fern and web of forest homes.
This is a place where healing begins,
dreams are born and the life of the
wanderer is at peace with the settler.
Aotearoa is my land of the long white cloud,
a haven of contemplation enveloped
in the mist of a Genesis creation.

– Andrew Pitchford

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