To the hopelessly imprisoned – to the dishonored and despised – to those who have failed, who have no future, no hope – to the abandoned, the brokenhearted, to those who are only remnants and fragments of men and women – how consoling, how enchanting is the thought of death.
And even to the most fortunate, death at last is a welcome deliverer. Death is as natural and as merciful as life. When we have journeyed long – when we are weary – when we wish for the twilight, for the dusk, for the cool kisses of the night – when the senses are dull – when the pulse is faint and low – when the mists gather on the mirror of memory – when the past is almost forgotten, the present hardly perceived – when the future has but empty hands – death is as welcome as a strain of music.
After all, death is not so terrible as joyless life. Next to eternal happiness is to sleep in the soft clasp of the cool earth, disturbed by no dream, by no thought, by no pain, by no fear, unconscious of all and forever.
One of the best men I ever knew, with an affectionate wife, a charming and loving daughter, committed suicide. He was a man of generous impulses. His heart was loving and tender. He was conscientious, and so sensitive that he blamed himself for having done what at the time he thought was wise and best. He was the victim of his virtues. Let us be merciful in our judgments.
All we can say is that the good and the bad, the loving and the malignant, the conscientious and the vicious, the educated and the ignorant, actuated by many motives, urged and pushed by circumstances and conditions – sometimes in the calm of judgment, sometimes in passion’s storm and stress, sometimes in whirl and tempest of insanity – raise their hands against themselves and desperately put out the light of life.
It is but a few steps at most from the cradle to the grave; a short journey. The suicide hastens, shortens the path, loses the afternoon, the twilight, the dusk of life’s day; loses what he does not want, what he cannot bear. In the tempest of despair, in the blind fury of madness, or in the calm of thought and choice, the beleaguered soul finds the serenity of death.
Let us leave the dead where nature leaves them. Let us pity the suffering, the despairing, the men and women hunted and pursued by grief and shame, by misery and want, by chance and fate until their only friend is death.