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March 11, 2014
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Wise words from a 99 year old: ‘This too shall pass’

Recently Michaela Lake of Anew Day wrote a thoughtful article regarding suicide. As a 99 year old who several times faces that long, dark tunnel, may I offer some rays of light to those who are groping in the darkness of what seems to be a hopelessly dismal future?

First, and this may surprise you, almost every adult I’ve ever known has at some time in life felt, “What’s the use? Why not end it now?” One of the times of darkest thoughts is adolescence.

Here you’re coming into one of the most stressful times of your existence. You are being bullied, your grades are low, pregnancy is possible, drugs have you on a downhill slope, you feel alone, embittered and hopeless, and there’s no way out.

And you have no way of knowing that almost all of us have been where you are.

My best friend saved my life when he told me several times, “This too shall pass.” And it did.

Second. Don’t fight it alone. You’re fighting for your life, and you’re in bad condition. It’s too easy for the darkness to creep back in.

You vitally need support, and sometimes the ones who should be there for you aren’t. Call on groups like Anew Day, Suicide Prevention or Dial 911, and they’ll put you in touch with some wisdom and help.

One terribly sad thing about self-destruction is that it’s totally a no-return street. You can’t come to and say to yourself, “I wish I hadn’t done this.”

Do your parents and friends really deserve the anguish they’ll have forever?

I said I’ve been there, with no apparent way out. Sometimes there isn’t. What do you do then? You become like thousands of us who have been where you are. You refuse to give in. You reach out for help any way you can find it, even when it doesn’t seem to come.

You get mad at injustice, find the vital internal strength to go on, and yell to yourself, “I’ll prove I’m stronger than they are.”

And somehow miracles do happen. Five years later you look back at the scumbags who were giving you a bad time. They’re probably still here, still scumbags. And you’re also here; but you’re a member of the cream of the crop — you’re a survivor!

Otto Haueisen lives in Nevada City.


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The Union Updated Mar 11, 2014 11:42PM Published Mar 11, 2014 11:42PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.