Suicide is NOT Painless – By Kaz


By Guest Blogger: KAZ MATAMURA — Japanese (read bio)

I was raised by a Pollyanna mother.

When I broke my nose, she praised the fact that I had the guts to physically take on boys. When I ran from home at the age of eight, she encouraged me to become an explorer in the Amazon. Having her permission to smoke, drink or fight took away the excitement and desire to do these things. In her eyes I could do no wrong. But in my teen years, as typical as a teen can be, I rebelled against her view of the world. I started to train myself to be pessimistic.

By seventeen, I was running an independent advertisement agency in Tokyo. My job required no previous training because each situation was different; I was a troubleshooter. When one thing went wrong, such as a client getting red roses instead of white, or the color of the invitation didn’t come out like the proof, I showed up and met with the frustrated client. I talked for thirty minutes and walked away with a client who couldn’t wait to work with our firm again. The only training I ever had was a theatre improv game.

I was a superman who flies site to site. I was a savior whom people sought when there was no one else to turn to. The pessimist Kaz was ready for any worst situation.

That was until the morning a friend of mine jumped off the building.

It was early and we were all suffering from hangovers from a night before.

Mr. Suga is dead,” a man shouted as he is warning an arrival of William the Conqueror.

We knew only one Suga. Suga with the glasses. Suga, the communicator between a designer and a client. Suga who speaks so low on the phone, you preferred to just go to his office to avoid the trouble of asking him if he could please speak up?

Out of uncomfortable silence, a couple of guys started to mumble.

What is the next meeting he was supposed to take from the fuji Company?”

Do you know how far he along he got on the samples?”

The Wall Street-like chaos started. A few of us wondered how Mr. Suga died, but no one dared to ask. I stood there, awaiting the time to jump in to solve the problem.

Later that evening, another man from Mr. Suga’s office joined our gathering at a local bar. He told us that Mr. Suga’s wife wanted to see where Mr. Suga’s body hit the asphalt. The police told her that by the time she got there it would be all cleaned up.

One guy who saw it happen said, “It was just like a watermelon – squashed and spread everywhere.” Mr. Suga didn’t jump off from the building he worked at, but from a building none of us ever heard of, but only two minutes away. We wondered. He was always there when we called his office. He too had lost a lot of money in the stock market a year before. But we all did. He was a cushion between creativity and productivity – and he made sure everything he promised was delivered to his clients on time.

There was no way to get Mr. Suga out of this mess. He was gone. There was nothing I could do about it.

Then I was told that there would be a fee charged the family for clearing away the body. It would be more than $10,000.

My last attempt to claim my Superman-ness. “Shall we all chip in to support his family?”

No, they will be ashamed.”

They are not hurting for money.

It’s suicide. Not an accident.”

That was end of my being a problem solving super hero. I was tired of speculating. I just wanted everything to be as it is. I couldn’t or didn’t need to change anything.

Even after the suicides of four close friends, I have never come to understand why people kill themselves. I couldn’t see how ending your life is the only way to troubleshoot a problem.

One day your hope is vivid – that you can make anything possible. The next day, you start to believe you cannot go on any longer.

But no matter how bad things gets, I always had my mom talking, “C’mon, nothing can be that bad.”

I’m a lucky son of a bitch…or daughter of a bitch, to have to be able to believe in that. I still love this life and people on this planet (and their imperfection included – I find it very amusing…).

22 Responses to “Suicide is NOT Painless – By Kaz”

  1. annoymous says:

    suicide is a very touchy subject but you addressed it in a delicate way. i lost my best friend to suicide and every day i wish there was something i could have done to save her. thank you.

    • kaz says:

      Thank you! It is more interesting to remember how I felt then. I am more “numbed” than ever, and it is one sad thing about getting old and jaded. For that reason I love working with children. They are the reminder of BRIGHT EYES!

  2. Patty Kathman says:

    It is still so shocking to me that my agent in 2008 died this way. He appeared to have it together, was confident, calm and yet kind and polite. Tough and rather nice at the same time. He loved animals and was an advocate for them. I think I learned more about him after he died and that is sad too. I am not as confident as he was, well sometimes, but not always and certainly do not feel I have this grown up thing down. He appeared to be a real grown up in the world. If he could come to this terrible choice then I suppose we all could if enough things felt terrible to us. That is just it, I do not know.
    I don’t think one day life is fine and the next day you are filled with despair. I think maybe things happen in one’s life and over time, too many sad or bad things happen and you just feel you are doomed. It is such a final solution if one could call it that. I still to this day cannot believe this is what happened to him. That it couldn’t ave been prevented.

    In high school someone died this way and they devoted a whole page in the year book to them. I was a freshman and this was so strange, so mysterious to me. It should be talked about more openly because I have heard people sort of joke and say this and others say things like don’t even say that. So no wonder they won’t talk about it much. It can also be a chemical thing that happens too. I have had a few boyfriends that from time to time would say this in a joking way. In fact I think there is always a little truth in anything anyone jokes about, that is that serious. Very few people are as calm and deliberate as the daughter in Night Mother who just plans out her suicide, informs her mother and then proceeds to make plans for the evening and her mother’s life after wards while they have snacks and give manicures. I wish I understood myself, what happened to my former agent.

    • kaz says:

      thank you so much for sharing. The most important thing is we open ourselves up to TALK! and better yet, WRITE! Thank you, my friend!

    • Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

      The first time I saw ‘Night Mother, it touched me profoundly because as much as I hurt for the daughter, I hurt even more for the mother, who felt helpless to prevent the inevitable. The person who takes his life is gone, but those left behind could be messed up forever, especially if there’s no explanation. I think when people bring up the word “suicide” in reference to themselves, it is not something to be taken lightly, even if it’s said in a joking manner.

  3. Carol says:

    When I was younger, I could never understand how someone could have a nervous breakdown. I somehow thought there was a limitless tolerance for stress; you just couldn’t get everything solved in time and then there would be shit in the fan, but why would anyone have a breakdown? Then in grad school, I got to a point of stress where I suddenly thought, Now I know why people have nervous breakdowns! and realized I was on the verge of a breakdown. It didn’t happen, but I certain gained perspective and became more empathetic to those who had breakdowns. Likewise, when I was young, I could never understand why someone would ever commit suicide. Tomorrow was always another day where you might be able to solve the problem, right? Well, I’m older now and have seen more shit in life, and while I myself am NOT on the verge of suicide, I do think I understand there are many reasons why someone would not want to live anymore. I now have the capacity to empathize with them. So, I wish that no one would get to the point where they consider suicide to be a solution, but if they did get to that point, I wish our society would allow options for a more dignified way to die.

    • kaz says:

      The most important things is… we are here now. And we can GIVE IT ALL to enjoy this wonderful life! But yes, I wish I could think about my exist strategy, but am too busy living (and loving… and eating…)

    • Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your comment just reaffirms my belief that unless we walk in someone’s shoes, we have no idea what our attitude, response or mindset will be in a particular circumstance. All we can do is speculate and most times we think we are stronger than whatever choices the other person made at the time. That’s why empathy is so important in the big scheme of things.

      • Kaz says:

        So true. Every time I see some people driving INSANELY, and people honking at them, i think: WE DON’T KNOW THEIR STORIES. What if they are trying to see his/her dying mother at hospital? what if s/he is driving his injured passenger to ER? We tend to make judgement based on our own reaction, but sometimes I think it is much easier to “LET IT BE” and not to make any emotional reaction based on assumption.

  4. mimi says:

    I too lost two good friends to suicide. One because she couldn’t stand the pain of her migraines anymore. The other is still a mystery. Why he jumped off the building is still painful and baffling to me.

    • kaz says:

      Hope you can remember the laughter you guys shared!!! Thats how I remember you – whenever i see you and your beautiful family! xxx

  5. housewife says:

    suicide’s a bitch. its a horrible thing to happen. no one ever wins.

  6. Ellen B says:

    When looking back at the life I’ve led, I’m sure that many things happend which could be considered devistating. I don’t remember them. Looking back all that stands out are the good times, fun and laughter. Once in while there will be a twinge, but never enough to make me dwell on the sadder or more serious or difficult situations. Everyone who knows me well thinks of me as a “Polyanna” type. Maybe so, but for me all of lifes trials are filled with irony, and humor. I’m one of the lucky ones, do not understand suicide, cannot accept it. Senceless, wastefull, selfish. Go ahead throw things at me, I’ll only remember that you missed.

  7. Ellen B says:

    When looking back at the life I’ve led, I’m sure that many things happend which could be considered devistating. I don’t remember them. Looking back all that stands out are the good times, fun and laughter. Once in while there will be a twinge, but never enough to make me dwell on the sadder or more serious or difficult situations. Everyone who knows me well thinks of me as a “Pollyanna” type. Maybe so, but for me all of lifes trials are filled with irony, and humor. I’m one of the lucky ones, do not understand suicide, cannot accept it. Senceless, wastefull, selfish. Go ahead throw things at me, I’ll only remember that you missed.

  8. jasmine says:

    I always think that people who are left behind suffer the consequences of a suicide for a long time. They keep asking themselves if there was anything they could have done to change the situation. This is in addition to dealing with a loss of a friend or a family member. Somehow I feel worse for the close friends and family of the person who has died.

  9. Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

    The first time I saw ‘Night Mother, it touched me profoundly because as much as I hurt for the daughter, I hurt even more for the mother, who felt helpless to prevent the inevitable. The person who takes his life is gone, but the loved ones left behind could be messed up forever, especially if there’s no explanation. I think when people bring up the word “suicide” in reference to themselves, it is not something to be taken lightly, even if it’s said in a joking manner.

  10. Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

    Kaz, your mother is very interesting to me. :-)

    Well, I am glad you wrote about this topic as most people tend to shy away from it. People are hurting for one reason or another and unfortunately, as our world spirals at a faster and faster pace and with less and less personal contact, we don’t seem to notice those who are hurting deeply. Once we hear people’s problems one or two times, our eyes tend to glaze over, we avoid them because we don’t want to be burdened when we have our own problems to deal with. I try to give comfort, encouragement and spiritual support wherever I can. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than hopelessness reflected in the eyes of someone who just doesn’t want to live. Although there is great truth and comfort in the statement, “This, too, shall pass,” unfortunately, it obviously provides very little solace for those who just don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. For me, instead of rolling my eyes and dismissing someone as annoying, I make a conscious effort to see how I can help. You never know – one word can make a significant or ‘life-changing’ difference. Many thanks for the post.

    • Kaz says:

      You are one of the most comforting women I know. I LOVE being in your company. I am sooooo missing Allison’s comfort food, too!!!

      Keep spreading laughter, please! That’s all we can do! (and we are good at it!)

  11. housewife says:

    suicide’s a bitch. it is not painless and is a horrible thing to happen. no one ever wins.

  12. Afghan says:

    The thing is suicide knows no color, race, religion, financial or social status. I am especially curious about those suicide bombers however. Also lots of celebrities with all the fame and wealth have taken their lives and others like Jennifer Capriati have publicly said that life sometimes holds no allure for them. Suicide is definitely an intriguing animal that few of us can understand unless we face the same hopelessness ourselves. But the question remains what powerful agent brings about that hopelessness one that carries across so many different lines and situations. Because each situation is different I wonder if we will ever understand it on a deeper more meaningful level.

  13. Jessie says:

    Thanks for your blog. I came upon it on Google and it has been very comforting to me. The Life is sad at the moment but the comments here are very encouraging.

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