Smile at Someone Today

 

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Teetering on the edge.  Just what is needed to recharge the spirit?

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is a popular suicide location. (Somehow  ‘popular’ seems an odd word to use in this case. It is like saying the “No.1 suicide hot spot! Get your tickets now!”)

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Other ‘popular’ locations include Japan’s Aokigahara Forest (aka the ‘sea of trees’ and or ‘suicide forest’) and England’s Beachy Head.  Suicide is so common in these places that signs are posted urging potential victims to seek help.

The jump from the Golden Gate Bridge is 250 feet. Most victims die from the impact of the body hitting the water which can instantly demolish the central nervous system, transect the spinal cord and rip blood vessels. Not the mention the terror of falling which can cause an immediate heart attack. Even if they make it to the bottom alive, there is always the chance of drowning and shark attacks.  Reportedly, only 1% of those who jump survive.

One suicide victim who died jumping off the bridge left a note saying:

“I’m going to walk to the bridge.  If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”

He jumped.

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51 comments on “Smile at Someone Today

  1. zorazebic says:

    Intense and sadly very true. The ending is a lesson to all of us. A small act of kindness, even a smile can change a life. Thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This can be more complicated than just a smile. The unfortunate soul who was looking for a smile on his way to the bridge, could be doing this in the middle of a night, thus not meeting anyone on his way. His problem could have been more than just wanting a smile.

    Just saying

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes that is certainly true. Still you never know how you may help someone with a smile, a kind word, or an ear to listen 🙂

      Like

      • Your post is a nice reminder about the subject of suicide. I worked for the GGB District for 15 years and before I went out on the bridge for the first time I was told to smile and wave to everyone—and to stop and chat with anyone who looks to be distressed.

        On a side note: The sidewalks are closed to pedestrians after a certain time of night. It changes with the seasons and accommodates the early/late hours of the sunrise/sunset.
        Ω

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it does make a difference (at least in general) if we smile at one another and make an effort to be cheerful. People need to know someone cares.

        I saw the Bridge for the first time a few years ago while vacationing in San Fran. Our tour guide briefly mentioned the suicide cases but of course did not want to dwell on it. I thought it was an interesting/ sad phenomenon.

        Thanks so much for your kind words! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

  4. theword36 says:

    I’ve had a few suicides in my life so far of people I loved , it’s terrible. I am still mad at them really, but I also understand them. But the insane rage and confusion and hurt one feels right after one discovers someone they love has done it , it’s VERY intense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I have had a few also. I totally understand it — the reasons, the inclinations and emotions involved. I have a very spiritual outlook on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theword36 says:

        I’ve always tried to explain to folks who get unusually weirded out by it that other cultures don’t think of suicide and hell as being “combined”. The ancient Romans for one thought it was honorable in certain situations. These days thanks to the Big 3 it gets painted as this horrific thing- “the worst death.” The Romans would have considered someone who committed it for no “real reason “to be an idiot – i.e. Over love like Marc Antony – but if someone actually had a sincere reason (like again Marc Antony sort of did because he was horrifically defeated and humiliated by Augustus ) then they actually praised it. They had no real tolerance for defeat lol “oh my god we lost miserably …where’s the nearest knife??” It was in and out for the Romans lol .

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes — for the Romans it could be a ‘noble act’. Kind of like Hari Kari. But for modern folks it is usually out of desperation. I suppose how we view it would depend upon our belief systems…

        Like

  5. HI Christine,
    You may be interested in this article about a man (now dead) who used to try to talk down people contemplating suicide at the heads in Sydney. He just lived across the road and would walk over with his hands open, smile and ask if there was anything he could do. Apparently he talked down about 160 people. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/death-of-the-angel-of-the-gap-the-man-who-saved-the-suicidal-from-themselves-20120514-1ymle.html hope the link works
    Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe they should put this in dangerous places:

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yeah, might need rephrasing as a help sign but seems to have the right idea. The signs on the cliffs in Sydney emphasise reaching out to others …

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Armitage says:

    Christine, thank you so much for this. Sometimes in the midst of one’s own dramas, one forgets how much the smallest gesture might mean to someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. this is a beautiful post. sad, but beautiful. thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m going to smile at a whole lot of people today. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That is tragic, it really is a cruel cold world.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. kritikam2812 says:

    Indeed. A smile welcomes people to open up. It encourages people to talk.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I didn’t know about Beachy Head but I knew about the suicide forest and the Japanese custom of finding “suicide buddies” sometimes on-line. It is sad…but I think we have to acknowledge that many problems are real and deep and that some people have trouble finding a reason to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Forrest Pasky says:

    My best friend from high school jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.
    He was 19.
    Thanks for writing this piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. cindy knoke says:

    Such an incredibly beautiful post. Thank you. We humans mess things up so consistently for vulnerable and exceptional people, animals, and the planet. It makes me mad and sad, and is why I like wild animals. They are generally much nicer.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Awesome post! Gave me goods bumps to read the Last note from one of Those who jumped from the Golden Bridge

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow. This is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. chryssed says:

    This is amazing and awespiring…. thank you for your piece. I have been that person who needed the smile but because someone offered me one I was able to come the person with the smile

    Liked by 1 person

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