About this time last week, I was saddened to hear that pro wrestler Brian Christopher had committed suicide in jail in the Memphis area at the age of 46 after a DUI arrest. It was widely known that Christopher was the son of Jerry Lawler, the man famous for a feud with comedian Andy Kaufman (which was quite a piece of stagecraft that many had thought for years was real) that hit network TV back in the early 1980’s, and may have been one of the catalytic factors for the boom in pro wrestling that hit in the middle part of the decade.
(Footnote: every once in a great while, there is a suicide that takes place that some people believe was actually a murder made to look like a suicide. The most notable example of this is the July 20, 1993 death of Vince Foster.)
I could never understand why someone would want to end their own life, especially in the last few decades of my own life experiences. My father died nearly three decades ago now – and my mother nearly got remarried to another man in the 1990’s, but in a phase of despondency, he committed suicide with pills and alcohol right before Christmas in 1996. Truth be told, it was the only passing of anyone close to me I couldn’t grieve for. My opinion has always been that it’s not up to me to decide when I leave the world and that this decision is made by higher powers, a.k.a. God. No matter what out there is waiting for you, it is meant for you to face it. You don’t avoid it.
I never cried so hard in my life watching a movie than I did when I watched What Dreams May Come, the 1998 film with Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in it. (The irony of there being a suicide in that movie and Williams himself committing suicide a couple of decades later – chilling.) In the movie, the character Gooding plays points out that (per the “rules” of Heaven according to the film) you go to Hell if you commit suicide.
I’ve never watched the film again, and it’s almost as if I had thought, “Yep. That’s probably how life works. Enough said.” The reward for living a full life is to be reunited with those who have passed on before us. The punishment is probably exactly what the film portrays – Hell.