Today's WXRT Flashback year is 1993, and it's dredging up some long dormant thoughts and feelings. Specifically, a Nirvana song reminded me of how I can't get behind moral absolutism, brought into focus by Kurt Cobain's suicide.

At the time, I was working for a fire district, planning special events and writing newsletters and press releases and other impertinent stuff. When Cobain killed himself, a disgusted firefighter/paramedic remarked that suicide is the most selfish thing a person could do.

And I understood why he said that. He had to clean up the aftermath, to see the anguished family members and friends leftbehind, to witness the pain and mess that resulted from a suicide. So, what he said wasn't "wrong."

But I also understood why somebody would do something like that. I understood how the pain of living could be so excruciating that a person couldn't bear it any longer. So, I could sympathize with Cobain as well.

At the time, I found it difficult to fathom that the firefighter didn't understand why Cobain did it. We all knew Cobain was a heroin addict; didn't he see how that was self-medication? Didn't the firefighter deal with that level of pain? Didn't everyone? It didn't occur to me that a person could be content, to not feel a stabbing pain every day, that for some people life didn't consist of swallowing degradations and having pieces of your soul ripped away on a daily basis? At the time I assumed everyone felt the way I did.

What amazed me about myself today, is that I could remember those days without either reopening wounds or re-immersing myself in that sea of pain. I could think about it without wallowing or forcing myself to look away to avoid wallowing.

I'm glad I could remember without re-living, because now I can empathize with a person like that without succumbing to the same feelings. I've always wanted to help people in the situation I had been in, to give back because people helped me when I needed it. But I never could before, because if I tried, I knew I'd start drowning along with the people I was trying to help. But now, maybe I'm finally healed enough to do it.

It's something to think about. And finally, thinking about it doesn't send me back to where I was.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

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