I never know what is really going on inside someone else. And they will never know what is really going on within me.

So much of life is lived in disguise. The surface hums along and I hum with it. The subterranean sorrow that lies beneath the surface lives in the recesses of a silent world that resides undetected.

An “aha” moment for me was standing in line at the grocery store. I was there collecting something for Matt. I don’t even remember what it was, but it was needed right away. Lydia was still alive, but long past her ability to run to the store. I do remember it was one of those moments where I was teetering between exhaustion and complete collapse.

When it was my turn to check out, I pulled out my checkbook to pay. I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate and it was taking longer than the woman behind me would have preferred. She let out a loud sigh of disgust. I turned to with a look that could kill, but fortunately it didn’t. She backed off and so did I. I went back to writing the check.

Benjamin Aug 14 Want to dieBeneath the look I gave her I was saying, “You have no idea what I’m dealing with.” As I was leaving the store and returning home, I started the process of thinking about how no one knew, and how I did not know what others were dealing with either. Who knows what was really going on in that woman’s life?

Whenever I sit with someone now, or meet someone on the street, I am aware of how little I really know. She or he could be dealing with monumental challenges and simply keeping them submerged in their own subterranean sorrow lying beneath the surface. I walk softly into the lives around me for I know not what lives there.

I do not hide away my sorrow. It’s just sorrow rarely fits comfortably in the world around me. There are certain people, certain places, certain occasions where sorrow surfaces. I am not hiding. I am waiting. I hold what needs to be held until I find the time and space to let it go into the expanse.

The moments of expanse come greatest for me to two ways – when I am in the safe surrounds of solitude and when I am with another that knows such surroundings.

Robin Williams’ suicide has touched a cord for so many people. People on the outside can’t understand why. People who live on the inside of such a world in which Robin lived know why.

There have been many who come to this page that have lost someone very dear through suicide. I can’t even imagine what this collective soul searching we have experienced with Williams’ death has triggered for them. My heart is open wide for you.

There are those that come to this page that want to die. The pain is so great, the sorrow so overwhelming. My heart knows the rhythmic beat of such a place and silently sits beside you.

I have in the past wanted to die. After Matt died and all my family was gone I had no intention of living beyond a certain time. The unbearable nature of the moment held little hope for any moment to come. Every day was a herculean effort to raise from my bed into a world that left nothing, held nothing, was nothing.

So, I leaned into nothing. It was all I had left. And as every moment tore deeper into me I followed nothing into its depths.

Perhaps some would have speculated that I was suicidal (for it was a daily challenge), but most just saw me from a distance. Even as the ones that loved me stood next to me, the distance was beyond reach for both of us. They could not see into the darkness and I could not see out of the darkness.

Benjamin Aug 15 DeepI don’t know what kept me alive. I inched my way through the miniscule moments left of me and inch by inch nothing unfolding a little of something. The first something was my commitment to lean into the nothing. As I walked the jagged shoreline of Northern California, something became the search of where loss and sorrow would lead. Today, the search for something has become the unfolding of everything. I want to go as deep as I can into the interior terrain of life. Everything is not out there. Everything is in here.

When I heard about Robin Williams, I was saddened but not shocked. I get it. I understand that kind of interior lament that’s caught in an empty echo chamber. I know distance. I know the kind of world within that has no relationship to the world around me.

I have been given so many gifts in my life. I know fullness. I know emptiness. And I know how little I really know. Especially when I sit with another. I have no idea what someone is really going through just as they know so little of what I live with each day.

We don’t simply don’t know…until we invite someone in and tell them. The only way I have been able to break the isolation of my sorrow is to find another that is willing to listen, to hear and to know.

I believe we all want to be known and know another. In my initial exploration of nothing, on my way to everything, I was gifted by others who knew and gave me the gift of being known. Somehow I let them in and they carried a torch they had found along their way deep into my darkness to light my way. They saved my life.

I hope you have such people in your life. If you think you are living in utter aloneness, you are not. Please reach out into the darkness. When I did I found the touch of another. And I found in that touch nothing became something, and something is now everything.

When I thought I had come to the end, I found I had arrived at the beginning.

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