I posited a number of different scenarios of when there might not be an invitation. Despite being the love partner of someone the loss might occur in another part of the world, or it might be sudden and unexpected or there could be an estrangement that is painful.
What had not occurred to me though was suicide. Until the shocking news of Robin Williams’ tragic death I had not thought about the relationship between the metaphoric Actual Dance and those who love someone who commits suicide.
Suicide is the ultimate lack of an invitation to be the Dance partner. It seems to me to be different from every other situation. What makes it different, I think, is the overwhelming sense of guilt that can be left inside every single person who wonders if they might have been able to help. Especially those who are closest to the person who commits suicide.
Love is an engagement of the soul between two people. It happens when our “essence becomes entwined.” (See my poem “US”). Death of course separate those souls, at least in the temporal dimension – the “real world” of the everyday life. In the dimension of spirit and feeling and connection, the souls remain entwined, we still love that person and still hold them inside of us. The Dance is the process of realignment from the physical to the meta-physical presence inside of us. It starts with the events leading to the loss and it continues until the realignment is done, however long that may take.
Suicide seems different. It feels like an internal malfunction. The process and system stop because of some sort of cosmic error. Nothing seems workable. Reconciliation can sound obscene.
Yet as I sit here on a performance day, getting ready to appear before an audience to hopefully move and transform them I find myself thinking: “There has to be a Dance. There is always a Dance.”
It feels more like an aggressive Tango. The movements are not slow and elegant. They are sharp and quick, seemingly harsh. Partners are thrown around. Maybe even in a suicide the Dance happens, and starts even earlier in the process than in other circumstances. Maybe suicide is a Dance gone wrong. The struggle before the loss must itself be a spiritual and emotional journey for those who love the person.
In Ballroom Dancing competitions there are programs where the dancers switch between different dances in a single routine. Rumba to Waltz. Tango to Bolero. Maybe in the darkness of the struggles with the one we love who commits suicide our dance changes from the harsh struggle to help him or her overcome their demons to eventually something more soothing and gentle until everything that has to be resolved for us is resolved and our life can go on. In time, even with suicide, the beauty, dignity and love in the relationship is what we can discover and carry inside of us. Maybe, one hopes, it becomes an “elegant, slow, flowing, beautiful waltz.”