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Prime Timers Project Semicolon

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There are too many of us who, over the years, have questioned our right to exist. If you are reading this then you are one of the survivors. Once upon a time I believed a certain bridge abutment on the way to work had my name on it. Fortunately, that bridge abutment is both figuratively and literally no longer there.

There, I've said it, I have had thoughts of suicide. In the privacy of your own space, may I have a show of hands from all reading this who can relate? Good, now I feel better, I know I'm not the only one. But just as importantly, you also now know that you are not the only one.

So, why talk about all this scary business? Coming out is not a one-time thing, it is a process and part of that process means getting honest about many things in our lives. Most often, what keeps us from opening up is fear, "What will people say?" And too often in the past, the response was blunt and negative.

A bit of personal history. A couple of weeks ago my third daughter, who suffers from anxiety and suicidal ideation, went along to a funeral and when we returned to the house I noticed a large semicolon on the back of her car. When I asked her about it she simply said, "The semicolon is used grammatically when a person could end the sentence but decides not to." She went on to tell me about an organization she has become involved with called Project Semicolon. This organization's purpose is to help all who suffer from suicidal ideation to use the semicolon; to continue the sentence. That is, to continue with life, not as a "sentence" to be served but as an adventure to be enjoyed if possible but, at the very least, to be survived with the dignity of knowing that we are worthwhile, useful people.

If you can relate to all this on a personal level then, perhaps, you are ready to share that with others. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Armistead Maupin's writings, in particular, "Michael's letter to mama" from Tales of the City. Here's a quote from that letter that all may find in it some inspiration to reach out to younger people as circumstances allow:

"No, Mama, I wasn't 'recruited'. No seasoned homosexual ever served as my mentor. But you know what? I wish someone had. I wish someone older than me and wiser than the people in Orlando had taken me aside and said, 'You're all right, kid. You can grow up to be a doctor or a teacher just like anyone else. You're not crazy or sick or evil. You can succeed and be happy and find peace with friends — all kinds of friends — who don't give a damn who you go to bed with. Most of all, though, you can love and be loved, without hating yourself for it.' But no one ever said that to me, Mama."

And, of course, we can all reach-out to older men as well. This is one of the basic tenants of Prime Timers, that no one need sit home alone.

If you find this article helpful, I am gratified. If you want to know more you might google Project Semicolon. You might also find some mental health organization that suits you and see how you can be of help to them. You can at least talk with your fellow Prime Timers, they are there to help and be supportive.

Remember the meaning of the ;

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