It's an aching that will not end, the sensation of being trapped in pain, with no one limb, no muscle, not even a follicle a victim can point to and say, "Here; This is where it hurts."
It's a body betrayed and a mind that plays tricks inadequate to fit explanation to reality. It's a condition that begs for an ending. It is a journey that too often leads to suicide.
I said it. Suicide.
A little over a year ago we lost a dear friend to suicide. Senseless said some. Selfish said others. Despair shook secrets and old sorrows loose from their moorings. Our friend's widow, newly inducted among the survivors, exhorted a sea of mourners to name this demon, confront it. Give it no harbor.
Yet the presence of suicide lingers in many lives. I heard it in the hushed tones of concerned friends when a neighbor, a Korean War veteran, died violently. Later, a friend's mother was lost to a leap. And then there were those like my mother who tried to forge a compromise but succumbed nevertheless: using tobacco, overeating -- pick your poison.