Hillman's book helps clarify the depth of struggle and challenge we face when confronted with endless pain and suffering when one takes control of one's own life-and-death. It is not only the suicidal person who tries take control. . . society, religion, family, friends and therapists all try to take control, by threatening, incarcerating, hospitalizing, medicating or restraining the suicidal person.
Hillman points out how the soul is on a journey that includes a 'dark night of the soul'. . .AND that the integrity of the soul's journey will continue, regardless of our own and others attempts to control it. In my own book "BETRAYAL, TRUST AND FORGIVENESS", I show how feeling out of control takes us into a 'dark night of the soul' that leads to a symbolic death that may ultimately awaken us to a deeper truth that renews the soul.. . .AND. . . with suicide, the 'soul death' may be both symbolic and bring physical death. Hillman puts into words how deeply intertwined the urge to take one's own life is with 'soul death' (which is not necessarily physical). This can be liberating, consoling and confirming for the person considering suicide as well as friends and family.
Hillman suggests that instead of threatening someone who is suicidal with hospitalization, medication, incarceration (as a murderer); or even worse, damning a person to hell--instead, let us ask a different question. . .what does the soul have in mind--and how does the soul return to its sense of wholeness? I recommend this book to my clients, family and friends--for all those considering suicide and for those who may be walking with someone they love who is considering this ultimate option. I am a grateful to James Hillman for courageously addressing this topic. It is a "must read" for all helping professionals and clergy who are dealing with suicide.
Dr. Beth Hedva, Author
Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness