One Life

By Rebecca Lolo 21 March 2016, 12:00AM

This past week a couple incidents reminded me how precious and fragile life is.

The first event was when I came upon a couple men and children who had found an injured owl.  The poor creature had broken both its wings, survived attacks by a cat and was being chased and harassed by these individuals. 

One of the men asked if I wanted the owl.  This was exactly what I was hoping for, and trying to restrain my eagerness to get the bird away from them, I said yes immediately.  My hope was to get it to a vet that could help heal the poor thing.

The next morning while talking to the vet, my hopes crashed as he explained that the owl’s injuries were too severe and it would be best to put it down.  Sadly I took the beautiful, lifeless creature home to bury it.  My sons were sad that the owl was dead; one of them suggested we give the bird a name before we bury it because it was such a brave animal and had fought and fought to stay alive.  He chose the name Lototele and made a little cross with the name on it to mark where he and his brothers buried the owl.

The second incident was when I was rushing to pick up my youngest son from school.  I was driving too fast and when I changed lanes I didn’t see a taxi in the lane I pulled into.  He had been in my blind spot.  I very nearly caused a bad accident.  Had it not been for the quick thinking and good driving of the taxi driver it could have ended much differently than it did.  It was nerve racking for all of us to say the least.

All of us humans and creatures have only one life to live.  Life is fragile and can be snuffed out so quickly.  I think of the little owl and its relentless fight to stay alive.  All of us have an innate sense of self preservation – to stay alive and protected from harm.  This self preservation instinct is the strongest of all animal and human instincts.  Pain and fear have key roles in our sense of self preservation.  According to Wikipedia, “Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future….  Fear causes the organism to seek safety and may cause a release of adrenaline, which has the effect of increased strength and heightened senses such as hearing, smell, and sight.”

We are designed to protect or selves from harm and loss of life; it is ‘programmed’ into us.  Pain, fear and adrenaline are strong weapons to help us.  With all these things helping each of us to protect ourselves from harm and preserve our lives why do we see incidents of suicide?  What can drive a human being to override the strongest instinct they have?  How does it happen?  How do individuals get to that point?

According to the main cause for suicide is depression.  Depression can be chronic, or more often caused by negative life experiences.  Some things that can cause depression are: 

• The death of a loved one.

• A divorce, separation, or breakup of a relationship.

• Losing custody of children, or feeling that a child custody decision is not fair.

• A serious loss or horrible disappointment (such as a loss of a job, house, or money.)

• A serious or terminal illness.

• A serious accident.

• Chronic physical pain.

• Intense emotional pain.

• Loss of hope.

• Being victimized (domestic violence, rape, assault, etc).

• A loved one being victimized (child murder, child molestation, kidnapping, murder, rape, assault, etc.).

• Physical, verbal or sexual abuse including bullying.

• Unresolved abuse (of any kind) from the past.

• Feeling “trapped” in a situation perceived as negative.

• Feeling helpless or that things will never “get better.”

• Serious legal problems, such as criminal prosecution or incarceration.

• Feeling “taken advantage of.”

• Inability to deal with a perceived “humiliating” situation or perceived “failure.”

• Alcohol or drug abuse.

• A feeling of not being accepted by family, friends, or society.

• Feeling like one has not lived up to his or her high expectations or those of another.

If you are feeling depressed and or suicidal because of any of the above, don’t suffer in silence.  The mental health blog Mental Health Daily says the most important thing you can do if you have thoughts or feelings of suicide is to get help.  You can’t do it alone.  Overcoming suicidal thoughts and feelings can be accomplished with all three of the following:  1) social support, 2) distraction, and 3) professional help.

Getting social support can be as simple as calling a trusted friend or family member.  Other options are: 1) Visit online support forums like,,, or;  2) Talklife App – A very cool app out to help those who are suicidal and struggling with their feelings – available for free for iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices;  3) Call a suicide hotline.  In Samoa you can call Fa’ataua Le Ola’s free hotline on 800-5433.

Distractions are a way to temporarily stop your suicidal thoughts.  You could do things like reading a book, writing in a journal, watching a movie, exercising, cleaning your room, or getting some fresh air. 

Seeking professional help is vital to healing.  The mental health unit at the national hospital has kind and skilled doctors available to help you and support you.

By doing these things you can overcome suicidal thoughts.  One day you can look back and see this time as a difficult time that you were able to overcome and if you can overcome that you can overcome anything.  You can do it.  Attempting suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.   Choose life – you only have one!  


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By Rebecca Lolo 21 March 2016, 12:00AM

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