Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tragic & Sad

I saw this article about Nicholas Hughes, the son of poet Sylvia Plath, committing suicide. What a tragic and sad ending to a life that seems to have been plagued by family history.

Interestingly enough, Hughes lived here in Alaska, in Fairbanks. When I read that, I immediately thought that this was a man who wanted to be away from things while living his life.

Here's part of the news as it runs:

When Nicholas Hughes was in his early 20s, his father, poet Ted Hughes, advised him on the importance of living bravely.

"The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated," Hughes wrote to his son, who committed suicide at 47 last week at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska, 46 years after Nicholas' mother, poet Sylvia Plath, killed herself.

I imagine that, since he survived and fought under his burdens until he was 47, Mr. Hughes lived as bravely as he could. After all, he was practically born into tragedy...

Hughes was only 9 months old when his parents separated and was still an infant when his mother died in February 1963, gassing herself in a London flat as her children slept. A few months earlier, she had written of Nicholas: "You are the one/Solid the spaces lean on, envious/You are the baby in the barn."

...and it seemed to follow him and his father -

Ted Hughes relived the tragedy not only through the constant reminders of Plath, but also through the suicide of Wevill, his second wife, who in March 1969 killed herself and their 4-year-old daughter.

He didn't even lose his father gently; Ted Hughes died in 1998 of cancer. I love that the father did try to reassure the son about life:

"The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated," Hughes wrote to his son, who committed suicide at 47 last week at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska, 46 years after Nicholas' mother, poet Sylvia Plath, killed herself.

"And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all."

I just have to think to myself that maybe Nicholas Hughes lived as boldly as he could, invested enough heart, and loved as much as he knew how and it still wasn't enough to sustain him.

My heart mourns for this man and for the people who loved him. I hope that there is a place of peace for people who suffer as he did.

Peace

--Free

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