Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Monday, 10 September 2012

Out of the Shadows, Into the Light

Monday September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.  I am not so naive to think that we can eliminate suicide completely, but we can certainly try.

Here in Australia suicide is still the leading cause of death for people aged under 44.  More people die from suicide each year than are killed on the roads.

Many of you will know that I do voluntary work with Lifeline Australia, a telephone crisis line.  Lifeline believes that suicide is often preventable, and that help can be only a phone call away.

Last year Lifeline began inaugural national suicide prevention walks - 'Out of the Shadows and into the Light'.  Symbolically, the walks begin before dawn and continue into the growing light.  The aim is to help raise awareness of suicide prevention and encourage people to seek help.  In addition it remembers those lost and those bereaved by suicide.

I was unable to go on the walk last year, but took part in the walk arranged by my local Lifeline centre on Saturday morning.















 It was a long walk, in blustery conditions.  My mobility issues made it a hard walk.  Will I do it again next year?  I hope so.  I really hope so.





Some numbers which may be useful for Australian readers include:
Lifeline 1311 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467





97 comments:

  1. Into the glorious light of a new day. God bless those who volunteer.

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  2. I had no idea you volunteered for that cause, or that suicide was a leading cause of death there - THANK YOU for your help. I work in mental health advocacy and suicide prevention is such a huge need.

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    1. Riot Kitty: I didn't know that you worked in mental heath advocacy. Difficult, heart breaking and hearwarming I imagine. Mental Health Support is sadly underfunded/underutilised here. And yes, suicide prevention initiatives are sorely needed - the world over.

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  3. I had a favorite uncle who took his own life. Sure wish he'd had someone to talk to...

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  4. Thank you for doing a very hard and often thankless job, EC. You rock. x

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    1. Austan: Thank you. It is often hard. It can also be heartbreaking, but it is heart warming and inspiring as well. I get a great deal more than I receive.

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  5. beautiful photos! the colors in the sky are quite amazing...and what a wonderful cause...

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    1. Sherri: Thank you. It was a lovely coloured morning. A bit brisk, and the wind was vile but it was so worth being out there.

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  6. Once again you show your strength and kindness. Suicides can be stopped, but the average person needs to know the signs and how to determine the urgency. You can be very close to someone who is suicidal and not know it. Education is the front line ... and then there are the hero's, like yourself, who are there to help when someone thinks there is no help. God Bless you ... the world is a better place because you are in it.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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    1. Andrea: I think the true heroes are the people who admit that they are having problems, seek help and follow through. Three very, very big steps there.

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  7. I like your pictures VERY much and admire your work!

    Thanks for your kind visits to my beach blog-
    Have a Great Week
    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^=

    > < } } ( ° >

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  8. That is wonderful work you are doing and I'm glad you got to go on the walk in support. I lost a friend that way - it's beyond heartbreaking.

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    1. Lynn: I am so sorry about your friend. As you say, beyond heartbreak.

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  9. Thank you for the time you give this cause. We lost my brother, many, many years ago. This weekend was a beautiful weekend, and for some reason my sister and I remembered his funeral was almost forty years ago and on such a beautiful day. I hope your walk next year is in beautiful weather.

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    1. Joanne Noragon: Far too many of us have lost people to suicide and are left with the grief and often the misplaced guilt to carry on. Thank you for your very generous comment.

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  10. Depression affects so many and is seldom spoken about. Bless you for being there for those who suffer so much in silence and shame.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: No-one expects a person with a broken leg to tough it up, but so many people (including the person involved) expect those with mental illness to pull themselves together and carry on. Just wrong on so many levels. I am climbing down from my soap box now. Thank you.

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  11. Thank you--for this post, and for walking. Thank you for reminding us all that there is light after the dark. Peace...

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    1. Linda: Thank you. It is so hard for those in the dark to remember that dawn does follow night.

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  12. This is very close to my heart. Thank you, thank you for being a kind voice for a desperate person.

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    1. Susan Kane: Thank you. I am not alone - not by a long way.

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  13. Such a lovely idea for a wonderful cause. Those photos are truly beautiful. Hopefully everyone experiencing darkness can see the light in their lives again soon. xx

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    1. Kate: Thank you so much. It was an inspiring walk. We had people who had struggled out of the darkness, professionals, volunteers, and some who were bereaved by suicide. Tears and laughter and pride in standing tall.

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  14. I once had my pills in my left hand, my gun in my right, and was on my way into the back yard so that I wouldn't mess up the house. The pain from a surgeons horrendous error during massive surgery had left me with only one option out of the following two years of unbelievable pain and being incapacitated.

    Twice I was going out the door and twice I had interruptions on my way. The moment had passed.

    It can often be something as mundane as constant interruptions to throw a wrench into the carefully laid out plans.

    I'm now glad it did. But I sure wasn't at the time.

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    1. lotta joy: How lucky we are that you were interrupted. And yes, I can understand your frustration at the time. Thank you so much for this comment - your honesty means a lot.

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  15. I've had nine friends kill themselves. All were in the mental health system. I didn't blame them, to be honest. Unfortunately here, being in the system means no hope, drugged and stuffed away, which is why most of them in the end chose to leave. I hope one day the mental health system becomes more than that.

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    1. Strayer: It seems that there are huge holes in the mental health system everywhere. Holes which leave people needing the most help in terrible circumstances. I hope that changes for the better will happen soon.

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  16. Richie, he allegedly killed himself on a plane, he hijacked in Anchorage, although it was on the ground and never left the ground. Later though, someone who worked there, who ended up down in Oregon, said he'd really been shot by a state trooper. I don't know the truth. He was messed up, a former Mormon, wanted the plane to take him to Salt Lake City, so he could set the main Mormon guy straight. I heard about it working the laundry room at a Seward, AK nursing home. He had said he was going to buy a boat and we'd live on it together. I had housing issues then, even in Alaska. Cindy, she was my best friend, in a sordid hotbed of discontent, a low income high rise where I also lived, in Corvallis. Everybody there was thrown out of society, stuffed, every day the same, nothing to look forward to. She got back into drugs. She'd fried her brain young on LSD, doing sometimes over a dozen hits a day, she told me. But she'd got back into them and killed herself. That was a hard one. then our friend, Rob, killed himself less than a year later. He was messed up from the same religion I grew up in, said his mother bathed him til he was 17. He was gay and rejected by the church. At his funeral, the SDA pastor even made fun of him being a hair dresser and gay. I walked out on that it was so darn thoughtless and rude. That's three of the suicides I knew, can't even remember details of some anymore. Glad I escaped that system still alive. Almost didn't. Here's to Richie, Cindy and Rob...

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    1. Strayer: I am so sorry for all of your friends, and for you bereaved on so many occasions. It doesn't seem fair. It isn't fair. I am glad that you escaped the system alive. Really glad.

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  17. Thank you for being there for people. I wish people would have acknoeledgement my depression when I was going through it. It may have saved me a lot of pain. Thankfully when I had made plans to hurt myself (kill) i heard a voice loud and clear...Get help now! I really think it was my grandpa. I listened. Made the call that day. Also promised God that I would help others. After a few years of therapy and counseling I am now out from under the cloud. Not saying that I am free of some of the feeling I once had. Hard days still can bring back some of the thoughts. This weekend has been very hard. Found out my dog has kidney disease. Weepy weekend. Will find out tomorrow if more tests are needed or how we can help him. Read on line that pills and change of food may keep the disease from advancing to fast. We think it is very early stages. But won't know for sure until we talk to the vet. We weren't home when he called with the results on sat. I hate when you get bad news on a weekend and have to wait until monday to learn more. Just saying that it doesn't take much to get depressed again. But at least I am able to control it more.
    Beautiful pictures!

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    1. Teresa: I have also suffered from depression. I was also really skilled at hiding just how bad I was feeling. I am glad that you were both strong enough to ask for help - and that you found it.

      I completely understand your weepy weekend. They wind their paws into our heart strings. I hope you get much better news on Monday.

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  18. this is such a terrible truth that we must face and hopefully prevent. I know a few cases and I simply cannot understand what could have led to such an ending. Congrats to you for being there and supporting this cause.

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    1. unikorna: Thank you. I believe it is something we can all help with, simply by asking people whether they are ok and by listening to the answer.

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  19. These are beautiful photos, I'm glad you did the walk. Suicide is such a tricky issue, sometimes it's easy to see when people are depressed, but sometimes a suicide happens just out of the blue, with no prior indication that something might be wrong.

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    1. River: I was glad I did the walk too. Hard work, but worth it. And yes, it is a difficult issue with no one size fits all answers. We need to try though.

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  20. A timely reminder of a growing problem Certainly here in the U.K. the figures are on the increase - dur mainly to the recession, it is said, and that no doubt is correct. The photographs are superb.

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    1. Dave King: Thank you. I believe the numbers here are going down slightly but each life lost to suicide is a tragedy for someone.

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  21. Suicide is something we in the country seem to see way to often I have a friend who swears it was the volunteer on the end of the Lifeline number who saved his life and helped him seek help.

    Gorgeous photos!

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    1. Annaleis Topham: Welcome. I am so pleased that lifeline was able to help your friend. Now that we are nation wide service we are able to reach out to a lot more people, including those in country areas.

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  22. Hi, My Brother killed himself in Adelaide many years ago, a few days before he was due to fly back to the UK . . . My Mum lives with the misplaced guilt and so many unanswered questions.
    Bless your heart for volunteering for such a worthy cause and I also hope that you're able to do the walk next year.
    Lovely pink clouds and blossom.

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    1. bugerlugs63: I am so sorry. The people who are bereaved by suicide often do battle with guilt, and the unanswered and unanswerable questions can haunt them.

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  23. Beautiful photos and a great effort from you. x

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    1. The Kids Are All Right: Welcome and thank you.

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  24. That is good work you are doing, dealing directly with despair, throwing lifelines indeed. I admire such people as you, who have the strength to reach out and help.

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    1. persiflage: Thank you - I get a great deal more out of my voluntary work with Lifeline than I give.

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  25. thank you for doing this work, and for writing this post. and the walk sounds tough, but important. get the word out...

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    1. daisyfae: Word does need to get out. I know that you are hurting badly still. Thank you for visiting today.

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  26. Beautiful pictures. Thank you for volunteering for Lifeline. I've made many calls to crisis lines over the years. They have saved me so many times, so thank you. V.

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    1. The Babbling Bandit: I am so glad that the crisis lines have supported you. Thank you.

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  27. What a wonderful thing you do. I follow the blog of a young woman who lost her younger sister to suicide and she will always be marked by that terrible tragedy. I had a friend who killed himself when he was only 23, and I will always wish there was a way to tell him how sorry we are that he's no longer here. Thank you for the work you do, EC, and I love your fabulous pictures. I too hope you will go on the walk again next year. Hugs to you! :-)

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    1. DJan: Thank you. It was an inspirational walk, despite my own physical challenges. And a beautiful walk as well.

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  28. It is hard to say "I'm not okay" to peeps. The look on their faces... (no I'm not in danger but I'm not okay, grief does weird things)

    People don't know what to say or do. You are doing a wonderful thing.

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    1. Have Myelin?: Grief does weird and ugly things. Often. And with sharp pointy teeth. I have found that truly listening is much more important than finding the right thing to say.

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  29. I am so impressed and so grateful that the world has people like you.

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    1. CarrieBoo: Thank you. I am a very ordinary person just the same.

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  30. Added a link for a blog I actually wrote in February... Hugs to you... and beautiful photos.

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    1. Cindi: I cannot find your link - but will look again. Thank you.

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    2. http://lettingthewordsescape.blogspot.com/2012/02/reaching-out.html

      It says it is there and will not let me add it again, but I also do not see it. Here it is manually...

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  31. The photographs echo the sentiments and aims of people who work to help and prevent suicide from occurring, they are beautiful and have a feeling of hope as the dawn rises. I've said it before and I shall say it again. You are an inspiration for all of us who have been on that path and didn't end up in the void.

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    1. All Consuming: A dangerous place to be on the edge of that void. I am glad you were able to walk away. Thank you.

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  32. Great photos and thanks for volunteering for such an important cause. I didn't know about the Out of the Shadows walk, but I'm off to find a local one for next year.

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    1. Amanda at Cooker and a Looker: Thank you. This website should help http://www.outoftheshadows.org.au/. It is held each year on the weekend closest to World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and is a little before RUOK Day. I think that a little synchronising would help.

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  33. And this poignant posting is a reminder that we must do our utmost to recognise the warning signs of someone who maybe in the throes of an overwhelming negative environment that seems to be beyond the ability to cope with.
    Though further awareness and extending a hand to those in pain, we can take that one step closer to coming out of those shadows of despair and into the light of hope. I have much respect for what you are doing and is very much a part of what I do in my ongoing volunteer work with those with mental health concerns.
    My admiration and thanks for you writing this thoughtful posting.
    Gary

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    1. klahanie: Thank you Gary. I have been involved with Lifeline ever since I had to give up work, and it has saved my life in many different ways. What I do is essentially paying it forward.

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  34. What a worthwhile cause and a great job these lifelines do around the world.

    Your photos are wonderful!

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  35. This is close to my heart also. I am encouraged to see this initiative in Australia. We need more awareness and action in my country as well. Good for you for the help you give.

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    1. jenny_o: I think it is something which needs a great deal more attention/support/funding. In the meantime there are organisations doing what they can, but it is a little like plugging the hole in the dyke wall with a finger.

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  36. This is such a great idea and such a very necessary service. I have three friends whose sons tried to finish their own lives much too young, all in their early twenties, two achieved their goal and one was found in time and now gets help. There is the SAMARITANS over here, UK, which are always at the end of the 'phone line. This is talked about more but still not enough. Great that you volunteer.

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    1. the cuby poet: The Samaritans are I think your equivalent of Lifeline. I am sorry for your friends' losses. Words seem inadequate. Words are inadequate.

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  37. So true. A great cause. I used to be a LL telephone counsellor but, for a variety of reasons that were very good at the time, stopped.

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    1. J Cosmo Newbery: I have been on the phones for a little over fourteen and a half years now. Some days it feels like forever, and on others it seems brand new. Always a challenge, almost always rewarding.

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  38. You never cease to amaze me. It's so important to have people out there like yourself who help others who are struggling with life. So, from my heart, I thank you. I was in that dark place quite a few times. During a very low point in my life, after I had gotten out of it, I made this video: http://youtu.be/csj0bVRwsYE If you read some of the comments on that video, it's absolutely heartbreaking to say the least. You're one of those rare people who care. {{hugs}}

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    1. Deb: Amaze you? Some day you will have to tell me how/why. I think that part of the reason I am so committed to offering this support is that I have (and probably will again) wavered on the edge myself. It is a hard, dark and lonely place to be.

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  39. Dear EC, this is so important. This helping others to walk out of darkness into light. I was suicidal for about ten years. During part of that time I actively sought to take my own life and doing much of the time I was passively suicidal, mired in depression and missing the beauty of the day. I so admire you for volunteering to be on the phones to help those who call you in desperation and despair. That is a life-giving work. I bow before you. Peace.

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    1. Dee: I find it distressing when I discover how many of the people who are important to me (you included) have been in that place. I certainly was as well. Which is probably the reasson I chose this form of community support rather than any of the others.
      No need to bow. I hope we can walk together.

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  40. I did not know the info about suicide...Thanks for sharing it. I think it will get out of the darkness

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    1. Kim @ Stuff: Thank you - I really hope that this initiative, and others like it encourage people to reach out - to be helped and to help.

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  41. Thank goodness for Lifeline and volunteers like you. Two friends of mine have trained with Lifeline and have the most wonderful listening skills. Am lucky to know them. And the walk you did sounded wonderful. Thank you for writing.

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    1. Seana Smith: Welcome and thank you. Listening sounds so easy - and can be so hard to do. Not interjecting, not problem solving, just listening.

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  42. What a beautiful idea the walk is, thank you for sharing your photos. And thank you for the work you do with Lifeline, such an important cause. xx

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    1. Jane @Hesitant Housewife: It is a beautiful idea, and it was a beautiful supportive walk. Thank you.

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  43. Hi EC, Thank you so much for your words of kindness over at my blog too. I have waited till RUOK day to pop into the everyone on the linky for the day.
    I love that walk you took, and the photos. My camera is one of the ways I meditate.
    Thank you for the lifeline volunteering you do. Many need to know of this service, and that there a kind strangers there to help.
    Warm wishes
    Denyse

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    1. Deenwise aka Denyse Whelan: Thank you. The anonymity of Lifeline calls is a very big positive. So many of our callers are not ready or not able to share their pain with people closer to them.

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  44. So great that you volunteer at lifeline, such a valuable resource. I love your photos as well, so symbolic.

    Loz x

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    1. Loz: Welcome and thank you. I took the photos as I ambled round the lake - the symbolism came from the time of the day and the beauty surrounding me.

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  45. it certainly is something terribly terribly wrong with this world when so many people choose to end their life that way... and of course, there are situations where that solution may be a relief and the options not, but in so many cases it's just pure sadness and waste. ah, the human race...

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    1. Pia K: Oh yes, too often sadness and waste. Heart hurting.

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  46. HI, I found you via a friend's.
    I like your photos!

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  47. Replies
    1. Don QuiScottie: Thank you - it was a beautiful walk for a cause I wholeheartedly support.

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