The pain is gone. The hurt is gone. The struggle is gone. All gone. All quiet. All without feelings, fear, or loneliness. Gone. But not missed.
“Why would she do something like this?”
I did this because I didn’t want to live in pain any more.
“Too bad she couldn’t find a way to exorcise her demons.”
I didn’t have psychic demons. I had physical pain. I had days when death would be a relief.
“I never thought she would kill herself. She seemed so happy.”
I don’t understand why everyone is surprised. All of you knew I was in pain. All of you knew the pain was permanent.
“I thought she believed in God.”
I did and I do. That didn’t make my body or my perception of who I was hurt less.
“Why didn’t she reach out?”
Would you have done anything if I had? It was so rational deciding how to kill myself. Pills aren’t a good approach. Too easy for the body to decide to puke up the poison. Hanging. Nope, I don’t want to hang around dangling and waiting to die. Drowning like Virginia Woolf. No. My sadistic, hateful, drunken stepfather frequently threatened to hold my head underwater until the bubbles stopped coming up. I didn’t want to kill myself in the house. Too messy and the house can’t be sold until all the blood and tissue are cleaned up. I wonder who does that kind of cleaning. I didn’t want to kill myself outside. What if I wasn’t found within a few days? I didn’t want animals to eat me. Silly, isn’t it. Worrying about animals eating the body that doesn’t contain me any more.
“How did she die?”
I killed myself during my appointment with a neurologist. I kept asking neurologists questions, and they kept refusing to answer me. Instead, they smiled, told me to take designer drugs that did not work, and hurried out of the room.
“Women don’t shoot themselves.”
Except when they do. I held the pistol an inch to the left of my sternum and shot myself in the heart. I wanted to be dead when I killed myself. No having doctors trying to put Humptyette Dumpty back together again. No being on life support. If I’m going to kill myself, I want to be dead when I’m done.
“If only I had known; I could have saved her.”
No, you couldn’t. Only God or I could have saved me and neither of us wanted to do that.
“Did anyone know she was depressed?”
What a stupid question. Of course I hid my depression. I didn’t want to be taken to a hospital where I’d be heavily medicated for as long as my HMO would pay. Maybe three days. Then I’d be dumped out and sent home to await a bill for the co-pay. I’d still be in pain. I’d still want to die.
“I wonder what she thought just before she died.”
I stood on the edge of life and looked down into death. Death looked inviting.
“I wonder if it hurts to shoot yourself.”
Not really. I felt something hot, then nothing.
“I wonder if you’re still in pain after you kill yourself.”
No. The pain is gone. It’s peaceful here; the kind of comforting peace that reaches my soul. Being dead isn’t bad. Had I known I’d be at peace, I’d have killed myself long ago.
“Nice photo montage of her life.”
Who picked out these photos? Me dressed up for the Renaissance Faire. Me as a little kid. My first Christmas and I was four months old. Everyone in that photo looks like they are at a funeral. I guess that’s an appropriate photo for my funeral.
There’s only one, unimaginative arrangement of red roses. Just red roses. I prefer white roses. It’s a big arrangement so I suppose it was expensive. There should be more flowers.
“The Lord is my shepherd….”
Christ. Why do people recite that psalm at funerals? The psalm isn’t about death, it’s about life and faith in God.
“What I remember most about…..”
Wait, what? You never talked with me. You never spent any time with me. You never knew me so what’s to remember?
“She had such passion for her work.”
While I was alive, you told people I was too emotional and that I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. Bet you thought no one would tell me about your hypocrisy.
“So many people loved her.”
Where was your love for me when I was alive? You never asked how I was doing. You never wanted to have lunch with me. You never talked to me unless you wanted something from me.
“She gave so much of herself.”
I gave and gave and gave until the empathy well was dry and the compassion well only slightly moist. No one gave back.
“It’s so hard to say goodby to her.”
You never said hello to me while I was alive. Why bother saying goodby when I’m dead?
“God full of mercy who dwells above, give rest on the wings of the divine presence in the exalted spheres of the holy and pure who shine as the resplendence of the firmament of the soul…”
I love that prayer. Soul. The never beginning and never ending part of me.
“May the all-merciful one shelter her with the cover of his wings forever and bind her soul in the bond of life. The Lord is her heritage; may she rest in her resting place in peace and let us say amen.”
I was hoping that’s what happens when you are dead – being sheltered by God’s wing. I’m here alone, although I don’t feel lonely. I do feel protected. None of you can ever hurt me again.
“Yitgadal v yitkadash..”
How odd to hear people recite Kaddish. I feel like I should have my kippah and tallit. Except I have no head or shoulders.
The Middle – because I can’t bear it to be the end of you. Because I keep writing to you even though you aren’t there. Because you left behind a hole filled with my grief.
You shot yourself. I don’t understand. You have family who love you.You have friends. You have work you love.
And you shot yourself.
I don’t get it. I’m the one who is supposed to be dead. I’m the one who has been suicidal six times. So often there was pain, and not even a marginal form of happiness existed for me. Except I’m alive. And you’re dead. How did that happen?
I used to believe that God alone was in charge of death or birth. I don’t know if I can believe that any more. How could God let you kill yourself?
This isn’t real. There’s some mistake. You’re really alive and just hiding from all of us. If you’re dead, there’s nothing left of you. Did I miss a clue about your unhappiness? I’m sorry. Come back. Please. I promise I’ll do better. Please come back.
I think about you being all alone and in pain, pain you never let anyone see; and I’m sad. I ask why you killed yourself, but you don’t answer me.I think about you being cremated and all of you being nothing but ashes. As if you had never been alive.
Did you think you couldn’t talk about the pain? Did you think you were weak or had a character defect? Is that why you said nothing? Were you embarrassed by your vulnerability? Did you think I couldn’t understand? Or did you know I would understand but you wanted to die so you said nothing?
One time, you told me about all the people you had to take care of, but who took care of you? You needed someone to take care of you. Except I never said that to you. Is that why you killed yourself? Because I never told you how much I cared? I would have taken care of you if you had let me. I would have taken care of you and you wouldn’t be dead.
I wonder what you thought before you pulled the trigger. I imagine you looked at your gun, said “Fuck it,” and squeezed the trigger.
I don’t want you to leave. You’ve already left. I want to help you. You’re not here to be helped. I want to tell you that I cared, that you were important to me. Except I didn’t. Now, you’re dead.
I want you to live in my imagination. Because you’ve lived in my imagination ever since I met you. That’s not you; that’s you who I would like you to be. Did I do something wrong? Did I not listen well enough when morsels of pain dropped into your words? We lived in different worlds. I never entered your world, and never invited you to enter my world. I’m sorry. I wish we had explored each other.
I’m sorry. Please come back. I promise to do better this time. I promise to revel in real you rather than imaginary you. I promise to love real you rather than love imaginary you. I’ll listen to you. I’ll rejoice in the differences between you and me. I’ll compromise. I’ll walk in your world sometimes. Even if it terrifies me. You’re worth my effort. I’m sorry I never told you that.
Still the middle because I still can’t bear it to be the end of you. I didn’t know I’d mourn you a year later on your Yahrzeit. I didn’t know I’d still hurt a year later. I didn’t know how much suicide hurts. Please come back. I promise to do better. I try and try to understand why you killed yourself. I have no understanding. I want the world to make sense, but the world isn’t cooperating. I want to love you, but you’re gone. I still ask why you killed yourself, but you still don’t answer me. You’re gone. Just ashes. There’s nothing left of you. I light a candle. I say Kaddish. I still hurt. I still mourn.
A year ago on this date, someone I knew and cared for committed suicide by shooting himself. Above, is the quilt I made to help heal my grief. It’s called Beneath The Wings Of The Devine. I quilted an eagle wing on top of the arc of his life.
I’ve written a short story about his death, which is what is at the beginning of this post. I’ve written healing passages that won’t ever be shared because they are too personal.
I still grieve.
I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com. Lots of talent and eye candy on her blog.
My Spoonflower store is here https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman. Twenty-nine of my designs are for sale. I’ll be adding more designs in a few weeks.
My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com