There is no way for me to give this story the light it deserves, but I am going to try.
A girl I know chose to end her life three days ago, and while everyone is struggling to understand, I am thinking back on these last three months of her life and desperately hoping she found the peace she needed. Six months ago, we were laughing during Christmas dinner and wearing paper crowns on our heads, sharing wine and gifts. Three months ago, she landed in the hospital after a breakdown and life changed drastically for everyone around her. Mental illness can sometimes be so swift of a change, that you do not see it coming until it is staring you in the face and daring you to do something while it dances around, tauntingly.
The hardest part of the weekend was looking at her family, and see how hopelessly lost they feel. They did everything that anyone could do, offering to pay every bill, quitting jobs to be with their daughter/sister, spending weeks at a time with her to help her make sense of her head. Their constant love and acceptance of this new reality was unwavering and patient and so beautiful to see, because so many people are not as lucky. This last week, her older sister actually traveled up north to her town in order to testify to have her committed as it was becoming obvious that she was a danger to herself, and the verdict was simply “No, she seems like she’s doing okay.” Everything done right with hearts of love, and still, she could not be saved.
Could not be saved.
People say that suicide is a selfish act, and I disagree. For some people the pain is too deep, too black and vast, and the idea of making it across is terrifying to the point of not being worth it. When you’re struggling to simply make it through a day, the sadness you feel about dragging other people along with you can be too much, too heartbreaking. We do what we have to do, to be free. I want to place blame somewhere, with the hospital, with her therapist, with her boyfriend for not letting anyone know how far gone she was…until she was. I want to do what seems natural, demand that someone admit fault for letting a light burn out, but in the end it will not matter. She could not be saved.
Claire, our gatherings won’t be the same without your laughter and love. Thank you knowing us, for being in our lives, you are so missed.