Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April may not be the cruellest month, but today was the cruellest day

Of all the pieces I have ever written this is the one I don't want to write. Over the weekend my father got sick. He was rushed to the hospital early this morning, and after some tests, a CAT scan and some other tests, he is resting comfortably and will be in hospital for a few days. For a little while, we thought it was touch and go.

On a younger person, they would have had tests, been hydrated and sent home. On an elderly person, they stay in to make sure all systems are go. He is in some discomfort but he will be ok.

Not so for one of my favorite readers, Jenn. I won't use her last name, suffice to say she lived on the West coast, and was always astute in her comments, and wrote the most marvelous emails to me on the side. She was a suicide survivor, and like me, was physically hurt from one of her attempt and took some time to heal. My last email from her was on April 1, when she was worried about my own struggles with the proverbial black dog, and how I was doing everything in my own personal power not to go into that good night.

About an hour ago I got a phone call and an email from two separate people telling me that Jenn gave into the Black Dog this weekend and left this sphere. I don't know any thing more than that, and won't until I get a promised letter from her. I do know this, she was so depressed that a friend of hers came up from the Mid-West to visit so she wouldn't be alone, and she had her cats, and had just gotten back together with her boyfriend.

I don't condemn her. I understand what it was it's like to be at that point and want to jump. Maybe she wanted to succeed or maybe she didn't. A. Alvarez in his seminal work " The Savage God" makes a salient point that the Sylvia Plath he knew didn't want to suicide when she did, it was a cry for help to Ted Hughes she wanted him back and she was homesick and over-whelmed with two small children. Alvarez is convinced Plath misjudged the gas by comparing UK gas to US gas and makes a convincing argument that Plath simply miscalculated the gas equation.

Maybe that is what happened to my friend. I just hope that where ever she is now she is at peace.

Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.


BipolarLife said...

Sometimes when the pain gets too much we just want it to end. Having been there I understand however it is a terrible tragedy when someone cannot hold on for the eventual upswing in mood. Nothing lasts forever, including the black dog. Thinking of your friend, your father, and you today. Big hug.

Christa said...

Dear Jenn: We never met but I feel I may know you. I understand the struggles of the black dog and I hope you find the peace that elusive to you in this world. Namaste.

And Susan - please know we all love and care for you. Please don't give up, don't give in...your life, your words and your love provide light to the rest of us. We need you. We love you!

Stephany said...

Ugh! That is tragic news!, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. I hope your Dad gets well quickly.

Syd said...

I am really sorry Susan. I have read that people don't really want to succeed and when the attempt is failed, they are relieved. I don't know as I have not attempted to end my life. I have wished to die at times, but God has seen fit for me to continue. I am glad that you are continuing also.

Anonymous said...

I don't condemn her...more than ever in my life I don't condemn her. Lord, have mercy on her. I am so sorry, Susan. Damn it.

I'll be praying for your father. Namaste.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

always sad to hear.
i hope it is not one of the bloggers I read who have not been posting lately :(

Anonymous said...

Oh, Susan. I am so sorry. Hold on. I am thinking of you. *hugs*

Dear Jenn: I struggle with the black dog too. I don't know what *your* pain was like, but I know what mine is, and if there is any comfort to be found anywhere, I hope that where you are now is rich in all that you need.


Deputy's Wife said...

Thinking of you today! I pray your daddy gets better quickly and your friend is now at peace and the black dog is no longer biting at her.

Andrew said...

Susan, I am so sorry.

Hang in there Dear One.

Deb said...

geez, my brother committed suicide on 17 Feb 2010. I don't know I don't know I don't know. I understand the desire to check out, and I think it takes a courage to carry thru with it. And I think it is the sadness and pain that makes us so self centered that we can't see what it does to others. I miss my brother and I miss my life before he left. And I am sure that if he knew what his death is putting me thru he would totally change his mind, but I don't know how to tell him, 'no please don't leave me here.' I don't know is it ok to take measures into your own hands and just be done with it ! I don't know. D

susan said...

Thank you all. It's been a rough day. Dad will be Ok, he has something that happens to people in their 80s and 90s and it just needs to be watched that it doesn't get worse. My down stairs neighbor who is 88 also has it. It has something to do with intestines and making bowels, and lets leave it with that, shall we? He will be in there for a few days, and home soon. I am glad. I brought him a stuffed animals and several books to read. Tomorrow Daffs from my garden.

I am still grieving over Jenn, and no... she didn't have a blog. She lived in Seattle and died on day before the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. I cannot help but wonder if she planned that or it was an absurd way the universe worked out.

Thank you all for your wishes. It means a lot to me.

susan said...

Sorry was informed she lived in Seattle but was from Dayton and services were in Dayton.

Wonder Woman said...

Susan - Her life was very painful at the end, but you and your blog was a way she felt connected. I believe you brought peace and love into her life.

I believe this is part of your life's purpose...to create some shelter for those of us who are in great haunting pain.

You are an angel on earth.
Mother Teresa couldn't save all the suffering people in the streets, but she could show them some compassion...maybe wipe their brow or give them some water before they passed...giving them a taste of peace and comfort.

Susan, this is what you do for all of us.

And so it is.

Mary LA said...

My heartfelt sympathy -- I loved Jenn's comments.

Take care my dear Susan and I hope your dad gets better soon.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to read you news Susan, I hope Jenn has found some peace now and that your father is soon restored to full health.

You are all in my thoughts.

Red Pill Junkie said...

So sorry for your loss.

@ Deb. I understand what you mean; my mom kind of has made me know that I'm not allowed to die before her. Obviously there's no way in which she could force me to keep that promise directly, but whenever my mind starts to drift in that certain direction, the fact that I'm fully aware of the pain I could cause to several people makes me reconsider.

But it's tough. I remember the movie 'Mar Adentro', in which the character expresses his conviction that life should be a right, not an obligation. On the other hand, there's a beautiful song called 'Gracias a la Vida', in which the author gives thanks to everything in life —including the moments of sorrow.


Radagast said...

Deb wrote:
"...I don't know."

Taking responsibility for a decision, any decision, requires bravery. However, suicide is irrevocable, and if it's the wrong decision, one cannot go back to the beginning, and make a different decision.

Your brother's decision appears to have been "wrong," in that *the decision* (ie, not him), caused you pain. Try to see that distinction, and know that nobody's perfect. Know also that the decision is in the past. Figuratively speaking, your pain should probably follow it, if that makes sense.


howard said...

there never seems to be a one-size-fits-all approach to this kind of occurrence. all i can say is i'm sorry to hear about Jenn, and i hope all those she left behind can find some sort of comfort.

thank you, Susan, for shining a light to help so many others to find their way.

Radagast said...

Howard wrote:
"there never seems to be a one-size-fits-all approach to this kind of occurrence..."

I think that's very nearly always true. However, this phenomenon is quite clearly not acknowledged widely. If one cannot "get over it and move on," then the person offering advice doesn't often have a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc suggestion to make.

And so, the person who cannot "get over it and move on," must regard themselves as defective, for being unable to do what is expected of them (for others' convenience most of the time, it should be said). And yet, the inability of the person to see how they should "get over it" is as much the failure of the person offering that sage advice as it is the person's receiving it. I think that if one is going to offer that kind of terse advice, one needs to be able to back it up, and explain how one should "get over it". If one cannot explain, then one should acknowledge one's lack of skill!


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