Death wasn’t the goal, escaping pain was. Sometimes the line between fades.
Alone, she sits on the wall mounted desk that lines the concrete wall of the cramped dorm room. Harrowing memories have seized control of her mind. Replaying like a horror film are past abuse, pain, accusations and haunting whispers of peers. Attempting to break free, vigorously, she shakes her head to erase the graphic visuals, but unlike an etch a sketch, nothing dissolves.
Her feet carry her to the vanity where a reflection of undue shame grips her. Empty, prolonged stare. “You fail, you quit, you strive with no victory,” whispers the image. No need to shout since she already believes them true.
“Now, you only burden others.” She winces at the new weight placed on her. A brutal reality of darkness circles more than her eyes. It hovers. Consumes her soul.
She dissolves the trance, and drifts around the room, only to return to the twin bed, knees caressed tightly to her chest, imagining God, anyone, cradling her. Sleep, her escape, peace; that is the hope as she rocks to and fro.
Hope descends as voices of ridicule and condemnation heighten and multiply. Deep echoes of disdain cause her awakened state to remain. Both ears now hidden under polyester fiber, she presses the pillow tightly. Her attempt to hush the tongue lashing against her spirit fails.
Upright she returns, panning the room.
The tinted, transparent bottle that sits by the bed appears to animate. It says, “take two more, then you can rest.”
A twist of the cap, a slight pause, then she complies. Before the lid can be replaced, it alleges more relief is to be had. “Two more will ensure deep sleep, enough to silence the anguish. After all, they are ‘pain’ killers.” She repeats, again and again, two by two, until the bottle that, moments ago held a month supply, mirrors the depleted existence of her being.
She lies back. “Finally, I can rest,” she says. (I said.)
A miraculous turn of events that follow enable me to pen this story some 25 years later, yet recent events in celebrity news have once again revived the emotional tightrope someone “like me” frequently can find them self teetering on.
A choice, an illness, selfish at best, damning at worst, a monster, an attention tactic, a demon, a spiritual issue, a physical infirmity, an emotional disease? So many recent blogs, accusations and defenses, about suicide and all it’s ramifications. Advice and opinions, some soothing, but some dreadfully offensive.
I’ve been the one to believe my life to be more of a burden than a gift AND I have crossed the river to the other side where I’ve devoted years battling for another’s life whose perception is tainted with deception and disease. At some moments, I fight for both life and death simultaneously, but I will save that story for my book.
All lead me to one truth…
God alone can judge the tormented heart of one who struggles with despair and whose lines between truth and fragments of have faded.
Dare I say we show ignorance if we attempt omnipotent understanding through our regret or anger?
Insensitive are our words when we confine the act of suicide into a contrived formula of right or wrong or try to extend assumptions that will define once and for all, the intricacy of the human mind entangled by an emotional disease and a depleted soul.
Absurdity is amplified when one broken human being dares to call another selfish. (Tea kettle…black?) Fighting to stay in it is a choice some will have to make every day for their remaining existence on earth…who is willing to forfeit the rest of their life, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to support a depleted spirit or hear the anguished cry for the thousandth time and be able to bite their tongue instead of expressing their own weariness of another’s inability to “suck it up”?
I neither condone, nor condemn, that which I empathetically can relate to so deeply from each side. To say that a successful suicide is either selfish or damning or that it was more a choice than the result of a monster illness is not ours to judge.
It’s only our call to love and forgive.
I whole heartedly believe in the hope found in Jesus Christ. I am working on a book that chronicles just that. Intentions of this writing is only to free some of the need to know why so that love, forgiveness and healing can begin. Maybe Robin Williams’ lines faded in ways we can not possibly know. It’s not ours to say.