You know the problem with watching someone kill themselves? The questions.
When someone dies of cancer or old age or a heart attack, you know the cause. It doesn’t make it any easier but at least you know the why.
In the stillness of the night, though, when there are no sounds other than my breathing and the beating of my own heart, I’m left with questions.
Why? Why did she kill herself? Why did she decide, at that time, on that day, to jump off the 27th floor of my building? Where I work? And in the five seconds it took for her to fall and land, what were her thoughts? Was she beautiful as she fell? Her hair whipping around her? Was the wind loud in her ears? Did she regret her choice? Did she clutch the stuffed bunny, probably given to her by her boyfriend, and apologize in the wind, asking for his forgiveness? Did she feel any regret at all?
I know why she felt the need to kill herself. She was, apparently, violently sexually molested as a young woman. I’m not sure at what age this took place. And I also know that this wasn’t her first time trying to kill herself. That she’d attempted to take her life a week or so prior.
She could no longer wrestle with her demons, it seems.
The last time I slept I had a horrid dream. I was on an airplane and our plane was being pursued by another plane, flown by terrorists. They were trying to force us to fly into a building and for the longest time we avoided everything in our path. I remember thinking I was going to survive and our pilot would somehow force the other plane to crash instead of us.
And then we flew straight into a building and I was thinking, as the jet fuel was burning my skin, that I had to somehow get out of the burning plane while we were still flying through the building. I somehow knew that when the plane made it through the building, the wreckage would plummet to the earth.
I didn’t want to fall. In my dream I had chosen burning to death as the more desirable way to go.
Which leaves me with even more questions. Why is she still in my head.
I’m now deathly afraid of heights. I felt so nauseated after going on roller coasters this summer that I thought I was going to throw up. And I had hoped, with each ride, that I would see how stupid it was. That it would get easier and I’d see, nothing was going to happen to me. My daughter and husband would be fine. But I felt as sick to my stomach as I did the night she killed herself. And I didn’t know how to tell anyone. I can’t go on these rides because I am afraid. Illogically afraid. Mind numbingly afraid. And I’m supposed to tell someone and expect them to understand?
She took her own life but she also took so much away from me.