Thursday, December 28, 2006

More death. More sad news, I almost said even sadder because there's something about the compelling despair of suicide that shocks and hurts. But I don't know what I really think. Is it sadder to have life snatched when you are doing a great job of living it, or sadder to fall into such a pit that you don't desire to live it anymore and are willing to take the drastic act to end it. I guess my true feeling is that comparing sadnesses is just stupid and doesn't work. Both things are seriously sad and there's no reason to measure.

Anyway, while Ruth and Chris were laughing in the kitchen making their neighbor Barbara's recipe for taco soup for everyone's dinner, Chris cell phone rang. The news was that Barbara had killed herself and had mentioned them warmly in the note she left. The funeral is Saturday. Ruth had talked to me about Barbara, a woman about my age who had a very hard life. Ruth knew she was suicidal (because she said so). She was in despair about emotional cutoffs in her family and feeling hopeless about the new career course she was setting (because of some professional misbehaver on the part of a professor). Ruth had talked to me a bit about Barbara and her hard story - her level of despair, had even given her my phone number. But Barbara had not called. I wonder if she had already decided to kill herself before she went to see her new grandson for Christmas. I guess we'll never know.

This is so hard. It is the first death of a friend for both Ruth and Chris and the first suicide (both of them lasted longer without either of those losses than I did as a young woman) Ruth feels guilty that she knew Barbara was seriously considering suicide and she (Ruth) maybe didn't do enough to change her mind, call authorities or inform estranged family members giving them a chance to mend fences. It seems to me that she and Chris both did what they could, but it is and is going to be hard for both of them.

They are going to the funeral Saturday morning with their other neighborhood friend, a Korean war veteran who has been very helpful to them this year (rides to the mechanic, shared meals, lots of good talks). I am impressed with the way they have made connections in their current neighborhood and life, and with the way they support each other in difficulty.

Before the funeral, in the midst of all this news of death and dying, we will celebrate Danny's eight birthday tomorrow. Lafe and death do dance cheek to cheek always. SOmetimes its just more obvious than others.

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