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Well, Grandma Didn’t Die
But I did die a little inside
A few months back, my grandmother was supposed to die. There was little to no hope of survival. Of course, I thought it was sad, but I was OK with the end-of-life process and the reality around it. Life ends and death happens. It’s all part of the contract that has been imposed upon us when we were born.
Some enjoy life, embrace it, every step of the way, knowing how valuable and precious it is, others like me wander all over it, not necessarily wanting it to end but not wanting to live forever and others decide it’s just too much to bear. Grandma didn’t die, and told us God had more plans for her. Good for her. God for her.
I remember writing about the selfishness of suicide, but I cannot recall where I wrote it. Is it here on my Substack or in this ongoing memoir-like diarrhea of words that is coming and going between nowhere and everywhere? Some people call suicide lazy, or an easy way out. Like if those making the decision to end their life have chosen the cheaper way, a blind path where they wouldn’t have to face reality. In a previous life, I have been married to someone thinking just that. At the time, I said yeah, yeah, you must be right, because I saw him as so much smarter than me, so much better.
The truth is otherwise. My lived experiences have taught me differently. With my uncle killing himself when I was around 8, this event being my first conscious encounter with death, I could not really go that route. Saying it to look cool might be doable, but believing it is in its own realm. Many say that suicide isn’t a solution, I say it is. Suicide isn’t only a solution; it probably is the only viable one for many people in many situations, ending up doing “it”. My uncle had a pretty fucked up life, a wife cheating on him and a daughter that told him he was not, in fact, her father. He was depressed when it was not allowed, and alcoholic. When men could not cry, what could they do?
Last Sunday, four days ago, I received a text from my improv instructor saying something along the line of “We were wondering why J. wasn’t present last Monday, we know now, she is dead”. He said the French version of she has “passed away”, but I hate that phrase so let’s stick with death as it is, no need to soften.
Many things happened in my head when I read that, and there was no place in my brain for anything else, so this studying I was into, nope. Reading my ongoing book, nope. Working the next morning, nope. Two Mondays ago, less than two weeks prior to that text, I had felt her despair, I had followed her after the class to ask her if she was OK, I had cared way more than I care for anyone else. The previous Monday, she wasn’t there, and it was unlikely. She took much pride in the fact that she was always on time, and always present. When asked about her, I had replied that she was very down during the previous class and that I was worried. We didn’t know, but she was dead, already.
The cause of death was not written anywhere, and the others didn’t know either. Deep down inside, I knew. The fascinating aspect of suicide is the many mindfucks it comes with. “It probably wasn’t it”, I thought, since she had just bought a house to live with her mother. She had two very young grandsons and multiple cats to care for, plus she was volunteering for a cat shelter. Those people don’t kill themselves, do they?
On the other hand, her energy was made of darkness and pain. It was so heavy. She was a very nice person, and my favourite to team up with during our classes, but her smiley mask would fall once in a while, and the distress in her eyes would be exposed for anyone to see, or was it just me? The others didn’t seem to bother much, if at all. We have spent approximately 17 Mondays together; we never missed a class. Until she would miss one, and all of them.
With no surprise, the next class came with the obvious, she had done it. Apparently, everyone around her knew it would happen. It reminded me how damaging suicide is for those who still live. I once said to my sons that with every suicided came at least one traumatized. One of my biggest fears as a teenager was to find my dead father, hung in the garage. I was scared not because I don’t want him to die, far from that, but because I don’t want to see dead people, under any circumstances, just like I would never want anyone to stumble on my dead body, by my fault.
As her friend and improv mate told us Monday, after she attended the salon, life goes on. It sure does, but so many things remain unsolved in such a situation. I cannot help but think that I may have poisoned her with my own darkness, because I am quite the pessimist one. By that, I don’t mean that I caused it, but I probably didn’t bring anything useful in her life. It got me thinking about my own issues, and how damaging I could be to people. Generally, these thoughts bring loads of guilt and anxiety. When I come back to my senses, I remember that I have flipped my life upside down to try to find the light, and even if I am still heavy as fuck, I am not being such a burden on purpose, I am still working on it. Life goes on, indeed.