Monthly Archives: February 2010

Get in touch with her. Write on her Wall.

It was less than a month ago when I capitulated to Facebook’s nagging and clicked on a link with the intention of writing on a friend’s wall.

Get in touch with her. Write on her Wall.

She was someone with whom I had worked – a sparkling, cheerfully beautiful woman. We had exchanged pregnancy stories as each made her path to motherhood. I remembered the little thrill I felt finding the perfect petal-pink sweater set for her long-awaited daughter. She would be four years old now, only one behind my son. Might there be some pictures in a photo album? Status lines about pre-school? I have been thinking about returning to the world of paid work, though I know it is smaller than when I left it.

Get in touch with her.

There was plenty on her wall, but nothing from her. Instead, there were messages for her, reporting on her daughter’s performance at a school play. How proud she would have been of her, and her husband. How much her friends missed her, her laughter. I quickly googled and found the death notice. No cause listed. I remembered my mother explaining what she knew of the code of death notices – that no cause would either be an accident or suicide.

More searching, and nothing, except her beautiful photo and none of her words. And more of the same from Facebook – Get in touch with her. Write on her wall.

I had always mourned those who took their own lives, who felt so desperate that this was the only answer they had to the question of living. But this time, after the shock wore off, I felt sick. Sick for the daughter, sick for the husband. Of course I knew no details – she had decided to leave months ago, and her life did not overlap my own except in the history of conversation – but there was something that felt so wrong. The murder of a soul, of the loving relationship between a mother and daughter. How could she herself kill it?

The process of giving birth and the privilege of being in the presence of my own children – “own” being a loaded word, but one with meaning for other adoptees who felt blood connection might be their only path to belonging – also bring the heavy weight of accountability. To be there for them, to sustain them, to give them the best ten fingers over the wall and into the scrum, along with a map for getting back should they need to.

And then the agony, the grieving, the mourning returned in earnest. What would it take to break that bond? How far gone had she been? Who wouldn’t think twice about the happy-go-lucky, seemingly untroubled colleague, and ask them, privately, if the sparkle was the beginning or end of the life of a star.

Get in touch with her. Write on her Wall.

Another post might have been about how odd it was to stumble on such tragic news via FB, how many of my other former colleagues who knew her had no idea what had come to pass. But in the few weeks following that Saturday night discovery, all that has made it to words is how cold the world has become with the news of her suicide, the realization that no one was able to get in touch with her in a way that would allow her to stay with us, not simply haunt us.

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Filed under the way out, tragedy