Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eras/Errors Remembered

One of my principal childhood friends would have been either 33 or 34 today.

We started bonding at the beginning of 5th grade and hung tough until our massive falling out, the kind that only teenage girls seem to get caught up in, midway through the 9th grade. I only partially remember what we’d been fighting about, but gradually grew up enough to realize it was more my fault than hers.

I think of her every time I hear a ditty from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and still prominently display the monogrammed piano-shaped music box she gave me. Some of the gold plating has worn off, but the song (“Memory” from Cats) still plays on command.

She killed herself when we were in our early twenties. I found out months afterwards, when I was back home on a break from school and someone handed me a clipped-out obituary blurb from the local paper.  

Her dad worked for the hospital where I candy striped. Post-fallout, when I semi-regularly ran into him in the hallways, he never treated me any differently from when I used to rock out at his house or he used to drive me to school. Details about certain people, places, and politics from that era have become hazy, but I’m pretty sure today’s his birthday too.  


  1. It always stuns me when people take their own lives - I don't know why. Even though you weren't close at the end, it's still kinda sad.

  2. I am so sorry for the heartache you are remembering today. I hope you find peace and healing.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  3. I've known a few people who chose that same route, and it never gets any easier to understand. There's something scary about it, like "what if whatever happened to them happens to me?"

  4. I cannot even imagine finding out that news. She must have been in a lot of pain to take her own life.

  5. It is always a terrible and painful shock to hear of someone who has committed suicide. And more painful, still, someone with whom you once had a close attachment.

    Now, in my sixties, I have accumulated a surprising number of suicides, some close, some not so close, probably about ten or even more. So often a person's life seems just fine. What could be the cause? In the near decade since my daughter's graduation from high school, three or four of the mothers from that class have killed themselves. All middle class women, all in good-enough, or even really good, financial shape. I noticed that divorce tended to be a trigger, but certainly there were other triggers, not always known to the outside world.

    Just two months ago a 70-year-old woman (not a mother from that high school class)called me and started talking about suicide. I thought that by the end of the conversation I had her all cheered up. But a couple of weeks later, she made a serious suicide attempt. The only thing that saved her was that her sister got suspicious and called 911 on speculation. Fortunately, the ambulance arrived literally a few minutes before she died (an overdose of sleeping pills or tranquilizers or something similar).
    The terrible thing is, it would be so easy for her to make the attempt again.

  6. Wow. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to stop stalking your blog now, and will just put you on my Reader. :)