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Thursday, June 15, 2006

suicide is painless

At the bottom of the stairwell the Portuguese landlady hands me a letter to take to the seventh floor.

The elevator is broken, and the kids and I are going up anyways.

We’re about to head up the stairs when she says: “I’ve had some horrible news today.”

“Quoi?” I inquire, knowing that horrible news is usually the most interesting.

“A friend of mine, his son committed suicide. They found him out in the garden. No note. He did it with a knife. I’ve been sick all day just thinking about it.”

We exchange regrets, then I start heading up the stairs with the kids. The girl stops.

“What’s suicide?” She asks.

“It’s when somebody kills themselves,” I answer, afraid of scaring the kids with my bluntness.

“It doesn’t hurt though, does it?” Asks the boy.

“It hurts a lot for a second, but then you’re dead,” I answer, shocked by my inability to sugarcoat my words.

“Why did the son kill himself?” The young girl continues to prod.

“I don’t know. He didn’t leave a note. He must have been very miserable. Sometimes people aren’t happy in life. They find life too hard.”

My mind slips back into my past, where thoughts of suicide would dance jigs in my brain, my mind swimming in melancholia.

“Do you know why I like life?” She asks, smiling.

I’m expecting to be moved, “What, what do you like?”

“Star Wars! Star Wars makes me happy!” She boasts, skipping into the apartment.

“Well thank god for Star Wars,” I say, a smile growing on my lips, “whatever it takes to make you happy.”

what's wrong buddy?


Blogger miss tango in her eyes said...

Suicide is only painful for the loved ones left behind, and the legacy it leaves behind. This I know from our own family's experience with the death of a loved one.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

you handled that well, i would say

9:54 AM  
Blogger Georgia said...

A really beautiful entry, Gill. I loved it.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

miss tango in her eyes- I'm sorry you've had to deal with suicide, I know from observing others that it's the hardest death to deal with.

josh- I don't know if I handled anything, but I think honesty is the best way sometimes.

georgia- Merci ma belle.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Your young charge is correct! Not so much about Star Wars itself, but the hidden truth in her innocent comment in that we will always find something to live for if we just give ourselves a moment to think on it a bit.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Uranus said...

I have only witnessed a suicide in my life. It was around this time of this year last year and here in Paris, a young woman jumped from a 12th floor, and landed near a group of children playing. A few months before, my TGV train was delayed because some person had committed suicide and continuously we read about people jumping on the tracks of the Paris metro.

For some people who still live in the XXth century, Paris is still the city of love, but the Paris I know is the city of the riots, strikes and suicides.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am loving your honesty entries little reflections more each day.19 and seeming far wiser than my 26 year old self.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Suzy- Very true, I soon realized that if it weren't for soul music, fresh pastries and sunshine I would be quite miserable as well. The small things make it all worth it.

Uranus- I think it's a city with many faces. But the love is definitely there, it just takes opening up to it a little.

Anonymous- Thank you, I still have a long way to go when it comes to wisdom, but hopefully I'll be old and very wise one day.

11:02 AM  

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