Friday, March 24, 2006


Three years ago on this date one of my heroes died. She wasn't famous, and I actually hadn't talked to her in about ten years, but she had an influence on me when we were in school. She spoke her mind, had her own sense of style, was very exotic-looking, well-read, could draw like a mofo, had a silly sense of humor, was good at listening to a friend's problems, and was the epitome of marching to one's own drummer. At a time when girls are pressured to fit in at any cost, she refused to obey that pressure, and her living example helped me set my own path that was more beneficial to myself.

Apparently she felt she was more flawed than I did. Her self-doubts and depression led her from a bright and sunny world to a dark, morbid pit that she felt she couldn't climb out of. What she projected on the outside was 180 degrees from what she was experiencing on the inside. What I thought she was capable of and what she thought she could do were totally different. She smashed my ideal of her in a bathroom in Oakland three years ago today.

The usual human wreckage after her death ensued. Her parents and boyfriend in particular were absolutely devastated. Even though I hadn't talked to her in a long time, she ripped at my emotional well-being when I found out. It didn't help that she did this about five months after another friend's young child took his own life, so I was at a particular low point.

I think I understand where the bible was coming from when it condemned suicide. It's not about the person who wants to die, it's about the effect of that person's death on the people who are left. The feeling of despair and helplessness is overwhelming. The shoulda/woulda/coulda's take over. Some people can't get on with their own lives when a loved one dies by their own hand, and that can be unforgiveable in some circumstances.

When I was younger I had the usual morbid thoughts about wanting to die, but I never succumbed to them. Thank goodness. For those who did, like Delia, I hope they found some kind of peace.

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