For My Friend

Emily - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 7, 2008

This past October I was fortunate enough to give birth to my third child. I was excited and scared – I had plenty of support and was basking in the great relief of not being pregnant anymore.

Two months prior, my friend, who shall be referred to as Donna, had her second baby, and was not quite so content. She had a son that was four years old, and an absent husband. Her husband was always working, and Donna had expressed to me several times that she was upset that he was not around more, that this was not how she had wanted her life to be.

The day after my baby was born, I learned that my friend had committed suicide. Her husband was having an affair.

There were a lot of things that I felt, but mostly I thought of my baby.

What was there to do? I felt pretty helpless – her husband had the children, and I had mine.

There was a lot of talk after she died. Lots of people feeling lots of things. Oh so sad for her kids, her husband, Donna. But what I felt were the little memories that would pop in and out of my mind. The way she said her child’s name. The way she announced herself when she called. Coming to terms with suicide is very surreal. I know that there was nothing that I could have done. I know that there were things that her husband could have done. But ultimatey, it was Donna’s choice, and her kids will forever suffer for that moment when she decided to take that leap.

My own husband still cannot fathom a mother taking her life with two very young children at home. He says that he thinks about it every day. So do I. But I do not think that this is for us to understand. It is not our burden to bear.

I believe that our actions have consequences that we may never live to see. We make choices that will impact generations to come. It is our responsibility to ourselves, and the children that we raise, to ensure that these choices are thoughtful and responsilble.

This is how I feel about my very good friend’s death. Perhaps it is cold, perhaps it is too academic. But I must maintain, for the sake of my children, that she did this of her own accord, depressed, clinical or otherwise, and what is left, is peaceful sadness.