Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today is the anniversary of the last time I talked to my friend Karen...

Sorry that there are so many blogs, here lately, about anniversaries of deaths etc, but for some reason these months (late November thru mid January) have a LOT of sad anniversaries for me. (More than at any other time of year) I don't know why there should be so many in these months ..... I wonder if other people have anniversaries like this at this time of year. Maybe people tend to die more around the end of the year cuz of it being the end of a year? Or maybe it is just the way it is for my family/friends.

At any rate, on Monday, Dec 11th 2005, at about 11 am or so -- I got a call from my friend, Karen (whom I had known for over 35 years) telling me that she was feeling very depressed and suicidal.. She was calling from Los Angeles, where she had gone down for a week or two to visit her man/friend (*boyfriend just doesn't seem to fit for a 60+ year old man .... Karen prefered older men). She had spent most of 2005 up in Oregon, and I'd spent 3 to 5 days every week she was up here trying to help her to get acclaimated to where maybe she could stay here if she chose to. Like me, she always prefered the rain to the sun, so she was VERY tired of Los Angeles where it usually is full of endless sunny days. She even had a pet for the first time in her life (from 2004 to 2005) -- a Bishon Frise (spelling) she'd named Shatzi. Anyway, Alan (her friend) had paid for her to have an apt up here for that past year, to see if she really liked living in Oregon (instead of just always talking about it) It was very nice of him to pay for that apt for a year for her. Understandibly, he didn't want to pay for it indefinately so it was time for her to decide to either move to Oregon and pay for it herself or move back down to LA. I found out (later) that she had enough money to pay for an apt up in Oregon for a year -=- but I guess she somehow didn't think she could afford it -- so that day (when she called me) she was angry at her father for not giving her money to move up here and she felt like she had to perminently move back down to LA.

She told me she was upset and suicidal during that last phone call but unfortunately I thought she needed an empathetic ear more than a more active 'intervention" on my part. I didn't realize she had actually decided she was going to commit suicide and was taking steps to do it as we spoke on the phone that morning. :-( I wish I HAD realized this because I think I would have said different things to her and maybe even been able to talk her out of it, or even called the authorities to get her hospitalized (which I would have done -whether it made her angry or not) -- but instead I was just trying to be there for her as she expressed her feelings of depression. I DID ask her "What are you doing now?" but all she said to that was "I'm taking a walk." Which sounded pretty healthy to me so I didn't persue it. I should have. Turns out she was "taking a walk" to a hotel to spend the next couple of nights there taking pills 'til she OD'ed. :-(

Intellectually, I know that I am not to blame for her suicide. If someone really wants to commit suicide they will eventually succeed. She had talked of killing herself for the full 35 years I had known her (and before). She was getting better and better at it with each attempt. I KNOW this and yet I still feel that I could have said something to talk her out of it.
With her last attempt I had been able to find her in time (even tho she was unconscious from the pill overdose). She'd come very close to succeeding that time (in Jan 2004) and, I guess, would have succeeded had I not found her. She was furious at me afterwards for rescuing her. She didn't talk to me for months. But she got almost 2 more years of life after the 2004 suicide attempt which is a good thing. I wish that I had realised what she was saying/doing when she called me that December 11th morning three years ago today. I am sure that that phone call will replay over and over again in my head 'til the day I die. :-( :-( :-(

If ANY of you out there feels even the least bit suicidally depressed -- CALL for help, be VERY clear about your intentions, let yourself be admitted into a hospital for awhile, see a therapist, DO SOMETHING to save yourself --- because suicide is a decision you can not come back from. It also affects the people you love for the rest of their lives! There is a lot of anger in suicide. Many people who commit suicide want to "show them" (punish the people they love - for not having loved them enough -- "look what you drove me to.") I know they also want to end the pain of their lives -- but as I say == the decision is FINAL, and once you're gone, you're gone.
The one CONSTANT thing of life is change -- and that means that even the things that are depressing you will change and many will go away. There CAN be a light at the end of the dark tunnel. You CAN feel happy and fulfilled again... (or even happy and fulfilled for the first time in your life). Suicide takes all those chances away AND -- it leaves your loved ones with mixed feelings of sorrow for their friend/lover who was killed AND ANGER at the murderer who killed them - (which, in suicide, is the same person).
(I know I am on the soap box here but if even ONE person reads this and changes their minds about suicide == then it is worth it!) Too bad it is too late for Karen. :-(

(((((((Hugs to you all out there))))))
Take care of yourselves!


Wildstar said...

A very sad story, Aurora, but you were able to get a very important lesson from it. I hope everybody listen to your words and remember them

Anonymous said...

/me attempts to speak to this but finds herself unable - can only lay a hand on your shoulder and let you know she is there...