I wrote this last year, I think I published it for a day and took it down again so apologies if you’ve seen it before. The reason I’m republishing it is we are just hitting the 6 year anniversary of our suicide attempt and it’s been weighing on my mind. It’s a story I’m planning to tell properly over the next few weeks and we now have perspectives and permissions from the others to share their experiences. So kicking it all off, here is 5 years:
It’s been 5 years since she let go. Since she lay in that bed closed her eyes and said her final words under her breath to everyone she’d ever known.
Five years since an ancient whisper finally convinced her it was time to end her fight, five years since she silently said goodbye and slipped away into the cold night.
Time in all its strange fluidity flys by, but five years on her ghost still lives in my shadow perhaps watching distantly as I try to rebuild a life I barely know, a life I awoke rudely into one strange day and have tried to make my own.
Anniversaries are hard sometimes, I look around and wonder if she would be proud of everything that we have done since she left, if she’d have done it differently, better.
I wonder if she’d known what we know now, if she would have stayed around a little longer, if maybe we could have even saved her.
There are so many things I want to tell her, I want to apologise for not understanding her, for not being there when she needed me, for letting her be hurt instead of me.
I also want to thank her for trying so hard for so long even when she was so lost and so confused. I wish I’d known then what I know now, maybe I could have reached her, helped her, listened to her.
Instead I ignored what I knew, the different doctor visits, the lengths others had gone to to encourage her. I even denied and dismissed the stash of pills they concealed as some sort of sadistic peace offering, I let myself believe it was just a security blanket. I never thought she’d actually take them; until in a moment of apparently unstoppable pain, she did.
They called it euthanasia, but it was different and I knew deep down it was wrong.
I just let it happen.
I watched her from somewhere across the room as her breathing became shallow, she looked oddly peaceful as she lay there quivering slightly.
Perhaps I knew on some level that I had bought into the lies that this was for the best and now suddenly I realised I was witnessing her murder. My own murder.
I was really angry for a long time afterwards, misplaced guilt perhaps. I cursed those I called perpetrators for what they did to her, to us.
I hated them for convincing me to be an accomplice. I cursed my own weakness for being so wilfully blind to their plans while I silently rode the roller coaster of grief and pretended to the world around me that everything was absolutely fine, that my world hadn’t been irreparably shattered.
It’s hard to hold the responsibility, the shame, the loss and the heartbreak while also trying to acknowledge and accept that swiftly stolen sense of relief and all its complications.
I have slowly come to the realisation that I will never be able escape the prison I am confined to without some sort of acceptance, without some sort of forgiveness with or without their cooperation.
Perhaps the hardest thing of all is finding compassion for them knowing they may never own what they have done, finding compassion for her pain and, finding compassion for myself for having power and doing nothing.
There was no such thing as one bad decision, it was a million little events over 30years that evolved into what was perhaps an inevitable ending.
Five years on I am trying to reframe my internal prison cell as my fractured mind still struggles to claw its way from the dark hole of shame and piece itself back together.
I’m trying, God how I’m trying to be better, and I think I’m making progress, all be it slow. But maybe that night doesn’t have to be looked at as an ending anymore, but instead a beginning of a new chapter.