What a weird day. I was talking to someone about my past, and somehow my thoughts strayed towards Katy. I’m not moody, just pensive. Thinking about the choices we make to live our lives. . .or to screw it up.
Two decades ago, watching her in her downward spiral and going through her many suicide attempts and realizing the cold certainty that she wouldn’t outlive me. Listening to her call me on the phone, asking “How did you do it? How come you aren’t depressed anymore? Do you cut yourself anymore? Do you think about killing yourself?” Being at an art opening on campus, swirling champagne, my watercolors of skulls on the walls, and someone finding me to tell me there was an emergency call for me. Calling me again, talking about the last attempt where they cleaned out her gut with liquid charcoal, her husband coming home to find blood smeared across the walls in hallway, the bathroom–because when you both slit your wrists and overdose, you flail around.
Her shocked voice as she relayed, “He ran up to check on the baby first, as though he was afraid I would hurt her!” and me holding my tongue. Oh my dear friend, if you can do such damage to yourself, can’t you see that an outsider can’t possibly tell where your boundary is? Maybe you will only hurt yourself, but maybe you will take your child with you as you court death? And the final call at my work from her husband, a call I knew was coming, just not when. “She’s dead. This time she did everything. . . overdosed, and slit her wrists, and threw herself in the river. There’s video footage of her leaving the last store with rope. And no offense, but I can’t talk to you anymore. . .I know you were friends, but I can’t do this.”
That was over a decade ago. He sends me a picture of their little girl every year within a Christmas card. She’s 14 this year. I wonder what her dad tells her about how her mom died.