Friday night, something snapped: "I am just so done with this life," she tweeted. "I've had it, I can't continue to live in constant pain. Goodbye."
It wasn't my place to do an intervention, but how could I not? "Please don't do that," I sent back. "Life may suck, but the alternative might be worse." The idea that I might come up with something like that, while my own life sucks and the alternative is still on the table, is somehow mind-boggling.
Jenny Boylan, who knew her personally, tried to talk her out of it; when no response was forthcoming, Boylan called 911. It didn't occur to me at the time that the two of them were two, maybe three, states apart; when it did, I decided that it didn't matter.
An hour or so later, Boylan reported that they'd found her alive.
Given my warped sensibilities, it was inevitable that I should reimagine this story with myself at the center. How would I notify the world? This, at least, I already knew; I would just simply reword the tweet I expected to be my last during a particulary heinous tornado outbreak a couple of years ago. Who's going to know, right?
Next question: Would there be an intervention for me? God knows I've made enough noises about dying, especially in recent weeks when it seemed like the only way out. I dismissed this question as being ultimately irrelevant.
Shortly thereafter, I came upon this story:
An international collaboration of research scientists in Australia, the United States and Sweden has identified a molecule in the blood that holds the key to identifying the cause of suicide.
So it is, after all, just a chemical imbalance, and not the work of busy little demons. (Although who's to say that busy little demons aren't at work with their chemistry sets?) I suggest, though, that you'll never convince the poor soul who's given up on life that there's a simple solution, or indeed any solution at all. I know I wouldn't believe it.
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Copyright © 2016 by Charles G. Hill