|Between Light and Dark|
This is part of an ongoing story about a patient suicide. Click here for Patient Suicide Part One: The Phone Call, here for Patient Suicide Part Two: 30 Minutes to Think, here for Patient Suicide Part Three: Fully Present, here for Patient Suicide Part Four: What's a Life Worth, here for Patient Suicide Part Five: Treat People Like They Matter, here for Patient Suicide Part Six--Leftovers, here for Patient Suicide: Part Seven--Training Monkeys/Herding Cats, and here for Patient Suicide: Part Eight--On Scarves and Lessons Learned
My patient who killed herself told me once that when she died she wanted no obituary, no service, no tomb stone--no marker of any sort that made mention of her life. She wanted there to be "no memory that my sad life ever existed on this planet." She was a woman who was suicidal for more than half of her fifty some odd years on this planet. She was a woman who faced an unrelenting depression that possessed such strong gravity that it was hard for any emotion to break free of the soul-crushing grip of its power.
I've been thinking her wishes a lot these last couple of weeks. From time to time I think I might be comforted by visiting her grave. My experience of her death seems incomplete. She was alive one day, coming in for twice a week appointments, engaged in future planning, and talking about her beloved pet. The next day there was a phone call and she was dead. Gone. There was no space between life and death for me. I'm beginning to understand that one powerful thing rituals surrounding a death provide is a space to experience this moment in time--the moment between here and there, life and death.
I broke my long standing rule of never using Google to search for a patient. It appears that her family respected her wishes. There was no public funeral. No obituary appeared in the paper. No record of a burial exists anywhere I look. A few of my patient's friends are looking for her, hoping she is safe. Beyond that, it as if she was never here. She got her wish and was erased from the record of this world. Or did she?