“I am tired of tears and laughter, and men that laugh and weep, of what may come hereafter, for men that sow to reap. I am weary of days and hours, blown buds of barren flowers, desires and dreams and powers, and everything but sleep.” – Algernon Charles Swinburne
I’ve been preparing for death for as long as I can remember. It’s an old friend that never seems to find me when I most want it, and instead creeps up in its own time. I know it’s waiting for me, but whenever I most want to rush toward it, life fills the space between us. My sadness recedes in days or hours, and suicide is still only something I Google when everything is bad. I renew my contract to live, and in time I laugh again, block out the days of despair. But they always come again.
I know I have to stop this somehow. I can’t think of any way but dying. I imagine my death, that maybe the aftermath will be everything changing in my family, that my absence will be a wake-up call that it can’t go on like this, we can’t just keep hurting one another. Before me not eating gets noticed, before I can fill a prescription I intend to overdose with, before I can order the Nembutal that would be my preferred way to go, the clouds clear and again, we have to pretend the storm never happened. The point of the storm, Murakami said, is that we’re not the same person after it. The storms have chipped away at me until I’m only a bundle of tear ducts and inflamed joints and frayed nerves. It can’t go on like this.
I love my family, all of them. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t feel torn and miserable about this, I’d go out with a smile…and according to Sylvia, go to the Holding Place. But she said suicides of despair and mental illness go straight to the Other Side. If I go home, I’ll remember how short life is, all lives are, and it won’t seem long to me before I greet each of my parents and sisters when it’s their time to return, or even until I hug my nieces and nephews again. I’ll have to miss out on their lives, their milestones, the advice I could have given them. But what kind of aunt can I really be when I feel like this, when I know I’ll feel this way again regularly and each time, more of me is lost?
Maybe all this torment is my god’s way of signaling to me that I’m not supposed to be here. The gods know how many times I’ve asked for such a sign, begged for a reason to end it. Maybe they’ve been here a long time, piling up in the form of bad memories, physical pains, emotional earthquakes rocking this bad joke of a family. Maybe I was supposed to have been left in that water so long ago. Maybe losing a child of that age would’ve changed my parents, who had no business having children before they themselves grew up. Maybe my absence would have shifted everything, made my family like one of those “normal” families I always envied, maybe without my misery my sisters would have been less stressed, and still be.
Or maybe Jeremy would have lived, and having a son would have helped my mother in some way her daughters couldn’t have. Maybe she would’ve answered when he knocked on her door with a crying, hurt younger sister behind him. Maybe he would’ve been able to babysit constantly without becoming as damaged as I did. Maybe he was the antidote to my mother’s rages, and would’ve been able to make her see clearly when she, in pain, burns every bridge and destroys everything around her. I won’t know until I get to the Other Side and can ask him. Maybe he’ll hug me and say, “I’m sorry. I just saw what was ahead for me and had to get out of there.” I don’t blame him. How could I?
I probably won’t do it. After all, I’ve felt exactly this way so many times, and only days later, it’s like it never happened. But I don’t want to forget this feeling. I’m tired of the storms, tired of everything. I want to sleep. I want to close my eyes and never open them again.