Now, no one ever hopes to stumble across a suicide note from a loved one. Let me be the first to tell you just how traumatising it is. But that’s what happened and this is what it read:
My Dearest and Most Beloved,
I am writing this at a time when I have found nothing left for which to live. I know that sounds dramatic and I wish it didn’t. It’s not dramatic or romantic or anything of the sort. It is simply sad. I know you’ve seen it in me. The emptiness. For a while you filled the void, but I have now realised it was not so much a space that needed filling, but rather a blackhole that ate all the substance I put there to try to plug the leak. So, in hindsight it ate all the happiness you, by some miracle, provided me with for years. And I cannot be more sorry for that because I know now, it not only ate away at my happiness, but also yours. When everything you put out for me disappeared and you never got anything in return? I may never understand how you managed to put up with me and my abject nothingness. This really is turning into something much more melodramatic than I had hoped, but you know I have never been particularly gifted with words. I have always been a simple man, with not much in my brain. And when I was younger I had plenty in my heart to make up for it and now there’s nothing there either. I have nothing. I am nothing. And so I feel it has come down to this. I can never be more sorry than I am now for the words that I have already written and am about to write; you will do so much better without me. I know, I’ve been dragging you down. So I’m leaving you. Not for someone else or somewhere else. I’m leaving you for nothingness. I feel it is all that I deserve. I hope you are able to see that there is no blame here to share. You were perfect to me. Don’t let this change you. Stay the way I always want to remember you; smiling, joyful, exuberant. Because you did fill me with happiness for a time and those are the times, the feelings that I have been clutching at for months. Trying to remember what that joy felt like, but it has since slipped away, just like I must now slip away from you.
I hope one day you can forgive me, maybe forget me, but for now do what you must to get by.
I love you always,
My hands had started to shake, but I knew I couldn’t be too late too save him. I had seen him just last night. Surely…
Of course I had been too late, if I was only just now finding the note. Only just now recognising the signs. I sat there, defeated. All the happy memories in the world couldn’t save him, but they were all I had and I started recounting them to myself as I sat there rocking and crying. My throat started choking itself and I found it harder and harder to breath. I was all he had and I couldn’t be enough for him.
I stood up, feeling lightheaded. Everything inside my head was telling me how much easier it would be to just sit down again. But, survival instinct, I suppose, kicked in and I took off running towards the river, the note still in my hand. The field was empty as I billowed across it, in the early morning light, casting a golden glow on the dried out grass. Just beyond the tree line and out of sight was the river. Everything started to slow down and it was just like in those dreams when you’re running from someone or something and you can just never seem to run any faster, your legs feel heavy and leaden and before you know it, the person or thing has caught up to you and you awake with a start. That’s what this running felt like. Hopeless, I would say. The only difference being that instead of running away from something, I was running towards it. It’s not that it got further away, just that I never got closer. And my legs. My heart. Had never felt quite so heavy. I thought about stopping. But then I thought about Jonathan and I kept going. And I guess that made all the difference because just before I thought for sure my legs would give out from underneath me, I came crashing into tree branches. They whipped my face. And it stung. And it felt good. Alive, even. The trees had never been so thick, but the air of the moment made everything seem thick. I slowed to a funny scurry; running when I could and walking briskly when the branches threatened to block my path. And then…
There was the river. And there, with his legs dangling over the edge, was my husband. He must’ve heard me coming, he must’ve known why I had been crashing through the trees. He must’ve deduced from the note in my hand and my heavy breathing why I was there. He must’ve decided it made no difference why I was there because he’d already made his choice. That much was clear. I thought. I was still breathing hard, feeling my heart beating in my feet. I didn’t know quite what to do. I had expected, as awful as it is, to arrive at the river only to find his already dead body in the water. That was the image I had in my head. And while I was obviously relieved that he was still here, I was bewildered. There was no precedent for this situation. What are you supposed to say when you come across your loved one in the midst of killing himself? I didn’t know what to say, but instinct told me to be near him. Even if it didn’t help him, I figured it would help me. Help me say goodbye. So, I walked cautiously across the debris of gold pine needles and slowly lowered myself to be sitting next to Jonathan on the river bank. He looked at me with all the sadness and confusion I had been so blind not to have seen sooner. He sighed. A long, deep sigh, as though he had been holding it inside him for years.
“It seems, my dearest, that while I am unable to find a reason to live, I am similarly unable to find a reason to want to be dead.”
I didn’t say anything.
“It all seems so final, doesn’t it? And I thought that was the point. The nothingness. But what if that’s not it? What if when we die we are judged for our actions and then spend the rest of our eternities living up in the clouds somewhere? How is that any better? It doesn't make any difference. But… while I am here, I still have you.”
He looked up at me then and the sadness and confusion were still there, but there was something else. A spark. Something bright and hopeful. I knew then, that maybe I was enough for him, and if that’s all I had to be…then maybe we would be alright.