Image from here.
A woman leapt to her death on the tracks of the LRT at the EDSA-Taft terminal yesterday morning, stranding thousands of commuters in the aftermath.
One of our service drivers slid into a coma and died, two years after suffering a stroke that left him incapacitated and his family in shambles.
And after an unexpected relapse, an old colleague likewise fell into a coma and finally succumbed to...pneumonia.
And no one voices the question that's really on their minds, the unspoken query hanging in the air like a suicide swinging from a rope.
I don't know what it is about August that makes me think of leaping from tall buildings myself. Or putting a gun in my mouth and pulling the trigger. Or swerving my little Miata onto the path of an oncoming ten-wheeler.
I don't know why Harry, his face permanently etched into my memories in a Cheshire Cat grin, did it early this year. Retiring to his room after an uneventful dinner, removing his polo shirt and shoes, then leaping out of his 36th floor window.
I don't know why Hannah, lovely, smart, a successful doctor, swallowed those pills and laid down to die in her lonely bed, alone in the new house too full of nothing after her husband left her for another woman.
I don't know. Who would? Sometimes not even those who choose to kill themselves do.
But I understand.
That gnawing emptiness, I understand.
That oppressive nothingness, I understand.
It makes some convoluted sense, if one's life means nothing, or one sees nothing but despair, to simply give in and hurl oneself once and for all into the Nothingness by any means one sees fit.
Interestingly, while searching for an image for this post, I stumbled across this blog entry, and am quoting it here since it spoke volumes to me (you may want to read the entire entry at the link ):
A friends' friend killed himself last year. Taylor (let's call him that) saw his life turn into a nightmare after he stabbed a guy to death, and the story was broadcasted in the media and became a national scandal. Taylor was apparently in love, and killed his friend out of jealousy. He spent some time in jail, and was now waiting at home for his trial, but it was very hard to behave like a normal person. Virtually all of Taylor's friends abandoned him; many of them were also friends with the guy he killed. He was not accepted at any job once people found out what he had done. He tried a distance university course but that did not go well, and he of course gave up the prospect of finding someone who would accept and maybe marry him. So he pretty much stayed at home. He saw his life being taken from him the moment he took someone else's life. Last year he jumped off the sixth floor.
Yet Taylor is just an extreme case of someone looking desperately for something we all crave: redemption. We may not plan to murder someone, and I think he did not intend that either, but we all wish we could go back in time and undo something. We all have words we wish we had not said, or good actions we wish we had performed. We all have a first experiment we wish we had not tried, now that it became a vicious habit and sucks out our joy. If we were brought before a time machine, and had the chance of visiting the past once, I bet most of us would not journey back to watch Napoleon’s coronation or the 1970 World Cup final. We would travel back to change our past, and thus change our present and our future. We would fashion a new history for ourselves.
Past actions have a molding quality: they stand tall and cast a shade over our horizon. They fit our complex existence into their simple, unchangeable molds, and leave us afraid we will not be able to perform any better than we have done in the past. Regrets threaten to imprison us and hold us captive, and we long for some form of liberation, for a breath of life that will give us a fresh start of life and a renewed direction. We want to be free from our imprisoning past.
Terminal thoughts on the last day of this month, on the day of the birth of she who gave birth to me - well, there's some irony.
Let this month be done, and let us be done with it.
Oh, and no - I'm not about to kill myself. At least not just yet. And heavens, not so close to my mom's birthday, please -my father would pursue me into the afterlife just for the satisfaction of killing me all over again.
Just to head off any concerned texts at the pass, because I have a shoot tomorrow and cannot deal with friends and social acquaintances while it is ongoing.
Oh, and maybe it's relevant, maybe not: Ghost Month, 17 Aug 2012-15 Sept 2012.