Belief and Death

This afternoon a young girl jumped off the roof of the Tobu Department store to her death. She didn't hit bare ground; she landed on another person. She died at the scene, and the person she landed on was rushed to the hospital. I was there a few hours after it happened. Television crews were there, doing whatever it is that they do best. I waited across the street, watching people and inquiring.

What belief did this young woman have that caused her suicide? What was so bad that necessitated the ending of her life? What reality was impossible to reconcile?

None of that exists here, so it is difficult to imagine. There are memories of the struggle and the sorrow, but it is out of focus and grainy. It is not here. In some way, it seems like watching a 10 inch black and white television, with little to no reception, on the other side of the room. An old memory that cannot touch or be touched.

There have been suicides in my life, of people that I loved, and the resulting emotions were heavy and disturbing. On one level, the individual wants to feel guilty, "I could have done something, had I been there." That thought tears one apart, and is itself, impossible to reconcile.

And on another level, the individual seeks the attention that drives their grief. This is not necessarily a conscious thought such as, "I am going to really cry so my Dad will pay attention to me," but the self drives it forward to some end. In this same area is the thought, "How could she do this to ME?"

So terribly terribly destructive.

When I was 13 years old, my 14 year old best friend had an argument with someone in his family and was sent to jail. I don't know if he was sent there as a, "We'll teach him a lesson this time!" kind of thing, but he went anyway. I remember thinking that I should go over there and say something, but it seemed silly in some way. And also, it would have been embarrassing for him.

It was his second day there, I think, and he strung up the bed sheet as a noose and hung himself. They found him some time later.

I remember the pain was staggering. I can see that little boy in my mind, torn apart with grief. It was a terribly chaotic time as I recall. It hit us all pretty hard.

I carried that around with me for twenty years. It was not a constant thought, but I never could let it go. I thought about it every week, even up to November 30th, 2006. But on December 1st, everything changed. There was no more grief, and I was able to freely reconcile everything, in one fail swoop. (Of course, I didn't realize it at that time, because reconciliation isn't noticeable until thoughts arise. The word Reconciliation is not quite right, as there is no-one to reconcile anything, but it is close.)

During the summer of 2007, I went back to my hometown for the first time in almost ten years. I went to the cemetery to see my friend. I had a few things to say.

"I don't know if you need to be forgiven for anything. But I DO forgive you, and I am sorry that I couldn't let go of you sooner. I am certain that I kept you for so long because I didn't know how to let go. It was a way to feel connected to you, even though you were gone. I couldn't let go because of ME, and not because of you.

"So, you are free. I will always have the memories, but I no longer NEED them. Peace be with you."

I left there, and never went back. In more ways than one.

I hope the parents of that young girl remember the good things. Remember the love they shared and the life that was here, even though it left so quickly. And I sincerely hope they can let her go for their own sake. It isn't their fault.

Peace be with them.