Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Doors of Escape

This world to her was but a tragic play
She came, saw, dislik'd, and passed away

-----Inscription on a girl's tomb, Southwark Cathedral, London

Two months ago, someone died. To be more precise, she killed herself. I don't know her, only of her because my friend wrote about her death and I read it. Many days have passed, yet I still think of her at times, of people like her.

This is what my friend wrote in Facebook on May 22. It is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful and most horrifying things I have ever read.

So, you leave us, this world, for a place I do not yet wish to discover myself, your heaven or hell, or nirvana, or whatever better place you thought might be more to your soul's liking.
You were only 28. Your mother called you brilliant, moody, frustrated. You said she didn't know the half of it. Well, now she knows the all too tragic whole. 
Your brother was the one who told me, and asked if I had any inkling as to why you did it. I said yes, and reminded him of how I told him so, forwarded to him the email I sent a year and 2 months and 11 days ago, an email I asked permission from you to write, and you said it wouldn't matter, he wouldn't care enough to do anything about it. He did, actually. He called me, and asked to talk about it, I said that he should talk to you, and soon, and I guess that never happened, did it? 
Your brother admitted as much. He said he didn't talk to you about it because he didn't know what to say. He still doesn't.
Your family wants me to go to your memorial service. I said no, I don't do funerals. If I could help it I wouldn't even attend mine. I suppose in that sense I wouldn't be there, as I'd be dead. Like you are.
Your dad asked for me to do your eulogy, because "the way she talked about you, parang kilalang-kilala mo sya. (It seemed like you really, really knew her.) The days after she went to you, she was really happy" - and I asked if that was what he wanted, to remember you as happy.
Thing is, you weren't. It's why you offed yourself, right? 
Now, why would I want to eulogize about someone who couldn't stand life to the point she killed herself? I don't want to, because you don't deserve anything after this, what I write.
You made your choice, and everyone you leave behind in your wake will have to live with that, including myself, and I choose to rid my memory banks of you, so I will not be riddled with night terrors, waking nightmares, sadnesses brought about by the failure of showing you the brilliance that I did see in you, the beauty of your fractured soul that you did not have the strength to fulfill. 
You blind, tragic woman, you failure at life, you sweet sweet idiot. Wherever you are, I hope you never have peace.

In his book The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss talked about the four doors of escape people use to cope with pain.

First is the door of sleep. As most of us know, sleep offers us a retreat from the world and all its pain. It allows us some distance from things that have hurt us. When we feel extreme physical or emotional pain, we often fall unconscious, the mind's way of protecting itself from pain by stepping through the first door.

Second is the door of forgetfulness. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep too heal quickly as I'd like to believe. Oftentimes, the mind stores painful memories behind this door, the ones we are unable to face yet. As the film The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind shows, "How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot."

Third is the door of madness. At times, the mind is dealt such a blow it creates a new world to hide from the old one. And in this new reality, we can be free of our suffering. Free.

And last is the door of death. The final escape.

Tonight the rains have come and I think of the dead girl, her family, the people she left behind. I don't know her, I don't know her name. I've never met her. Yet I cannot forget. How could they? Does suffering beget more suffering? Did she finally find peace? Too many questions, too little time.


Nomad said...

This reminds me of the book I read by Jay Asher "Thirteen Reasons Why"

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Gina Gao said...

This is a really touching post. Thanks for sharing.

Joe Pereira said...

Beautiful post, tragic and touching. Cases like these upsets me, even though I did not know her or her friends and loved ones. Makes me wish I had gone deeper into psychology in order to help others in similar circumstances. But I didn't.

Anonymous said...

It's the absences and the nothingnesses that comes after that can strain.