My sister killed herself this year.
It was a planned meticulously carried out almost peaceful suicide. Her very last written words were ” I hate my life. I’m leaving”
She suffered terribly, especially these last few years. It would be easy to talk about her obvious mental health issues- the hammer she took to all her relationships-her purposeful isolation from family, her purposeful destruction of her marriage, her purposeful pushing away of everyone- she smashed it all.
She set up an auto post on a blog she started after her divorce which published after her death –
A post called “Some things are cumulative… ” with links to multiple articles about what happens to rape victims who never heal.
While all this explains a lot of the whys none of it much matters to me. From this angle it reduces her to a sad statistic, another of the endless statements about the damage humans do to each other and themselves, blah, blah, blah.
I’m not sure talking about who she was is useful either though it matters to me . I sit and talk to her by this creek every day. I talk to the fearless tree climber. I watch her catch fish after fish, I listen to her giggle , tell stupid jokes, and remember how she sat down to a piano and pounded out Beethoven by ear.
None of it means anything in the end. She’s gone and I know she’s gone.
What does matter is that conversation about sexual violence is in the news now .
Victim blaming, victim shaming, nasty sickening mob feeding frenzy garbage seeking to normalize assault as “locker room banter” and paint women who speak up as political operatives.
My sister was attacked at least four times. Four times some pig hurt her. (I say pig because real men don’t do things like that.) Four times some pig overpowered and harmed her- once with a gun.
She finally broke. She couldn’t do it anymore.
And we owe her, all of us, we owe her, we owe all women dignity and respect and real safety. Period.
Screw the games and bickering and blaming- we owe women dignity, respect and real safety.
Til then, we :
“…now, lifting him up, in his coffin, on our shoulders,
now at least we know how much he didn’t have,
that we did not help him in his life on earth.
Now it dawns on us we are taking on
all that we never gave him, and now it is late;
he weighs on us, and we cannot take his weight.
How many people does our dead one weight?
He weighs as much as this world does, and we go on
taking this dead one on our shoulders.”
from Pablo Neruda’s To The Dead Poor Man