My initial thought was how awful that must’ve been for everyone involved–including everyone who saw her plummeting to her death and anyone who may have found her body. Then I thought about how lost, hopeless, and depressed she must’ve felt to go to such extremes. My heart sank into my gut as I wondered who was missing her that very moment; if she had kids; if her family and friends missed her; and how they’d react when they found out. I wondered if she regretted it the moment her feet left the blue, pipe railing. Then I turned inward.
Two days prior to this incident, I thought about jumping from that same bridge. And that wasn’t the first time I thought about it. It’s crossed my mind at least a dozen times. I know that pain. I’ve had those thoughts–but my car hasn’t stopped there–and my feet haven’t touched that bridge. I can’t say I know why. Has God been watching over me? Maybe. Have the prayers of strangers and loved ones been protecting me? Maybe. But what about that woman? Who was watching her? Who was protecting her? How was she able to put one foot in front of the other for the last time?
I won’t lie–part of me thought she was brave. Part of me was jealous. Part of me wished I could take her place. Then I looked further inward.
I don’t know anything about that woman: her life, her struggles, her mind, her heart, her soul. I don’t know what led her to jump; if that was the first time she thought of it; or if she’d been contemplating it for a long time. I don’t know if she was mentally ill, deeply depressed, strung out on drugs, or just battling some demons. I don’t know if she had anyone in her life who cared about her, knew of her struggles, or tried to help. The only thing I knew was I could relate–and that made me feel horrible. To think anyone could think or feel the way I have makes me sad.
Going further inward, I began to think of people who’ve been in my life and how it may affect them. I can’t say I know for sure but I know it’d kill my mom, and I couldn’t do that to her. I know some others would be devastated, and I wouldn’t want to hurt them, either.
Even as I type this (or as you read it) you may not have ever known any of this about me–even if you know me or are acquainted with me in some capacity. You may not know my sufferings–just like I don’t know what that woman went through or what you may go/ have gone through in your life. But I admit and understand that pain and I feel for all who can relate. I pray God protects others the way He has me. I pray God uses the prayers of strangers to intercede on the behalf of the lost, hopeless, and depressed. I pray we all become aware of the sufferings of each other and it affects us in some way.
Mother Teresa said “Let us not live distracted lives. Let us know ourselves so that we can better understand our brothers and sisters. If we want to understand those with whom we live, we need to understand ourselves first of all. Sometimes we see how joy returns to the lives of the most destitute when they realize that many among us are concerned about them and show them our love. Even their health improves if they are sick. After all, was it not Christ who said “Every time you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me?” You are not to be indifferent to the suffering of others, but it is meant to deeply affect you.”
As I sit in my chair, fully aware of my feelings, I am overcome with gratitude for the few who know my struggles and show genuine care and concern. They are the reason I am able to type this. Thank you for the joy you bring. I love you.
May God help us all to be mindful of the sufferings of others, sensitive to it, and deeply affected by it. May God help us love each other the way He loves us. May we all be reasons no one else takes that jump.