As Christmas drew near in 1997 clouds obscured the moon, rain fell in frozen drops, people repaired to their homes and the topography of my life was forever altered. For reasons known but to her and to her God my intelligent, talented, beautiful, demure and troubled wife Jody killed herself.
I knew something of the demons that preyed upon Jody. I was aware of some of the childhood memories that tormented her. I understood the things about her that I was capable of understanding. I loved her. I supported her in the ways that she allowed me to support her. I failed her in the large and small ways that humans often fail the ones that they love. We loved and cared for one another in the manner that each of us could.
Psychology, Psychiatry, Theology and Sociology, if I were to study them, would expand my intellectual understanding of suicide. The causes of suicidal behavior may become clear to me one day but it does not seem likely that I will ever find a satisfactory answer to the more cerebral question: "Why?"
Suicide brings to the survivor losses that lie beyond the passing of his loved one. Some of my most cherished hopes, ideas and aspirations went to the grave with my beloved Jody. I forgive her for taking from me some of the pleasant fictions upon which I had based my hopes
I forgive Jody. As sure as the sun rises in the east I forgive her for ending her life. I forgive her because there is immense value in forgiveness. I forgive her because I knew her well and can concede that her soul was wrapped in more chain than it could swim with.
As thoroughly as I forgive her I cannot pardon her. She did, after all is said and done, murder my wife. In this soul crushing story the victim and the perpetrator are one and the same.
So I rise each day at first light. I stop for coffee, the newspaper and a pack of cigarettes. I go to work. I put on a "face to meet the faces that I meet". I return home. I read, sleep and prepare to repeat the process when the next day arrives.
And I pray that Jody rests in the lap of the Lord happy, joyous and free..
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