Monday, August 16, 2010

Yes, Virginia, moms do kill themselves sometimes.

Yes, this is a true story. Yes, I knew her.

She was going off the deep end. She thought she was hiding it.

Katy* had always struggled with depression, and her husband knew this going into the marriage. What neither of them realized was how the isolation, tedium, and stress of stay-at-home parenting would push her over the edge.

She was a great mom - loving, devoted, returning early from a girls' night out to help bathe her son and put him to bed. She was a great friend - always there with a kind word, an offer of help.

She shot herself in the middle of the woods, on a day when their dad had custody.

They were already months into divorce proceedings, and the day before, she had suddenly walked into the lawyer's office, retracted everything bad she had ever said about him, and granted him full custody.

She took her dog with her, her best friend for a decade. She shot her dog first.

Towards the end, nobody was paying attention, because she had pushed them all away. When she decided that suicide was the only way left to end her pain, she quite deliberately started a campaign of antagonism to her friends. No, she didn't want to come over. And by the way, that thing you said the other day? That was really offensive. She's not sure she still wants to be friends with someone who could say that.

It's too bad, too. Because friends can see things, even when they tell themselves not to. And friends can step in and do something, even if they can't do it all. Now, two children are growing up without a mother. A family has lost a daughter, a sister. And a community of mothers is wondering how in the hell this could have happened, and why they couldn't stop it.

It doesn't have to be this way.

If you know someone like Katy, speak up. Ask her how she's doing. Make sure she's getting the help she needs. Depression sucks. Postpartum depression really sucks. And being a mom isn't easy. Let's help each other, ok?

*Not her real name, for obvious reasons


Blogger Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

The first funeral I ever attended was for the father of a close friend of mine, a rabbi, who had committed suicide. I realize that those who are contemplating suicide are already in a place of severe suffering, but having seen first-hand the sheer amount of pain, hurt, and guilt that it caused the family (who are still dealing with it), I hope that those in such a mental space will think of their families before they act.

8/16/2010 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Minnesota Mamaleh said...

i have chills. the bad kind. this was beautifully written and so, so IMPORTANT. thank you for sharing this sad, scary story.

8/27/2010 5:01 PM  

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