Just care enough and be there…

unnamed

Spotted this poster on Facebook today. So true and so well said…. It is so important to keep an eye on the nearest and dearest, talk to them about it and share our experiences…

Just a few months ago we received a note from our children’s college – a young man of their age ended his life. One of my children knew him – he was in the same year…. Then my other son, who lives at the University Hall of residence, mentioned that he decided to become Resident Assistant (RA) so he could help younger students who are struggling… They already had cases of students cutting themselves there…

There were times I just wished I could run away and hide – I was still laughing, I was still joking… Glad there were people in my life who helped me get through it, who helped me find my way…

Feeling depressed or suicidal is not a character defect, flaw or weakness. Lots of people who were experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts have no history of mental illnesses, drugs or alcohol abuse. It is just sometimes people get lost in life and can’t see another way… Listen to them carefully and help them gently to get back onto their feet and find their way…

To make a difference in someone's life, you don't have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care enough and be there. Picture Quote #1

We all can make a difference in someone’s life…

THE END

 

 

Sometimes I just wish, I could run away and hide…

Hiding
From Coach Your Mind

Sometimes I just wish, I could run away and hide.
No matter where I go though, these feelings stay inside.
How can I stay here and live each day a lie,
When all I want to do is close my eyes and die?
I see the pain I cause you, with every tear I shed.
I plead with you now, let me go instead?
I wish I could take you with me, to a happy place,
Whether it exists though, is time for me to face.
Can I ask for your forgiveness? For you to set me free,
It may seem ungrateful, but this life’s not meant for me.
Thank you for all your love, for all the time we shared,
It means the world to me, to know that someone cared.

By Jaclyn

Free
From Set Me Free

* * *

Have you ever had suicidal thoughts? If yes, you’re not alone; many of us have had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives.

Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, and it doesn’t mean that you are crazy, or weak, or flawed. Lots of people who were experiencing suicidal thoughts have no history of mental illnesses, drugs or alcohol abuse.

Humour

From IZquotes

When I started thinking of ending my life, I simply did not see any purpose in existing on this planet. I did not see any way of fitting in with that curious lot, people, who all ‘herd together, trampling on each other’, as Maxim Gorky once said. I felt it was a mistake for me to be born at the first place and just wanted to disappear with no trace, like if I have never ever been on that planet. 

Photo1From DevianArt

People jumping under the trains were a regular occurrence at that time.  Life was tough and lots of people saw no purpose in keeping that miserable existence going.

One of my friends was a train driver. He told me once how that feels to see someone dying under the train. How hard it is to forget the eyes of that person… That did not seem right thing to me. I felt that it was up to me to decide, what I wanted to do with my life. But what right did I have to make other people’s lives more miserable  by making other people see that and leaving them to deal with the remains on the tracks? Leaving no trace – that was the problem…

FaceFrom Shellshock Serenade

I never talked to anyone about my thoughts. I never indicated to anyone what was going in my mind. I was still laughing, constantly reciting my favorite lines from ‘Cynics’ – the book I liked the most at that time. That laughter and those lines – my closest friend could not stand that anymore and pulled me out of town for a few weeks. The ‘Cynics’ were left behind as well as the lines of its main character who did commit suicide in the last chapter of that book…

Photo2From DevianArt

These were probably the most important two weeks in my life. That was the first time in my life when I realised, that if there is no way, I CAN make my OWN WAY. Looking back, I appreciate a lot those people, who helped me to realise that, who did show me that life was still worth living, who did return me my sense of humour… Looking back, I’m glad that I did not disappear without a trace. I’m glad that I’m still on that planet.

However that experience taught me a lot and gave me a good ‘measure’ for everything in life. Every time I had a hard choice in my life, I was thinking: ‘If I go that way or make that choice, will I want to live on that planet afterwards?’. And if the answer was ‘no’, than that option was off the list. That made my life so much simpler.

Photo3From DevianArt

If you are unable to think of solutions other than ending your life, it is not that other solutions don’t exist, but rather that you are currently unable to see them. The intense emotional pain that you’re experiencing right now can distort your thinking so it becomes harder to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support. Talk to a trusted friend or relative, talk to your beloved ones. Give them a chance to help. Alternatively, try anonymous hotline.

Hands

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

Ways to start a conversation about suicide:

  • I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
  • Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.
  • I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.

Questions you can ask:

  • When did you begin feeling like this?
  • Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?
  • How can I best support you right now?

What you can say that helps:

  • You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.
  • You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
  • When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage…

HelpFrom How to Help a Suicidal Friend

If someone close to you committed suicide, don’t blame yourself. People tend to think of what they might have done differently to help prevent the suicide. Being deep in grief makes it hard to think clearly, and you may really believe that you could have stopped your loved one’s suicide with lots of “what ifs”: “What if I had taken her straight home?” “What if I’d gone downstairs and checked on him that night?” “What if I had told her I loved her more?””What if…

Grief1Grief

Coming to a place of acceptance (the final stage of grieving) often goes hand in hand with getting a sense of closure on the actual death. Talking with others who knew the person well or even having some kind of a gathering to talk about the person can be quite healing. Laughing and enjoying life again doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten your loved one. In fact, going on with your life is a wonderful way of honoring your loved one’s memory…

Life
From Suicide is Painful

Resources:

THE END

Th1rteen R3asons Why

Excerpts from the book “Th1rteen R3asons Why” by Jay Asher

13-reasons-whyFrom Thirteen Reasons Why

Hello, boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo…. No return engagements. No encore. And this time, absolutely no requests… I hope you are ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why… 

Reason 1: Justin Foley

JustinF
From 
pixton.com

Every night for a week I woke up in the exact same about-to-be kissed spot. But now, Justin, I would finally be meeting you…. Okay, who out there wants to know my very first thought during my very first kiss? Here it is: Somebody’s been eating chilidogs. I’m sorry. It wasn’t that bad, but it was the first thing I thought…

I was so anxious about what kind of kiss it would be – because my friends back home described so many types… And that’s it. Wait. Stop. Don’t rewind. There’s no need to go back because you didn’t miss a thing. Let me repeat myself. That… is … all… that… happened. Why, did you hear something else? …. Oh. So sorry. You wanted something sexier, didn’t you? … Well, what did you want to hear? Because I’ve heard so many stories that I don’t know which one is the most popular. But I do know which is the least popular. The truth…

So thank you, Justin. Sincerely. My very first kiss was wonderful… But then you started bragging. A week went by and I heard nothing. But eventually… the rumours reached me. And everyone knows you can’t disprove a rumour…

Reason 2: Alex Standall 

Alex1
From pixton.com

I remember sitting in second period the morning your list came out. Ms. Strumm obviously had an amazing weekend because she did absolutely no prep work whatsoever. She had us watch one of her famously dull documentaries…To me, the narrator’s voice was nothing more than background noise. Well, the narrator’s voice… and the whispers.

When I looked up, the whispers stopped. Any eyes looking at me turned away. But I saw that paper getting passed around. A single sheet making its way up and down the aisles. Eventually, it made its way to the desk behind me…

I tilted my head so I could read the upside-down title of the paper: FRESHMAN CLASS – WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT…

Everyone knows Worst Ass in the Freshman Class was a lie… But I’m sure no one cared why Jessica ended up on that side of your list, Alex… Well, no one except you… and me… and Jessica makes three…

You needed a name to put down opposite Jessica’s. And since everyone at school already had a perverted image of me after Justin’s little number, I was the perfect choice, wasn’t I? And the snowball keeps a-rolling. Thanks, Justin….

The day your list came out wasn’t too traumatic. I survived. I knew it was a joke… But what happens when someone says you have the best ass in the freshman class? Let me tell you, Alex, because you’ll never know. It gives people – some people – the go-ahead to treat you like you’re nothing but that specific body part…

Reason 3: Jessica Davis

Jessica
From Thirteen Reasons Why

I still can’t believe that I lost my best friend. I’m so disappointed that she thinks these rumors are true !

Just because of this stupid boy … Alex. It all began with a meeting at Monet’s Garden where Jessica and I first saw him. This idiot wrote a HOT – and NOT-List. He put me on the HOT – and Jessica on the NOT-side, just to make her jealous. How can a person be so mean ? Well, but everybody knows that Jessica is so much prettier than I ! And wow … I was shocked when I heard that somebody spread rumours about Alex and me. The whole school thinks that we made out, Jessica too ! Like I said, these are just rumours. They are N.O.T true. But Jessica got so angry. Imagine, she hit and scratched me in my face, so I will have an ugly scar ! And I thought she was a good friend. But I thought wrong …

Reason 4: Tyler Down 

Tyler
From Thirteen Reasons

I feel so sorry for you, Tyler.  I do. Everyone else on these tapes, so far, must feel a little relieved. They came off as liars or jerks or insecure people lashing out at others. But your story, Tyler… it’s kind of creepy… I’m trying to understand the excitement of staring through someone’s bedroom window. Watching someone who doesn’t know they’re being watched. Trying to catch them in the act of… What were you trying to catch me in the act of, Tyler? And were you disappointed? Or pleasantly surprised?…

Why didn’t you leave me alone, Tyler? My house. My bedroom. They were supposed to be safe for me. Safe from everything outside. But you were the one who took that away….

So how important is your security, Tyler? What about your privacy? May be it’s not as important to you as it was for me, but that’s not for you to decide.

Reason 5: Courtney Crimsen

CourtneyFrom 13 Reasons Why

Courtney Crimsen. What a pretty name. And yes, a very pretty girl, as well. Pretty hair. Pretty smile. Perfect skin…. You’re definitely one of the most popular girls in school. And you…are…just…so…sweet. Right? Wrong…

Thanks for inventing and spreading a story about sex toys in my dresser…. And the snowball keeps a-rolling.

Reason 6: Marcus Cooley

Image2From Thirteen Reasons Why

When Marcus came into Rosie’s, he was not alone. No, Marcus came into Rosie’s with a plan. Part of that plan was to move us away from the counter to a booth near the back. Near the pinball machines. With me on the inside. Me, sandwiched between him… and a wall…

And that’s when his hand touched my knee. That’s when I knew…. I stopped laughing….

“Stop it,” I said. And I know you heard me…

“Don’t worry,” you said, And may be you knew your time was short because your hand immediately slid up from my thigh. All the way up. So I rammed both of my hands into your side, throwing you to the floor…

Anyway, you left. You didn’t storm out. Just called me a tease, loud enough for everyone to hear, and walked out…

The next day, Marcus, I decided something. I decided to find out how people at school might react if one of the students never came back…

Reason 7: Zach Dempsey

ZachFrom Th1rteen R3asons Why

Today was an awful day! I always need to cry when I think of this situation, this most childish of ways to get back at me.

Zach, that stupid guy of my school, stole my notes of encouragement. I still can’t believe it, but it’s true. He took away my last hope and because I’m going through that hard time I really need these little notes. They were at least a small light in my world of darkness.

Now I feel lonelier than ever even because of this discussion in class. Oh, I haven’t told you that yet, have I?

Well, because I was very desperate and hopeless (I’m still desperate) I wrote a small anonymous message to Mrs. Bradley, where I mentioned that I’m thinking of committing suicide.

And today, when she opened the discussion my classmates said, that whoever wrote that just wants attention. I was very offended and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t care. But now… maybe they are right. Maybe I just want people to know I’m thinking of killing myself so they would tell me to stop. I already hear a voice inside my head which tells me to stop, but I can’t.

However, I’m still not sure whether Zach stole my notes because he thought I turned him down at Rosie’s. But he must have understood something wrong, right? I just ignored him and said nothing. I didn’t give him a reason for doing something that bad.

It’s horrible to see how I withdraw into myself. I really don’t want to put the blame on someone. But if they don’t stop killing myself I can’t guarantee anything…

Reason 8: Ryan Shaver 

HannahFrom Thirteen Reasons Why

I loved poetry. I missed it. And one day, after several weeks, I decided to back to it. I decided to use poetry to make myself happy. Happy poems. Bright and happy sunshiny poems…

They taught a free course called Poetry: To Love Life. They promised to teach not only how to love poetry, but through poetry, how to better love ourselves. Sign me up!…

See, someone else was in that group…. Ryan Shaver, the editor of our school’s very own Lost-N-Found Gazette…Ryan’s semiannual collection of items found lying around campus. Like a love letter tossed under a desk, never discovered by its intended love…. Photographs that fell out of binders… he scanned them too. Some people may wonder how Ryan found to many interesting items to scan. Did he really find them at all? Or did he steal them? I asked him that very question after one of our poetry meetings. And he swore that everything he printed was found purely by chance…

But guess what? My Poem? He stole it… It was never a lost poem, Ryan. And you never fount it, so it did not belong in your collection.  But in your collection is exactly where other people found it…

Do you know that Mr. Porter said before handing out my poem? He said that reading a poem by an unknown member of our school was the same as reading a classic poem by a dead poet. That’s right – a dead poet. … Did you have any clue at all it was me? Yes, some of you did. Ryan must have told someone…Some even wrote parodies of my poem, reading them to me in the hopes of getting under my skin…

Reason 9: Clay Jensen

Clay
From pixton.com

Clay, honey, your name does not belong on this list…. It seems like you could know me. Like you could understand anything I told you. And the more we spoke, I knew why. The same things excited us. The same things concerned us. I wanted to tell you everything. And that hurt because some things were too scary. Some things even I didn’t understand. How could I tell someone – someone I was really talking to for the first time – everything I was thinking? I couldn’t. It was too soon. Or maybe it was too late…. Thing had gone too far by then. My mind was set. Not on ending my life. Not yet. It was set on floating through school. On never being close to anyone. That was my plan.

Reason 10: Justin Foley and Bryce Walker
Bryce
From pixton.com

Soon after Clay left, the couple from the couch walked into the bedroom. Actually, stumbled into the bedroom is more accurate… I thought she was acting drunk… Unfortunately, it wasn’t an act. She was smashed… I was still on the floor, my back against the far side of the bed, and it was dark… I thought he would tuck her in and shut the door behind him as he left… Instead of leaving, he started kissing her…. He didn’t take advantage of the situation. He wanted to. He tried for the longest time to get a reaction out of her. “Are you still awake? Do you want me to take you to the bathroom? Are you gonna puke?” This girl wasn’t totally passed out. She grunted and groaned a bit. It dawned on him – finally – that she wasn’t in a romantic mood and probably wouldn’t be for a while. So he tucked her in and said he’d check on her in a bit. Then he left…

When you left that room, you took up post right outside. And I let go of the bed and started walking toward that sliver of light, not sure what I’d say to you when I opened the door. But halfway there, two more shoes came into view… and I stopped…. The door opened, but you pulled it back and said, “No. Let her rest.” … Your friend was convincing you to let him in that room. The bedroom door opened again. But again, you pulled it shut. And you tried to make a joke of it. “Trust me,” you said, “she won’t move. She’ll just lay there.”

And what was his response? What was it? What was his reasoning for you to step aside and let him in that room?… I could not believe it… I collapsed into the closet….

It’s Bryce… Bryce Walker was in that room. No one heard him walking across the room… Getting on the bed. The bedsprings screaming under his weight. No one heard a thing…

Justin, baby, I’m not blaming you entirely. We’re in this one together. We both could have stopped it. Either one of us. We could have saved her. … This girl had two chances. And both of us let her down… He raped a girl…

So what do you think of him now, Justin? Do you hate him? Your friend that raped her, is he still your friend? Yes, but why? It must be a denial. It has to be. Sure, he’s always had a temper. Sure, he goes through girls like used underwear. But he’s always been a good friend to you. And the more you hang out with him, the more he seems like the same old guy from before, right? And if he acts like the same guy, then he couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong. Which means that you didn’t do anything wrong, either…

Reason 11: Jenny Kurtz 

JennyFrom Thirteen Reasons Why

Jenny asked if I needed a ride home, and I almost laughed. Was it so obvious? Did I look that terrible? So I looped my arm in hers and she helped me… So, Jenny, you led me to your car… You held me arm with such tenderness as you lowered me into the passenger seat. You buckled me in, got in your seat, then we left…What happened next, I’m not entirely sure. I wasn’t paying attention because , in your car, I felt secure…

And then … it hit…. The front wheel on my side slammed into and jumped the curb. A wooden post smacked into your front bumper and snapped back like a toothpick. A Stop sign fell backward in front of your headlights. It caught under your car and you screamed and slammed on the brakes…

Your door opened and I watched you walk to the front of your car… And what were the first words you said when you got back in the car? “Well, that sucks.” Then you put your key in the ignition and … I stopped you. I couldn’t let you drive away…

Again, I told you to park the car. We’d get a ride home from someone at the party… “Park it,” I said. “Please.” And then you told me to get out…. I asked if I could use your phone. … “We need to at least tell someone about the sign,” I said. You kept your eyes straight ahead. “They’ll trace it. They can trace phone calls, Hannah.” Then you started up the car… and you got away….

You found your way home in one piece, Jenny. But that wasn’t he problem. The sign was knocked down, and that was the problem…. It was raining. And someone was trying to deliver his pizzas on time. And someone else, headed in the opposite direction, was turning. There was no Stop sign on that corner. Not on that night. And one of them, one of the drivers, died…

Reason 12: Bryce Walker

Bruce
From Th1rteen R3asons Why

After being shut in for so long, I decided to catch a breath of fresh air…. My plan was to just walk by the place… And then, someone called my name. Over the tall wooden fence,… a head poked up. And whose head would that be? Bryce Walker’s…

“Come on, join us,” he said. “We’re sobering up.”…

I walked across the wet grass and pulled a latch on the fence, popping the gate open a few inches. And behind it, the source of the steam… a redwood hot tub…

I descended into the water. It felt so relaxing. So comforting…. I opened my eyes and looked up at the night sky. Through the steam, the whole world seemed like a dream…

Bryce slid over… slowly… across the underwater bench. And his shoulder rested against mine….

Bryce’s words were soft, an obvious attempt at romance. “Hannah Baker,” he said.

Everyone knows how you are, Bryce. Everyone knows what you do. But I, for a record, did nothing to stop you…

When you were done, Bryce, I got out of the hot tub and walked two houses away. The night was over. I was done.

Reason 13: Mr. Porter

Mr Porter
From pixton.com

I’m giving live one more chance. And this time, I’m getting help. I’m asking for help because I cannot do this alone. I’ve tried that…

Mr. Porter, let’s see how you do…

–       I’m glad that you’re here, Hannah. So tell me, when you leave this office, how do you want things to be different for you?

–       You mean, how can you help?

–       Yes.

–       I guess I … I don’t know…

–       Well, what do you need right now that you’re not getting? Let’s start there.

–       I need it to stop.

–       You need what to stop?

–       I need everything to stop. People. Life.

–       Hannah, do you know what you just said? You said you wanted life to stop, Hannah. Your life? Is that what you meant to say, Hannah? Those are very serious words, you know.

–       I know. They are. I’m sorry….

–       So what happened, Hannah? How did we get here?

–       We? Or how did I get here?

–       You, Hannah. How did you get to this point? I know you can’t sum it all up. It’s the snowball effect, am I right?… It’s one thing on top of another. It’s too much, isn’t it? It’s too hard…

–       You want me to move beyond this… I think I’m done here… I got what I came for…

–       I think there’s more we can talk about, Hannah.

–       No, I think we’ve figured it out. I need to move on and get over it.

–       Not get over it, Hannah. But sometimes there’s nothing left to do but move on.

–       You are right. I know.

–       Hannah, I don’t understand why you’re in such a hurry to leave.

–       Because I need to get on with things, Mr. Porter. If nothing’s going to change, then I’d better get on with it, right?

–       Hannah, what are you talking about?

–       I’m talking about my life, Mr. Porter.

–       Hannah, wait.

I’m walking down the hall. His door is closed behind me. It’s staying closed. He’s not coming. He’s letting me go. I think I’ve made myself very clear, but no one’s stepping forward to stop me. A lot of you cared, just not enough. And that… that is what I needed to find out. And I did find out. And I’m sorry…

im-sorryFrom Thirteen Reasons Why

* * *

About
From KidsHealth

The reasons behind a teen’s suicide or attempted suicide can be complex. Although suicide is relatively rare among children, the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases tremendously during adolescence.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, after accidents and homicide. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide.

Suicide rates differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, perhaps because they tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, hanging, or jumping from heights.

It can be hard to remember how it felt to be a teen, caught in that gray area between childhood and adulthood. Sure, it’s a time of tremendous possibility but it also can be a period of stress and worry. There’s pressure to fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly.

Adolescence is also a time of sexual identity and relationships and a need for independence that often conflicts with the rules and expectations set by others.

Teens going through major life changes (parents’ divorce, moving, a parent leaving home due to military service or parental separation, financial changes) and those who are victims of bullying are at greater risk of suicidal thoughts.

Warning Signs

Suicide among teens often occurs following a stressful life event, such as problems at school, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a major family conflict.

Teens who are thinking about suicide might:

  • talk about suicide or death in general
  • give hints that they might not be around anymore
  • talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
  • pull away from friends or family
  • write songs, poems, or letters about death, separation, and loss
  • start giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends
  • lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
  • have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
  • experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • engage in risk-taking behaviors
  • lose interest in school or sports

What Can Parents Do?

1. Watch and Listen

It’s important to try to keep the lines of communication open and express your concern, support, and love. If your teen confides in you, show that you take those concerns seriously. A fight with a friend might not seem like a big deal to you in the larger scheme of things, but for a teen it can feel immense and consuming. It’s important not to minimize or discount what your teen is going through, as this can increase his or her sense of hopelessness.

If your teen doesn’t feel comfortable talking with you, suggest a more neutral person, such as another relative, a clergy member, a coach, a school counselor, or your child’s doctor.

2. Ask Questions

Some parents are reluctant to ask teens if they have been thinking about suicide or hurting themselves. Some fear that by asking, they will plant the idea of suicide in their teen’s head.

It’s always a good idea to ask, even though doing so can be difficult. Sometimes it helps to explain why you’re asking. For instance, you might say: “I’ve noticed that you’ve been talking a lot about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts about trying to kill yourself?”

3. Get Help

If you learn that your child is thinking about suicide, get help immediately. Also remember that ongoing conflicts between a parent and child can fuel the fire for a teen who is feeling isolated, misunderstood, devalued, or suicidal. Get help to air family problems and resolve them in a constructive way.

From About Teen Suicide

Poster
From Take a Stand

THE END

A meek one…

from “A writer’s Diary”
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
(1876)

( Photo by Michael Tarasov )
      It was she who just started coming to me then to pawn some things. … She was so delicate and blonde, a little taller than average; she was always a little awkward with me, as if she was embarrassed. … As soon as she got her money she would turn around and leave at once. And never a word…What struck me first were the things she brought: cheap silver-plated earrings, a trashy little locket – twenty kopecks was all she’d get. And she herself knew they were worth next to nothing, but I could tell by her face that to her they were treasures. And sure enough, as I learned later, these were the only things she had left from mommy and daddy…She seemed terribly young, so young she might have been fourteen. Whereas in actual fact she was only a few months short of sixteen….At that time she was using her last resources on advertisements, and of course these were a bit presumptuous at least at first: “Governess, willing to travel. Submit offers by return mail.” But later: “Willing to accept any work: teach, serve as companion, manage household, nurse an invalid lady; have sewing skills” and so on – you know what it is! Of course, all these latter things were added to the advertisements bit by bit, while at last, when she had  reached the  point of despair, they would read: “Willing to work without salary, for board alone.”…

And so it was that she came in two days later, so pale and upset – I realized that something must have happened at home, and something really had happened. … The fact was that she had brought this icon… It was an image of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin with the Infant Jesus – an ancient, family household icon in a silver, gilded frame… I could see that the icon meant a lot to her, and she was pawning it all, frame included…

When she left I at once made my decision. That same day I went off on my final investigation and learned the remaining facts about her, right down to the most intimate details of her current life. I had learned her earlier history from Lukeria, who was than their servant and whom I had bribed several days before. …

Her father and mother had died some time ago…, and she had been left in the charge of some aunts whose way of life was rather improper; in fact, “improper” is not a strong enough word to describe them. One aunt was a widow with a large family – six little children, all close in age; the other aunt, a spinster, was a nasty old piece of work. They were both nasty, in fact. Her father had been a minor civil servant, a copying clerk who had only personal, but not hereditary, nobility. In short, the whole situation suited me to a tee. I appeared as if from another, higher world: I was still a retired junior captain from a renowned regiment, a nobleman by birth, of independent means, and so on, and as far as the pawnshop was concerned, the aunts could only look upon that with respect.

She had been enslaved to the aunts for three years, but still had managed to qualify, snatching moments from her merciless daily labor, and that signified something of her striving for what was sublime and noble! … To put it plainly, they even beat her and reproached her for every crust of bread. It ended by their planning to sell her. …

A fat shopkeeper in the neighborhood had watched the whole thing for a year…. He had already driven two wives to their graves with his beatings, and now he was looking for a third. His eye fell on her. … He started courting her and negotiating with the aunts. On top of everything else, he was a man of fifty; she was horrified.  It was at this point that she started coming to me to get money for the advertisements in The Voice. At last she began pleading with the aunts to give her just a tiny bit of time to think the matter over. They allowed her a little time, but only a little, and kept nagging at her: “We don’t know where our next meal is coming from ourselves, never mind having an extra mouth to feed.”…

I called Lukeria from the kitchen and told her to go back and whisper that I was at the gate with something urgent to tell her. I was pleased with myself… Right there at the gate, with Lukeria standing by, I explained to her… : “I’m a straightforward man, and I know the circumstances of your case.”…  I told her plainly that she would have enough food to eat, but there would be no fine dresses, theatre, or balls… Of course, I didn’t say a single word to her then about my doing her a good deed. On the contrary, quite on the contrary: “It is I,” I said, “who is the beneficiary here, and not you.” … She stood there by the gate and thought for a long time before she said, “Yes.” …

I remember Lukeria running out after me as I was leaving, stopping me on the road and saying, all in a rush: “God will reward you, sir, for taking our dear miss! Only don’t tell her that; she’s such a proud one.”…

A proud one, indeed! “I like those proud ones,” I thought. Proud women are especially beautiful when … well, when you have no more doubts about your power over them, isn’t it so?…

Oh, the filth! Oh, the filth I rescued her from then! Why, she must have understood that and appreciated what I did! There were other ideas I savored as well. For example: I’m forty-one, and she’s only sixteen. That was alluring, that feeling of inequality; a thing like that is delectable, very delectable.

Right from the start, despite some attempt at restraint, she rushed to meet me with love, she would greet me with delight when I visited her in the evening, she would babble on (that charming, innocent babble of hers) about her childhood, her earliest years, her parents’ home, her father and mother. But I at once threw cold water on all this rapture of hers. That was just my plan, you see. When she was elated, I would respond with silence – a benevolent silence, of course … but still she would quickly see that we were two very different people and that I was an enigma. And my main point was to keep working at the enigma!  Maybe it was just for the sake of solving an enigma that I did this whole stupid thing! Strictness, in the first place. It was strictness when I brought her into my house. In short, while I went on with my daily round, quite satisfied, I created a whole system. Oh, it happend without any effort and just sprang up on its own….

So I at once set to work on the issue of money. I stressed the money question. And I stressed it so much that she began more and more to keep silent. She would open her big eyes, listen to me, look at me, and not say a word….

When I took her into my home I wanted complete respect. I wanted her to stand before me in ardent homage… Oh, I was always proud; I always wanted all or nothing. …

At first she would argue. And how she argued! But then she began to keep quiet, and at last she wouldn’t say a word; only she would open her eyes as wide as could be while she listened, such big, big eyes, full of attention. And … and apart from that  I suddenly noticed a smile, a skeptical, silent, unpleasant smile. And so it was with this smile that I brought her into my house. It’s true, of course, that she had nowhere else to go…

True enough, it was I who insisted on the silence, not she. Once or twice she had fits of affection when she rushed to embrace me but since these outbursts of hers were unhealthy and hysterical, while I needed happiness that was solid, with respect from her, I reacted coldly. And I was right: the day after every outburst we would have a quarrel.

They weren’t really quarrels, I mean, but there was silence, and it took on a more and more insolent manner on her part…  Yes, that gentle face of hers grew more and more insolent. Believe it or not, she began to find me obnoxious; I could tell that…. It wasn’t poverty that bothered her, it was my supposed stinginess in housekeeping… She herself suddenly refused to go to the theatre. And that mocking look of hers became more and more obvious… while I made my silence more and more intense.

Let me explain: I knew that a female, and especially a girl of sixteen, could do nothing other than submit completely to her husband. Women have no originality: why, that’s an axiom…

The quarrels started because she suddenly took it into her head to loan money on her own terms and to appraise articles at higher than their real value. Twice she even presumed to quarrel with me on the topic…

I spoke mildly but firmly and reasonably to her. She was sitting on the bed, looking at the floor, flicking her right toe against the carpet; a nasty smile played on her lips. Then, without raising my voice at all, I stated calmly that the money was mine, that I had the right to regard life through my eyes, and that when I brought her into my house I had hidden nothing from her…

Suddenly she jumped to her feet, all a-tremble, and – can you believe it? – suddenly started stamping her feet at me. She was a wild beast… I had never expected antics like this. But I kept my head and didn’t even make a move; once more, in the same calm voice as before, I told her plainly that henceforth I would let her have no more part in my business affairs. She laughed in my face and walked out of the apartment…

The fact is, she did not have the right to walk out of the apartment. Nowhere without me: such was the agreement made before we married. She came back toward evening; I didn’t say a word. …

After I had tea I closed the shop, went to the market, and bought an iron bedstead and a screen. On returning home, I had the bed set up in the anteroom with the screen around it. This was a bed for her, but I said not a word to her about it. She needed no words to understand… the marriage was dissolved, she was “vanquished, but not forgiven.”

During the night, she became delirious, and by morning had developed a high fever. She was in bed for six weeks…. We looked after her day and night for the six weeks of her illness – I, Lukeria, and a trained nurse whom I hired from the hospital. I didn’t begrudge the money and even wanted to spend it on her. I called in Dr. Schroeder and paid him ten rubles per visit. When she regained consciousness I spent less time around her… When she was completely oh her feet again, she quitely and without a word sat herself down in my room at a special table which I had also bought for her at that time… Yes, it’s true: we said not a word to one another. Well, actually, we did begin speaking later on, but only about quite ordinary things….

That winter I deliberately did several good deeds. I forgave two loans; I loaned money to one poor woman without a pawn. And I said nothing to my wife about it, and did not do it in order for her to find out; but the old woman herself came to thank me almost on her knees. And so the deed became known. I think that my wife truly was pleased to learn about the old woman….

Some time after four o-clock on a bright, sunny day in April, I was sitting in the shop checking my accounts. Suddenly I heard her, sitting in our room and working at her table, begin ever so softly … to sing. This new event surprised me enormously, and even now I do not understand it. Previously I had scarcely ever heard her sing – oh, perhaps in the very first days after I brought her home, when we still could rollick about, target shooting with the pistol. Then her voice was still quite strong and clear, although not always true, but very pleasant and sound. But now her little song was so weak… it was as if something in her voice had cracked and broken, as if her little voice could not cope any more, as if the song itself were ill…

Completely shocked, I remained at my place for a time; then I suddenly rose, took my hat, and went out, scarcely knowing what I was doing. At least I didn’t know where I was going and why. Lukeria came to help me with my overcoat.
“She’s singing?” I couldn’t help but ask Lukeria. She did not understand and looked at me, still uncomprehending…
“Is that the first time she’s been singing?”
“No, she sometimes sings when you’re not home,” Lukeria answered….

The poor, cracked broken note began to ring in my soul once more. I could scarcely catch my breath. The shroud was falling from my eyes! Is she could start singing in my presence, it meant she had forgotten about me – that was clear and that was dreadful. …

I ran up the stairs in a great rush… I came into the room; she was sitting in her usual place sewing, her head bent over her work. but wasn’t singing any more. She cast a passing, uncurious glance at me; in fact, it was not a glance but merely an instinctive and indifferent gesture, the kind directed at anyone who enters a room.

I made straight for her and took a chair close beside her, like one scarcely in his right mind. She glanced quickly at me, as if taking fright; I took her hand and don’t recall what I said to her – or rather, what I tried to say to her, because I couldn’t even speak properly… I was gasping for breath…

“Let’s talk … you know .. say something to me!” I babbled something stupid. How could I collect my thoughts? She shuddered and drew back in great fear, staring at my face. But suddenly I could see stern amazement in her eyes. Amazement, yes, and it was stern. She looked at me wide-eyed. This sternness, this stern amazement was like a blow that shattered my skull. “So is it still love you want? Is it love?” This was what her amazed expression seemed to be asking me, although she still didn’t say a word. But I could read everything, absolutely everything. I felt a tremor pass through my whole being and I simply collapsed at her feet. Yes, I fell down at her feet… I kissed her feet in happiness, in ecstasy…I didn’t leave her the whole evening. I kept telling her that I would take her to Boulogne to bathe in the sea – right away, this moment, in other day; that I would close the shop…; that everything would begin anew…. She listened, growing more frightened all the while… She wept. “And I thought you would just let me go on like that.” This burst forth from her involuntarily, so much so that perhaps she wasn’t even aware of saying it….Lukeria says… that after I left the house, and only some twenty minures before I came back, she suddenly went to the mistress in our room to ask something… and noticed that her icon (that same icon of the Virgin Mary) had been removed from the icon case and was standing before her on the table; the mistress, it seemed, has just been praying before it.
“What is it, ma’am?”
“It’s nothing, Lukeria, you may go… Wait, Lukeria.”
She came up to Lukeria and kissed her.
“Are you happy, ma’am?” Lukeria asked.
“Yes, Lukeria.”
“The master should have come to ask your forgiveness a long time ago, ma’am. Thanks be to God you’ve made it up.”
“That’s fine, Lukeria,” She said. “You may go now.”
And she smiled, but oddly somehow…
I looked at her, turned and went out on tiptoe, wondering about her. But suddenly I heard the window open. Right away I went in to tell her that it was still cool outside and she might catch a cold if she wasn’t careful. And I saw that she’d climbed up on the windowsill and was standing upright in the open window, her back to me, holding the icon. My heart just sank inside me, and I shouted “Ma’am, ma’am!” She heard me and made a move as if to turn toward me, but didn’t . She took a step, pressed the icon to her bosom, and leapt out the window!”I remember only that when I came through the gate she was still warm… and she was lying there with the icon.

( Photo by Kino       )
   
THE END
* * *

“The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide… A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.”

(From “Spotting the Signs and Helping a Suicidal Person” )