Things That Can’t Be Unseen

23 Oct

Thursday morning, at 6:15 AM, I watched a woman jump from a bridge in the hazy darkness just before dawn and end her life.

I thought about a lot of things the past few days.

  • How I wish I could have spoken to her.  Or someone could have spoken to her.  And how I don’t think that’s a selfish prideful “I could have changed her mind” but a compassionate “I wish someone had reached out.” Maybe it could have ended differently.
  • I thought about how beautiful a day Thursday was when the sun finally came up.  When policeman weren’t standing on the bridge peering into the dark waters with flashlights.  How when the sun came up, it was unseasonably warm and bright and she never got to see that.
  • I thought about how at 6:16 AM I was screaming and inconsolable.  As were the other eyewitnesses.  And how at 7:16 AM I was greeting my employees as they walked through the door and trying to make them smile.  Things change so quickly.  I wished that someone, somewhere, had once greeted her when she walked through a door.
  • I thought about my family and my friends and my church.  And how I would be identified and grieved were I to go missing.  It’s been a few days and no has identified her yet.  No name, no identify, no story.
  • I read some horrible things these past few days – people still upset at the inconvenience of someone committing suicide right before rush hour traffic.  It’s a lot more than inconvenient.  It’s tragic and sad and all wrong. But the fact that it delayed someone’s commute – well, that’s not even worth discussing.
There are things in life I wish I’d never seen.  This tops the list.  But whether or not I saw it, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that it happened.
One of the policemen said “Whenever that happens, I always feel like we somehow failed them.”
That’s exactly how I felt.  That I’d failed someone I never met and didn’t know I should meet.  That maybe, the things left undone and the things left unsaid and the people left unloved are much more important than we think they are.  And that if there was more “done” and “said” and “loved” that maybe there would be less things seen or unseen that should never have existed at all.
There are things we don’t want to see.  But turning away from them doesn’t make them any less real.
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