This is the first in a series of five posts about my recent attempt to end my life. I’m sharing details and insights from my inpatient and outpatient experiences as well as my ongoing care. Please feel free to comment, but realize I reserve the right to delete anything malicious. And while Michael and I have chosen to be open about the incident I’d prefer anyone who knows my children “in real life” to respect their privacy and let them process this experience their own way, in their own time. I’ll be linking up each Wednesday to Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t Say.
Much of what I remember from Wednesday, January 29th is contentment. It felt good to have made a decision about my life, to have I plan I had the power to carry out. Suicidal thoughts had lingered in the back of my mind for years. Anyone who is in their forties, in constant pain, and has been told the pain will only get worse has had at least a fleeting thought. I never seriously considered it, though, not until that day. I’d always felt suicide was such a selfish act, and so cruel to those left behind.
That day it felt like the perfect solution – the most rational thing to do. My pain would end, I would no longer be such a burden on my family’s time and meager finances, and I wouldn’t be around to see everything fall apart. Because I knew everything would fall apart. We had no money to pay our most basic living expenses, let alone pricey medications and treatments that were only palliative. It felt like I would be freeing my family.
I did some research online, gathered supplies, and wrote a rough draft of my note and funeral directions. I sorted my stockpile of medications, finally selecting an old muscle relaxer I’d filled via mail order and only used a couple of weeks. The app on my phone indicated I’d probably just fall asleep and not wake up. I typed up the final draft of my funeral instructions (including the phone number and price of the cheapest crematorium I could find), and piled necessary supplies on the dining room table. I wrote out the final draft of my letter, stapled it to the front of the funeral directions, and laid it on my bedside table with Michael’s name on it.
I took almost half the bottle of pills – nearly six weeks’ worth. It took two full glasses of wine to get them all down. Michael texted that he’d been able to complete an errand that I’d asked him to run early, and that John’s percussion lesson had been cancelled, so they’d be home sooner than expected. I scrambled to take the rest of the pills in the bottle, and left the empty bottle, with my driver’s license and insurance card, next to the note. As I got sleepier I packed a tote bag with a couple of pairs of pajamas, a toothbrush, and lotion and stapled a post-it to the handle: IN CASE I FAIL. I left it in the pantry and grabbed a couple of towels to cover the bed. I clipped a one-decade rosary around my wrist and fell asleep praying.