I often catch myself looking up at your bedroom window, wondering why you took your life. The view of your house and that dreadful room is unavoidable, as it sits directly across from mine. Every day as I pass through my home, your bedroom window is there, staring at me. A constant reminder of a life cut short.
As I peer upward to the place where you took your last breath, I wonder what was going on in your mind. What caused you to make that final, irreversible decision?
We were going to invite you over for Christmas dinner that year, but we got busy and forgot to ask. A week later, your body was carried from your home.
I’m sorry for not asking you to come to dinner. We should have. I’m sorry that we got so busy and forgot. I don’t know if it would have made a difference or not. Maybe you had already made up your mind.
For a year, we watched you stroll from your car to your house. For a year, we stopped to talk with you and had good neighborly conversations. For a year, we had no idea that there was anything wrong. You would smile and laugh while we talked together. You were always very friendly, never angry or visibly sad. There were no red flags to be seen, no distance in your voice and no darkness in your eyes. We had no clue that you were hurting.
No one did, not even your family. Not until the end. You left a message for your sister on her answering machine the night before. A message she received too late. You didn’t mention your plan, but your words were enough to convince her of what you had done. Her fears led her to your house, where she found your lifeless body.
In that window across from where I stand, you took your last breath. Why?
What causes a person to lose all hope? What causes them to give up?
What could be done to change their mind? Anything? Where have we, as fellow human beings, failed? Do we not show enough compassion and love toward each other? Are we too busy with our own lives to pay attention to those around us? Are we so caught up with our own problems, that we forget that others have problems too?
The window across from me is a constant reminder of the suffering that so many people endure. It is a constant reminder that our life is not only about us. It is also about others.