A Sobering Moment
Mr. MPB and I went out to run some errands the other day. A route we rarely take, to a destination we rarely go to.
We were driving on a busy 6 lane freeway during rush hour.
We noticed a young women on a pedestrian bridge.
We saw her stop and place one leg on the wrong side of the railing.
I called 911.
We just saw a girl on a bridge. It didn’t look right. I’m not sure, maybe she’s just sitting, but maybe she’s not. Please send someone. No, we couldn’t stop, it wasn’t safe. Should we go back?
We couldn’t safely stop so we pulled off at the next exit.
The 911 operator took my information and informed me that they had multiple calls now coming in about the same location. We were told not to go back as there was really no safe way for us to get there. If they needed more information they’d call.
According to the radio, the road was shut down for hours. And started to realize what this meant. It was not an innocent act.
I received a phone call from a police officer while a few hours later while we were out to dinner (an attempt to put the event out of our minds). The officer called from the scene, his words rang clear and loud.
The girl jumped. She died. A significant car accident followed. Please provide formal statements as you are the only one who saw anything before she jumped – what side of the bridge did she jump from, was anyone with her, what time, how fast were you going, etc.
When the officer said the girl jumped, I felt physically sick. As he continued on, I had tears swelling in my eyes.
We now realize we saw the last moment’s of this girl’s life. It was probably 10-20 seconds after we drove by that she jumped.
We didn’t help.
We weren’t able to.
Honestly, part of me is grateful that we saw her while she was still alive. I have the imagine of her alive burned into my mind, and not the image of the aftermath.
I’m thankful that we didn’t cross under that bridge 20 or 30 seconds later.
I’m selfishly grateful.
I think what bothers me even more then the fact that this girl took her own life and that we didn’t/couldn’t help, is that her actions have profoundly impacted others who were in the wrong place at the right time. Someone is now dealing with knowing she used their car to kill herself. Multiple people suffered injuries when their cars rear ended the ones in front of them. Heck, even I am feeling guilt – if only we could have stopped, maybe we could have talked her out of it, and if nothing else we could have tried to stopped traffic safely and spared someone the pure agony they are now facing.
I know rationally that we could not have done anything. And as the police officer and victim services have said to me, this is what she wanted and there really is nothing we could have done.
But yet, I sit here with tears in my eye and pure sorrow in my heart for a young girl and her family that I’ve never met but I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
But here’s the thing that really has me thinking today. It is a sad reality that people are suffering so much that the only option they can see is suicide.
Yes, I’ve had bad days, and I’ve probably had more then my fair share. I remember a few specific times as a teenager where life was pretty bad for me. I remember the day my mom and sister died like it was yesterday. I remember the moments of watching our babies slowly die and I always will. I remember the fighting with my dad that just broke my heart. I remember being lost in a sea of emotions learning that we probably will never have a successful pregnancy due to issues with my body beyond our control. These moments were the worst of my life. But not once in my life have I ever been so lonely, or so hurt, or so scared that I saw no hope. Not once has my life been so bleak that I needed the pain to stop at any cost.
Instead, I’ve always known how to find support when I’ve needed it. I’ve even learned to ask for help from time to time.
As a teenager I had the desire to make my mom and sister proud to keep me going. Today I have an amazing husband who supports me through everything and I know I am loved and cared for deeply. And I in-turn love and care for him deeply and would rather be with him at our worst then anything else. And now, I’ve had support from every corner of the world to keep me going should we face any future heartbreaks.
This incident has reminded me that not everyone is so fortunate. That not everyone is fighting the battle and winning. “Women who want a child but have not yet conceived often experience the following: anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, social isolation and low self-esteem” (source). Further, infertility studies on couples who have undergone treatments have “concluded that women who had not given birth were three times more likely to have split from their partner” (source). And it’s also been found that “the depression and anxiety experienced by many women after a miscarriage can continue for years, even after the birth of a healthy child” (source). And one of the scariest statistics I found is that “discovered that women who did not have a child after initial fertility evaluation had a greater than twofold risk of suicide (HR: 2.43; 95% CI: 1.38-3.71) than women who had at least one child after evaluation” (source).
The reality is, those of us who are living with infertility, miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss are at risk for any number of mental health problems.
If you are ever need of immediate help, there are numerous crises help lines with trained professionals available to talk with you 24/7. In Canada, check out this link for resources in your area.
Mental health struggles are serious. Please, if you are struggling seek help, no-one should suffer alone.
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