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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The one thing I know is that no matter how bad life has been I’ve always seen enough hope, even just a tiny little glimmer, to know that tomorrow might just be a bit better.

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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77 Comments on “A Sobering Moment

  1. Wow. This is absolutely heartbreaking, and probably haunting for you to know that you are the last people who saw this young lady alive. It breaks my heart that she felt this was her best option. I can’t even imagine the despair and pain she felt before jumping. I’m sad for everyone else whose lives have now been affected by her death.

    I appreciate that you put the info at the end of this post that you did. You never know who will read this. You might have helped someone seek the help they need!

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  2. Oh my gosh, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t imagine having witnessed this. Seeing her those moments before she jumped. So sad, breaks my heart that she thought that was her only option.
    I also want to say thank you for sharing the facts and providing contacts that people can use. You are so right–many people are feeling they can not reach out for help, or just don’t know where to, they see no glimmer of hope for tomorrow. Infertility, IVF, and RPL are devastating, it’s time we all start realizing we need help getting through it. Thank you again.

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  3. I’m so sorry… for her, her family, the people in the accident, the poor person who hit her (good god), and you and mr. MPB. How terribly sad. This is going to be hard for a very long time.

    I am glad that you saw her alive in that final moment. That she was seen, and acknowledged, and cared about, and worried about, and for that moment loved by a complete stranger. She may not have known it then, but she knows now that someone was so concerned for her that she picked up the phone to try to save her. YOU did that for her.

    Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing this perspective with me. You are right, in her final moments, even if she didn’t realize it, she was loved and she was cared about and worried about.

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  4. I am so sorry. I’m sorry that she saw no way out and I’m sorry that you and Mr. MPB are now so affected by this. You did the right thing, I am so glad you called and were able to alert authorities, even if they didn’t make it on time. She clearly was very intent on completing the act since she didn’t hesitate long enough for anyone to make it to her. I’m like you, although it may have gotten written in my diaries as a teenager, I never seriously thought about committing suicide. It seems that these days, people, especially young people are so quick to take that option. It makes me so sad and makes me think, how can we get through to these people especially young ones that these moments of agony are usually fleeting in the grand scheme of life. Especially when we find out that someone has committed suicide because of bullying. It just breaks my heart that we haven’t figured out how to let these kids know that it won’t last forever, that there are bigger and better things waiting for them when they get out of middle/high school. I wish I knew a way to really help. Sending you so much love and big hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am very slow to respond to the comments on this post, but please know I am thankful for your love and support. Your words and your compassion mean the world to me. And I too wish there was a way to really help individuals in their moment of darkness.

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  5. Wow. I am so sorry that you had to see that and could do nothing.

    Am also glad that at least she didnt take other lives with her, it could have been worse on a freeway, many people could have died because of her.

    I often wonder why people think death is a solution to any problem, and how lonely they must be that they dont have even one person to love or who loves them.
    I am just sorry that you and Your husband had to see it. Please dont relive it in your head, there was nothing you could have done.

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    • Thank you so much for your compassion and support as we dealt with our limited involvement in this situation. I too wonder about these types of situations and desperately wish people did not feel so lonely.

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  6. Oh my. How absolutely awful. You must be feeling all sorts of emotions – I’m so sorry you had to witness that :-(. My mother tried to commit suicide when I was young and again a couple of times in my 20s. I think because of that, and my deep shock and feelings of rejection that she would leave her own kids and everything else behind to end her suffering, I am and always have been absolutely certain that suicide is never, ever the answer. Ever. Nothing is so selfish and so distressing for those you leave behind, and those you inadvertently involve in the process. It must be heart-wrenching to know you saw her last moments. That you could do nothing to change it. She has her peace now – perhaps focus on the fact that she will no longer suffer whatever torture she felt she was going through. I’m sorry. What a horrible thing to happen. X

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  7. That happened to me, I want able to see it super clearly because it was a pretty high overpass. I didn’t call it in, the traffic was going too fast for me to feel comfortable getting my phone out of my purse and looking at it for the time it would take to dial the number. I read about it in the paper the next day, the woman didn’t hesitate, I just missed the fall by under a minute. Terrifying.

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    • I am so sorry that you understand exactly what we went through. I think one of the only reasons I was able to call was that Mr. MPB was driving so it was safe for me to dig out my phone and place the call. Otherwise, I imagine I wouldn’t have called.

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  8. Wow this is all so sobering. Thank you for this reminder. You are a lovely person.

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  9. I’m so sorry you had to witness such a heart breaking scene. As much as you wanted to help, her decision was already made as she stepped over the railing. I witnessed something similar when I was younger and it never left my mind. I saw a man lying in the middle of the road after dusk. We were driving and saw cars coming toward him from the opposite direction. I screamed, honked, flashed my lights but it didn’t stop the cars. The police never figured out if he was in the road intentionally or not. There are too many people that struggle with these thoughts. All we can do is take care of the people in our lives and let them know they are loved.

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    • Erin, thank you. I have been very slow to come back and respond to comments on this post, but please know that I am thankful for your support. And I am also devastated that you have also experienced such a heartbreaking scene – you did all that you could. Sending you love.

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  10. Wow, that is a pretty horrific experience. A lot of people would have kept driving without calling for help. it’s hard when you try to help and you feel that you are ineffective. Thank you for the resource links and the reminder that people are going through struggles and it is important to reach out for assistance.

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    • I’m really late to start responding to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support and love. You are right, it is hard to know that we tried to help and yet we were unable to make a difference. Yet at the same time I think she did what was best for her in that moment, as unfortunate as it is for those of us left in the aftermath.

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  11. Wow. I can’t even being to imagine what that was like. I’m so sorry. You did the only thing that you could do in that situation. It’s not your fault.

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  12. Sorry for the language, but holy shit. I have a suicidally depressed person close to me in my life, and it has been very scary at times. The mindset that gets them to that place is like a house of mirrors, and the pain is so inescapable that the peace of death feels like the only option. I’m terribly sorry this girl found her in that place, and I wish someone could have reached her 😦

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    • I’m really late to start responding to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support through this. I too wish someone could have reached her. Also, I am so sorry that you are struggling with someone who struggles with suicidal depression. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard and scary that is for you at times.

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  13. There’s no “fair share”, sadly… Life is unfair. And some people are better equipped to deal with pain than others. I find it so sad that people see that it’s their only option – “a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.

    Equally I have a (probably irrational) anger towards people who commit suicide in ways that can cause harm, trauma or even death to others. I know they’re not in their right frame of mind but I think of the people who are unwittingly involved in their passing. The person who never wanted to be responsible for the death of someone but now has to live with that final horrific image. Bystanders like you. People who read about it in the media. The person’s family. It is making their private grief public, I suppose. But sometimes I want to shake them. In London there’s a restaurant that has a roof garden and people often throw themselves off it. I think – you could kill someone if you landed on them. Your last act on earth would be to kill someone! How can you do that? The people who throw themselves in front of trains are forever changing the lives of train drivers. Many of whom have to leave work with stress and PTSD. They are disrupting the movement of people home to their loved ones or out to work. It isn’t intended to be but it is a selfish act.

    I feel sad for those people. I really do. I’m not unsympathetic. I just wish there was a way to say: life will get better. You will get through this. See it through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really late to start responding to the comments on this post, but I do want to say thank you for sharing and understanding. I do appreciate your perspective, and I do agree about the impacts on other innocent bystanders just adding to the tragedy.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my. This is so, so sad. Life is so fragile, as you know so well. I’m sorry that this happened, and I’m sorry that you witnessed it. I am happy that you and Mr. MPB are safe.

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  15. You did the right and only thing. By the time she was putting her leg over, it was already too late. By the time she made the decision to drive to that bridge, it was too late. That choice is very hard to come back from, and the place you’re in that you feel that death is your only option is a very dark place.
    Mental illness is an awful, cruel thing. You physically cannot feel hope, cannot see a future, when you’re in the depths of depression. All you can do is trust, and find a person whom you can trust to tell you it will get better, even when you can’t see that yourself.

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    • I have been super slow to respond to comments on this post, but I do want to take a moment and say thank you. I really do appreciate your perspective and your support. I believe you are right, mental illness is an awful, cruel thing.

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  16. Seriously…I can’t believe it. Glad you weren’t hurt in that situation. So scary. The stats you provided are scary too…but I can see how they are very real. Good to know for sure and to remind everyone that there is help.

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  17. This breaks my heart. For you, for the family of that gal, for anyone who is reading this that has lost a loved one to suicide. We just recently (last month) had a suicide in the family so this was particularly saddening to me as my sadness is still relatively fresh. I am super thankful that you, nor Mr. MPB, were injured. But, this really makes my heart sink. My mind can only comprehend it a teeny-tiny bit. Biggest hugs, and I think perhaps this situation may take a while to process, it can be traumatic! reach out to friends/family/counselor if/when needed. Even though you didn’t know, it can still have an impact in your life! HUGS! XO

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    • I’m really late to start responding to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support and love both for me and this girl and everyone else involved.
      I am so sorry that you have experiences a suicide in your family. My heart breaks for you and everyone in your family.

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  18. There are no words. Must love for doing all you could to get her help. Perhaps that knowledge will bring some level of comfort to her family. I agree, we infertiles face and live with many situations and deal with much emotion. Here is to hoping sharing our stores can help even own woman out there. XXOO J

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  19. Oh my, so sad! I’m sorry that you have to live that image over in your mind. (I have witnessed an accident before and called 911 to report it. Like you I was unable to stop. I know what it is like to live with the memory.) Thank you for posting your experience.

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  20. I am so sorry you had to witness this. I am sorry for the poor soul that has been released from her turmoil. I am so sorry that people don’t reach out for help, or don’t get the help they need. Sending big loves to you and Mr MPB right now, hold each other tight tonight xxx

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  21. Oh those are some terrible stats and just an awful experience all round. I am thankful too that I’ve never wanted to take my own life. I have been down enough that I can see how it would happen though. This post is a good reminder to keep our eyes open for our friends and offer help whenever we can.

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    • I’m really late to respond to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support and love. I think you are right, we should all try to keep our eyes open and help others whenever we can.

      Like

  22. After reading this, I have so many things I want to say. The first is that you did everything you could have possibly done. The second is thank you. The third is that I am glad you and Mr. MPB are safe and I hope you can heal from this. Next, when someone is suicidal, s/he is not thinking rationally. The depressed brain plays really cruel tricks. I’d like to say more about this, but Emerson is fussy and I have to go. Hugs!!!

    Like

    • I’m really late to respond to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support and love. And thank you for pointing out that when someone is suicidal they are not thinking rationally. Depression is nothing short of cruel.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. That’s so very sad. I’m sorry that you had to be involved in that in any way, but at least you called someone to help and didn’t just ignore it.
    I remember when I was young, maybe about 8 or so, our phone rang one evening just after we finished dinner. I picked it up, and it was a young girl crying. I handed the phone to my dad, and he tried to talk to her. He got out of her that she was at a pay phone by a department store a few miles from our house, she said she picked the phone up and just dialed a random number. She said she needed help, and he said she should call the cops. We were angry at him for not going and checking on her, and I wonder all the time what happened to her. Why was she out there? Why was she so upset? Did she find help? It bothers me to this day that I have no idea what happened to her, or who she was.
    I guess I’m trying to say that I sort of understand how you feel. I’m sorry that her life had to go in that direction, and I’m sorry for her family and friends and all of those who were affected on the road below. I hope that everyone finds a way to find some peace and healing from the situation…including the two of you. *hugs*

    Like

    • Amy, I’m really late to start responding to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support and love. Thank you for sharing your experience, I can only imagine how it haunts you to wonder about this girl – I wish for your peace of mind you knew, yet I realize that now you will never know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like to think that because she was in a public parking lot, that was pretty frequently traveled by many people, that someone found her and helped her. It just bugs me sometimes if something triggers the memory.

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  24. So sad. I agree with a statement made above that the depressed mind is not one that is thinking clearly. Her jump has impacted several strangers for the rest of their lives. I’m very sad for this girl, for her family, friends, and people like you who witnessed the event. Huge hugs.

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    • Thank you Pink Canuck. I think you are right, a depressed mind is not one that is thinking clearly, unfortunately. I too am sad for this girl and for everyone else impacted.

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  25. My heart goes out to that girl and her family. I’m sorry you are left with feeling a bit of guilt even though she had already made up her mind. It just breaks my heart. ❤

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    • I’m really late to start responding to the comments on this post, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support and love both for me, this girl and everyone else involved.

      Like

  26. Oh my goodness, how awful. We just never know what some people are going through. Prayers for all involved, including you and Mr. MPB. Witnessing something so tragic has to be hard.

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    • I am so slow to respond to your comment, but I do want to say thank you for your support and love. And for the reminder that we really do never know what someone else is going through.

      Like

    • SBCH, thank you. I’ve been so slow to respond to comments, but I do want you to know that I appreciate your support and your love both for this girl and everyone else touched by her death.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: Obsessively Internalizing | My Perfect Breakdown

  28. Wow. Just, wow. This is not something I ever really thought about… how suicide impacts even strangers. I have a long history of depression, anxiety, and self harm… I’m proud to say that it has been well over two years since my last “incident,” though. I am incredibly proud that through our struggle TTC I never let it bring me back to that point. Of course one always thinks of their family and loved ones and the kind of impact that will have on their lives, but it never even occurred to me how that might affect people who don’t know you at all — responding officers and paramedics, even just bystanders or passerby’s like yourself. You should try to share this article with some of those resources; I think it offers a very special insight to those who are in that scary place. They really believe that the people closest to them would be “better off” without them, maybe the idea that loss of life profoundly affects so many more people than that would help someone.

    Like

    • Anamarie, thank you for sharing this. I am sorry that you have struggled with depression,anxiety and self harm. You are an amazing women and I hope that you continue to heal.
      You make such an amazing point about all of those “outsider” people who are impacted. I suspect many people involved in her suicide will always carry her and her decision in their hearts and minds as it will leave a lasting impact.
      Also, I’ve been thinking of you lately and hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I read this on Friday in the midst of work craziness and didn’t have a chance to comment on it. I continued to think about it all weekend long. It haunted me. So I can only imagine how you must be feeling, my friend. That is just terrifying and so, so sad.
    And also selfish on that girl’s part to use other people to carry out her death. She could have killed other people as well. That’s the thing about suicide and depression, it IS selfish, but the people who suffer from it are so trapped in their own pain and/or mental illness that they can’t see past it. It’s heartbreaking — for them, their families and anyone else that may have been affected by it. I hope this girl is finally at peace now. I’m sorry that you had to bear witness to this devastating act. Sending a huge hug to you.

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    • My friend, I’ve been very slow to respond to comments on this post, but I do want to say thank you for taking the time to offer your support and your love. When you say it is just so, so sad, you are right. Like you, I do believe her choice in how to commit suicide was selfish, but I also suspect she never even thought about how it would impact others such as myself. I suspect, she just knew in her mentally ill state that this was best for her in the moment. It’s sad, and I wish no-one ever had to feel this way.

      Like

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