Jason's email told me everything I didn't want to know. He even included a news clip about the tragic way his sister had chosen to end her life. There I sat at work, staring at my computer, dumfounded, without words. How could this be happening? Again? To Jason? It just isn't fair. That's when my tears started, thinking of him and all that he'd already endured. Not even two weeks before, my mom and I had been talking about Julie, as we often do. I mentioned that one of the few things I hadn't yet forgiven Julie for was how her suicide affected Jason. I'm just not okay with it. He, among everyone in her life, was there for her no matter what. He loved her, despite her maddening ways. From my perspective, she took advantage of his love, dismissing it, not understanding how rare such loyalty is. His love and loyalty never wavered, even in death. It was Jason who spared Amy from having to find her sister dead. Instead, he went, knowing full well what he'd find. He stayed with her until the very end, waiting until the coroner took her away. And now this. Again.
Still in shock, I called Jason. Actually, I called, got his voice mail, left a message, then he called back and left me a voice mail, which I listened to, and then called him back. Even in the midst of such sadness and shock, Jason didn't miss the significance of me listening to his voice mail and returning his call. "Well, I guess I know how to get you to listen to one of my voice mails now" was how he answered. We laughed at the morbid irony. Julie's last phone call was to me, and she got my voice mail. She left me a message. As per my habit, and keeping with my instructions to send me a text if it's urgent and important, I deleted her message without ever listening to it. To this day I don't know what she said.
At least laughing about what it takes to get me to listen to a voice message broke the ice. But then I had to actually talk about what why I was calling. I'd like to say that I had all the right words and knew exactly how to respond to such a tragedy. After all, I know exactly how it feels to lose your sister to suicide. Instead, I swore. Really, what else is there to do? We both agreed my profane word was really the only thing to say in response to suicide.
I've spent the last 48 hours thinking, wondering, remembering and reliving. It's the emotional, physiological memory of such trauma that's the worst. It's like when you have a burn and the thin top layer of skin has just started to heal, covering the burn. You nurse the wound, being very tender with yourself, protecting your injured part, knowing how fragile it is. Then, out of nowhere, the wound gets bumped and the thin, new skin gets torn off. The pain is there all over again, not as bad as the original burn, but close.