A week ago yesterday, my uncle ended his life in a brutal, public way by jumping off of his terrace.
I had already gone through almost two months of a tortured, torturing routine of daily visits with a man who was refusing to eat, only drinking water, and refusing to take any advice that offered an option other than what he was choosing to do. However, he did say several times that he wasn’t going to “go off the terrace.”
In the end, that is exactly what he did. This man who had me tell people he was “away” because he wanted his privacy made his death the most public thing it could be in a tight knit, nosy, gossipy community. He has left us, his family, gutted and in shock. Oh, we would have grieved either way, and what he was doing before was cruel and selfish and … fill in the words, I can’t. In any case, we are now grieving under several hundred eyes. People who want to know why we didn’t do more to help him. People who themselves are grieving, confused, and curious.
Only a very few know that I was there, trying to get him to change his mind, every. single. day. He was severely depressed and suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, which, I can tell you, is a poisonous, insidious, helpless combination. In the end, things became unbearable for him. And this was how he chose to die.
Here I sit feeling that I failed, feeling hopeless and helpless. I feel betrayed and angry, both now and in retrospect by what he was having me do for him before this horror. My family tries to protect me, but that can only last so long. People want a funeral but he didn’t want one so they won’t get one. So many people knew him, and some of them really loved him. Many respected him. So. It’s horrific in every way a death can be horrific.
And here we are, gutted and hollow and … again, fill in the words.