Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Desparate Desparation

It was early Tuesday morning when I met up with my daughter to give her a ride to her office. She'd dropped her car off for repairs, and I'd agreed to the role of chauffeur - one of the many privileges & joys of again living so near our family.

As we approached the stretch of road marked off by police cars & flashing lights, I assumed the commotion was related to a traffic violation. Neither she nor I were prepared for the sight we witnessed as cars were directed around the gruesome scene.

In the middle of the road lay a body; one covered mostly in yellow tarp, but with two booted limbs extended, and in plain view. It took only seconds to realize this individual had jumped from the bridge high above, forfeiting in mere seconds the life that once was.

I actually gasped as it registered to me what it was that I was seeing. My audible utterances or, rather, exclamations were, "Oh, dear God!", and "Mercy!". The words seemed to flow without summons.

My inaudible thoughts immediately began questioning: Why? How desperate must one be to commit so desperate an act?

For the remainder of the day, and periodically throughout the week, those booted feet and the man they represent showed up in my thoughts. In some mournful way I have been saddened by his passing; appalled at the depths of his desperation. I have grieved for him, and I have wondered if there were others - a mother, father, sister, wife, friend - now grieving even deeper than I can imagine. I've wondered if anyone cared at all.

I've searched the news for details ... a name, an age, a circumstance; the back story. All I could find was a brief caption, one that read simply: "Yakima Avenue Bridge Death Apparently a Suicide". The brevity of the report brings a new round of tears.

How can a life - even one life - get by us like this?

I know, I know, there are myriad reasons ... perhaps drugs are involved ... likely years of counsel & family love have been offered ... possibly mental illness had set in ...

Today, not one explanation matters. Since Tuesday the world lost a bit of it's luster when the booted man no longer walked it.

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau


"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

How sad.....we will never know what was going on in the mind of this person...apparently there was no more hope..or you're right, it could have been drugs, or something else where he was not in his right mind, but nonetheless, a life lost.

Just goes to show there are hurting people all around us...that we are not even aware of.

Thanks for sharing.


Debbie said...

How sad...stories like this happen every day but when you see one up close and personal it just changes you somehow...haunts you. Soo many different possibilites could have lead this poor person to this. So many hurting people.

Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

So sad! I do hope you continue to look for updates and let us know if you find out anything. I'm too interested in what/how/or who would be brought to such depths. I know it happens but it's so sad to think of how dark a soul must get to reach this point.

Ps. I've been lurking on your page and loving your transition! Isn't it fun having family near after years away? I too have found myself in the same boat this past year and a half with my parents now living next door to me on our farm. :)

Debbie said...

It really is so sad Kathleen. But we don't always know what is truly going on in a person's head and heart. Sometimes even those closest to them may not really be aware. It's also sad that family may be left behind not knowing and feeling like they could have done more. But that's not always the case.

It does make you realize how fragile life really is. And that behind the smiles of people there may be more to it than meets the eye.

Love and hugs to you,

Beth E. said...

What a feel that there is no choice but to take one's own life.

Praying for peace for his family. Very sad, indeed.

Karen Lange said...

This is sad. It sobers me to think about all the lost and hurting souls. May we sow seeds of hope and kindness that people may see Jesus.

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said... <---[image of my expression] No words can express...

Linda Hoye said...

Heartbreaking. I feel a similar sadness when I see sets of war medals for sale in a second hand store. I can't help but think about the individual who fought to earn those medals only to have them wind up unclaimed and uncared for.

Linda Hoye said...

How sad. It reminds me of how I feel when I see war medals for sale in a second hand store. I can't help but wonder about the individual who earned them, and feel sorry that they ended up unclaimed and unwanted.

Sonja said...

It hurts to hear these stories, your description brought tears. I am so struck recently with how really short this life is, for all of us, and how important each day.



Yolanda said...

Leaves one pondering

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Our small community just dealt with this when the mayor shot herself and her 19 year old daughter. My daughter had just talked to the girl the day before...all the questions you asked, so have we.
No one understands here either and it just made me aware of being sensitive to others hurts...she had lost her husband to cancer and was in financial struggles...doesn't justify, but makes me see how much our world needs "hope" which is only found in Him.
So sad!

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

So very sad. When you hear stories like this it just confirms how much the world needs the Saviour.

Karen said...

Such a tragedy...such hopelessness...when Hope is just a breath away...

Loren said...


Sooo very sad. I can't even imagine how it must have felt driving onto the scene. My heart breaks for those who are hurting and have lost all hope to the point of taking their own life. There are soo many out there.

Bless you my friend and may the LORD comfort you as only HE can!

Love you

RCUBEs said...

I heard about a deputy who shot himself when his home was on the verge of being foreclosed. I, too, wondered, what drove him to do that? We would never know what goes on in their minds. And in this hurtful economic times, many think that it's a quick way to escape all the hurt, all the pain. Praying for God's comfort to cover you. Blessings to you sister.

Rebecca said...

"Love this world through me, Lord,
this world of broken men.
Thou didst love through death, Lord,
O love through me again.
Souls are in despair, Lord,
O make me know and care!
When my life they see, may they behold Thee.
....O love the world through me, through me. O love the world through me."

This song/prayer from my distant path was awakened by your post. I may not have all the words accurate, but how I want to KNOW and CARE!

Terri Tiffany said...

I'm so sorry you had to see this but glad you though to pray and thought about those who loved this man.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

May our hearts never grow so calloused so as to remain unaffected by such sorrow. We must learn to pay attention to these moments and own them in our hearts until our hearts have moved to a new level of compassion and understanding.


Just a little something from Judy said...

Twice in the last few days I have sat with dear people who have had to deal with this very same thing. Both times I sat there feeling total heartbreak and sadness that they and their family were facing this pain. Just are not words to share for them or for me after sitting with them. Right now I am sure some in his family are sharing their heartbreak with someone. My prayer is that it is someone who cares deeply and knows God personally, so that they can lift the broken ones up to God...the God of all mercy. I appreciate that you could at least give this man and his family a few minutes of blog time. So well written.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

So sad....I was driving on one of our inter loops two years ago and a overpass was up ahead and I thought someone had dropped a black trach I approached the bridge I relized a young man had jumped to his death...I will never forget that site as long as I live.

Saleslady371 said...

It does make you think....did he have any warnings? Had people been reaching out to him before the leap? Your post is sober today, Kathleen, and reminds me that unless we are part of the solution, we're part of the problem. Excellent Thoreau quote.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Really really sad.

LisaShaw said...

This brings tears to my eyes and heart...a cry from my soul.

Many many years ago before I was married in 1990; I was working as a single Mom in NY. I used to pass a homeless man. Many people walked around him to avoid the stench, his half nakedness and the crazed way he spoke at times BUT this man picked up my shawl one cold winter day when I was racing at high speed with the cold beating my face. He ran after me to return to my coat shawl that I had not felt fly off of me.

From that moment I spoke to him -- I saw him. Eye ball to eye ball not a person living on the street but a man who was hurting; had a soul and lived on the street.

Throughout the winter I was privileged to bring him hot coffee and two rolls in the mornings. I thought about him on the weekends when I wasn't at work. Wondering who would feed him. I was 22.

One day he told me I was the nicest person and the best thing that had come his way in life.

One day..he was not there.
Two, three days went by. I searched the surrounding blocks.

A man who sold merchandise on the street corner approached me and said he'd seen all the times I gave him food/money and kindness. He said, he died on that corner over that previous weekend. He saw him being 'removed'.

My heart held on to the words, 'removed'. What a sad end to a life that had such purpose in GOD but for some reason he didn't live that life fully.

I cried...
I prayed...
I wondered had he died alone without anyone to notice.

I'm crying even now all these years later as I read this story of yours and I remember that precious soul.

What breaks my heart more is that I was carnal then (saved but not living the life fully) and I never talked to him about JESUS.

May we never miss a moment, an opportunity to be HIS witness.

I love you!