A record of my work on the Bead Journal Project. And maybe some other stuff, too.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Suicide: It is Not Painless, But It Does Cause Many Changes
Someone I did not like, a former friend, Jiji McClintock, known also by her previous name, Irene Kerth, killed herself Tuesday, March 16, by jumping off a very picturesque bridge in my neighborhood, the St. Johns Bridge. Google it -- it is really a lovely bridge. She did this around 6pm, knowing, I guess, that someone would see her. She left 3 cats, a frog, and an apartment full of junk. I hope she made the right decision, because there are no do overs after you smack into that hard, hard river.
How I found this out was that the county Medical Examiner called here for Tom, on behalf of Jiji's not-quite-ex-husband, Jon. Of course, Tom was out of town, and wasn't due back until Wednesday, the 17th. Her car had to be claimed or it would be impounded with much trouble and expense. So, off I went, with my step-brother, Kevin, to pick up the car. He was all worried and paranoid about it being a police matter but, really, they could not have been more indifferent to the whole thing. The car now sits in our driveway. Tom's in shock, Jon's in shock, especially since this divorce was full of ugliness. There was harassment, I guess, and general unwillingness to cooperate.
I went over to her place to check on her animals, 3 cats and a frog, who were all okay, but lonely and wondering what was going on. I made sure the cats were safe, cleaned their box, checked on water, fed the frog, who was ravenous.
Jiji's suicide note, generally blaming Jon, her not-quite-yet ex-husband, was left on her bed alongside an unsigned Will. I assume that signed copies were mailed to the heirs. She said that she lied to everyone and had planned this for some time because her heart, spirit, trust, and dreams had been broken and would never mend. She was going to a therapist, according to her LJ blog entries. She may have had cancer, and chose to do nothing about it for lack of money, though her insurance was still good till the end of this month. She left short messages for people, including Tom. Including me. Her message to me was not kind, but it was what she saw and believed about me. In it she said I have a big heart and great strength, but was angry and bitter (well, that is true sometimes), jealous, fearful of the unknown, and that I'm lonely and friendless because of it. And that's what drove her away. Maybe, maybe not. I don't feel particularly lonely. Her last sentence tells me to get help and stop tormenting Tom with my insanity. Well, there you go. From my viewpoint, the emotional blackmail I experienced from her, and the fact that she stole a bunch of money from Kevin, is why I cut her out of my life. She left a very sweet and personal message to Tom, which I will not quote here because it is for him, but her last sentence to him is, "I love you." She had some really lovely things, and some really nasty things to say to other folks, who I don't know.
I wasn't sure what would happen next, other than get in touch with Jon in the morning, go make sure the cats were okay, maybe talk to the landlord if he was there. I had planned to bring the cats and froggie here, but they were better where they felt safe, at least for the time being. In fact, a young woman who is experienced in animal rescue came and took the cats up to Seattle with her. Jon will take the frog. There will be a lot of packing, shipping, loading, whatever in the next couple weeks, and maybe I'll be able to avoid some of that... But I guess the apartment has to be vacant by April 1st.
And I'm not really sure how I feel about this. Monday night I was thinking that I know someone that I don't like (Jiji) who may be seriously ill, and how did I feel about that? I came up kind of blank. And that's where I am right now. Kind of blank. She made this decision, carried it through, and there's quite a mess left behind to be picked up, as I guess there always is when something like this happens. I sure wish she'd left a contact list somewhere with the Will and final note, so I could get word out to them, especially to the adoptive mother of her daughter, who really needs to know about this, and how to tell the daughter, who is presently under care in a mental hospital. This will be really hard on them. And I know it's really hard on Tom. But me... just blank. I'll be percolating it for some time, I think.
Sometimes suicide is the right choice, despite the advice of all the experts, and I hope this one was the right choice. Sometimes we think to do this and don't. Sometimes we try it out because we just want the pain/fear/desperation to go away. This is conjecture on my part. I've never been there. If any of you make this decision, PLEASE think of the people you leave behind and leave them clues how to reach each other, and what to do next. Think of your animal friends and make some real provisions for them before you step out into the big nothing. They can't speak for themselves and the law considers them just property to be disposed of. If you won't change your mind, remember the ones who care for you, who will have to clean up after you, and make it a little easier on them.
Most of this week has been spent helping to sort out Jiji's effects, make sure things are put aside for people named in her Will, getting the cats all squared away and taken care of, retrieving furniture we loaned to her, and things like that. I've met some of her friends, which has been very enlightening. This whole last year she pushed a lot of people away from her, it turns out. Some of them saw the craziness long before Tom did.
Since we had ended our friendship most definitely, it's quite ironic that here I am, having to do all this stuff for/with her estate. Somewhere, if there's a somewhere, she's getting a laugh out of that. I can not understand the decision she made to end her life, but I respect it.
Since then, I threw my step-brother, Kevin, out of our driveway and out of our lives. This was a long time coming, and good riddance to a load of trash. What got me angry was that he stole a Wii game system from Jiji's house after she died. What made me throw him out was his self-righteous refusal to return it, insisting that he was "owed" and only he was important here. I pointed out that he was, in fact, stealing from Jiji's daughter, a young woman currently in a boarding school for troubled youth. And also, he owes Tom and I way more than Jiji took and has never once looked for work or made any attempt to pay us back, or even pay token rent. He always had plenty of money to buy his cigarettes, though. There was quite an intense fight, that nearly got physically violent because I was so furious. I finally threw his full ashtry all over him and his stuff in the van, he tossed silverware and jars of peanut butter and old cans out into the yard. There was a lot of yelling, swearing, and general invective. I got the house key back, cut off his power, handed back his iPod, and that afternoon (Wednesday, just before Tom got back from Detroit) he got someone or other to haul him and his ratty van the hell away from here. I told him he could call to arrange to pick up the rest of his huge pile of stuff. THE END. I feel like I just lost 135 lbs of useless flab in an instant. Because I did.
Some major changes have taken place in my life just now, some perplexing and tragic, some very positive. My emotions have been, and still are, all over the place, but I'm sure that's normal and a good thing.
March BJP may be late, but I have a lot to think about and more to do right now. I'm hoping for a long stretch of boring, uneventful days and months ahead, but I do not see anything like that coming. I'm buckling my seatbelt for that bumpy ride ahead.
I'm an artist living in Portland, Oregon, where I share a tiny little craftsman cottage with my husband and several feline-americans. I started this blog to record my participation in the 2007, 2008 and 2010 Bead Journal Project, so most entries will be relating to that topic. Being an artist, though, I reserve the right to completely stray from my original intention without notice.