There’s this dream I have every few months. I had it again last night.
It’s about someone we know who just died of suicide. The family calls us breathlessly, please come over now and help us! They call us because they know that my sister had survived an awful suicide attempt. They know that we understand what it’s like. So the four of us go to comfort the family; my mum, my sister, my dad and me.
In this particular dream, it was a very young girl who had taken her life. I answered the phone and put it on speaker as the mother told us what happened. The four of us sat in the living room listening carefully. My mum and dad were sitting on the couch and my sister was on a tall stool, her eyes fixed on the floor. As we listened, I wished Elizabeth was taking in the horror of the situation forever reinforcing to never attempt suicide again.
We arrive at this family’s house and sit together. I find a place beside the grandmother. Her veiny, shaking hands hold a picture of the girl who died. I try to console her, but no words come out of my mouth. The room is silent but it isn’t awkward; it feels like we are united, our hearts are all connected to the horror and pain that surrounds suicide. It feels oddly comforting. I look at my sister and feel a rush of gratitude that she is still here with us. I’m so grateful we don’t have to go through what this family is going through. But I have this tingle of fear watching Elizabeth sitting alone, limp and hollow. It’s as if she’s stepped inside the world of death, she knows how it looks and the darkness has soaked her. Her hair is greasy and falls heavy on her bony shoulders. I make eye contact with her, saying without words, look how bad this is. Can’t you see how bad this is? Let’s never go here again. Promise me?
I wake up and remember it’s just a dream, she is gone.