This is not the first time our family has been touched by suicide. When Brighid was in elementary school, the brother of a friend killed himself because of bullying. Just about a year after that, the father of another of Brighid’s friends killed himself to avoid scrutiny of some of his business practices. It’s painful on levels you can’t imagine unless you go through it. It’s the feeling of having your hand out for someone and barely being able to touch the tips of their fingers before they are swallowed up by the sadness.
The first time Angela came to my house, it was with Sandi and a book about relationships. It wasn’t the typical relationship book – you know, noted psychologist and relationship expert Dr. So and So. It was Steve Harvey. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man was going to be Ang’s guide to a great romance.
Angela spent all the time I knew her looking for something. She married at 19 because she had dual citizenship between the US and her native Brazil, and she thought she could be helpful to someone. In the beginning, her eyes gleamed when she talked about him, a broad smile crossed her face. But it wasn’t the happiness and contentment she had hoped to find.
Over the next few years, she cried out for attention, landed in hospitals, battled with demons. But it always seemed like she was going to find the right path.
Most of my conversations with Ang were at the drive through at Starbucks. But I’d go in the afternoon, on my way to get the kids at school, when I’d be the only one at the window. Ang would hang out the window, breathing in the outside air, and chat with me about men, about her health, about life in general. When she said she was leaving Starbucks, I congratulated her; wished her the best with her new life; and hoped that it had meant she found true love, real passion, and the contentment that always seemed to elude her.
She didn’t. Her spirit remained restless until the end, when the seduction of an instant and permanent peace was too great. It pulled her in, held her tightly, and it didn’t let go.
Angela walked to work often, and one day, on our travels through the area, Jim saw her standing at a light, waiting to cross a busy intersection to get home. He had me turn around at the first light to go back and pick her up, but by the time we got back to where she had been, she was gone. Before we could help her find a way home.
She was gone.