Yesterday, my husband and I took a walk across the Foresthill Bridge. It’s 730 feet high, the third highest in the US. At least one person commits suicide, by jumping from it, every year. At the midpoint, there were several names and dates scratched in the paint of the handrail. Each one named a person and the date of their death. It was very sobering to stand where they had stood and contemplate what had brought them to that same point on the bridge, with the intention of never walking off of it. Looking over the side was dizzying. They must have been extremely determined, and hopeless, to climb up and step out. There’s a call-box right there, imploring them to not jump, but reach out for help.  How many make the call? How many don’t? How many choose neither and return to their life with no one the wiser? They were very sobering, these realities. It was a cloudy day yesterday. Heavy with thoughts and emotions.


IMG_2360I thought about all the times I’ve felt everyone would do better without me around. But I could not jump off that bridge, and I won’t. I will continue my search for strategies, methods, meditations, beliefs and actions to help me survive and heal here, on Earth and alive in my world.

Death can be very abstract until you see it up close and real. Those names and dates were real. And a caring, grieving family member or friend scratched them in the paint so that the person wouldn’t be forgotten. Nor their pain and desperation. Someone was the last person to speak to them. Someone discovered them, fallen. Someone had to pick up the crumpled, lifeless body. Someone had to find the family and let them know what had happened. And then there are those the person left behind. Those who knew of their pain, and those who didn’t. But they were all left with the loss of that person in their lives, and how they would take that knowledge forward into their own. I hope it made a difference.

Below the bridge flows the north fork of the American River, flanked by beautiful forests, tumbling to join with the middle fork in an area known as the confluence. It’s an area enjoyed by all kinds of people every day of the year. To see such beauty and energy so close to such sadness and desperation is difficult to comprehend. But in seeing and reflecting, I know which scene I want to reflect my life. I hope all those who choose to walk the bridge to the middle will stop and use the call-box. My next walk there will be to enjoy the view and beauty, before I continue my walk to the paths below where life is exuberant and ongoing.




9 thoughts on “Realities

  1. wow, this blog entry comes at a very timely time in my life right now. While having a “conversation” with my husband the other day I had asked him “if everyone was jumping off a bridge trying to kill themselves, would you do it too?” his reply “No, I’ll leave that up to you” I have a diagnosis of Bi-polar disorder, depression, suicidal ideation, and post traumatic stress disorder. He has always been very supportive, even through my many hospital stays. I have no idea why he made such a comment, but it almost threw me off of the deep end. My teenage son was in the car with us, and yelled at us to shut up. He sadly has been there, and has seen how I have gotten before some of my emergency hospitalizations. My fear is that he was worried/scared, because he did not know what the outcome of this argument would be. I am affraid to talk to him about this. I don’t know what would be best regarding this?

    At times I feel as if “jumping off of the bridge” would be a an end of the “craziness” for my family. It is amazing how one simple (to him) comment can effect someone so deeply, and get ones mind reeling. Experiencing feelings/thoughts that I have not had for a long time. I really would love to cut right now, but I know that this would just be the beginning of a downward spiral, and probably would lead to a 5th hospitalization. I am deeply hurt, and extremely mad. I refuse to speak to my husband until he realizes what he has done, and apologizes to me. I do not know if he will get it, but I will stand my ground, and not back down.

    I am so very proud of you for having those thoughts/ideas, and realizing how precious life is, and that death is not the answer. I hope that you can coninue to remain strong, and keep up the figh.

    • Thanks 🙂 I know it’s hard for our spouses to always be supportive. Occasionally they let slip those remarks. It’s not that they don’t love us or want the best for us. It’s got to be exhausting for them too. They have their own battles and emotions. But those remarks still hurt. That said, the apology may never come. Try to move forward without waiting for it. Don’t let it make you stuck. Easier said than done, I know. But you know me and you know I only want the best for you.
      Lots of love!

  2. I love your willingness to speak these thoughts. Not many people have the courage to do that. I think about death. It’s a part of life. I’m not suicidal but have been so low and stuck in depression phases that I didn’t want to be alive. The main thing that kept me from going the next step of considering suicide is that it would so hurt my beloved husband and a few other people. Also, I found that some of the thoughts that were going through my mind at those low low phases, didn’t resonate as the deepest truth. So I knew something was wrong, to make a decision based on the falseness that I felt.

    Anyway, I have had a beloved friend with mental illness who took his life many years ago. He hung himself from a tree over a creek. I went through so much around that event. Including what it was like to be close to him before he did the deed and what happened after wards. It has been a deeply impactful event that changed me and still affects me. I don’t blame him or think badly of him. It just gave me the understanding of how much an impact suicide has on others.

    Does the American River flow through French Meadows camp?

    I can really feel the beauty of your inner strength in your writing lately.

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