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Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I’ve known what I wanted to write about today since last night. And it’s put my stomach in knots, just thinking about. It’s probably what kept me awake until midnight last night.

My daughter took her life.

I told that to a co-worker yesterday, the security guard who always asks after Jolene whenever she sees me. Last night was the first time I’d seen her since returning to work.

And somehow saying it out loud brought home the reality again. It seems so … impossible. So contradictory. Doesn’t something like taking a life imply the will to do so? And how can one maintain that determination to take one’s own life long enough to make it happen?

Does that make any sense? I’m not denying it. I’m trying to understand it. I hate it. I hate the fact that in the end, Jolene saw no joy or hope ahead. That she felt that way long enough and hid it well enough to make it happen. I hate the thought that she had no working phone, no way to talk with anyone about her despair. If she would have called. I spoke with her that morning; she was cheerful. Police were there, at her apartment, only hours before it happened; she convinced them she was safe. I don’t know if she hid her intentions or if she slid down into an even deeper depression after they left.

I cannot dwell on how she must have suffered. Of all the unbearable things about her death, that is the most unbearable. Instead, I focus on the fact that now she is beyond pain.

I do not know how my grief would differ if Jolene had died in a car accident or from natural causes.

But suicide is the ugliest four-letter word I know.


Tanya Hanson said...

It is the ugliest four-letter word. But there are beautiful ones: hope and love for starters...tonight on American Idol, the first song performed was Dolly Parton's Jolene. I thought of you, as I've thought of you so often since I found this out.

My words are paltry and faulty in face of such a tragedy. But know you are loved, and that precious Jolene is spending eternity in the arms of her Saviour. In a way, she's the lucky one.

Cyber-hugs to you and your mom. And kitty, too. Our sweet critters too feel our pain and confusions.

Lianne said...

What a difficult thing to have to face. For you to face Jolene's death was difficult enough, but to imagine all she went through in her last minutes must be absolutely heart rending. I feel for you, and I wish I could do something to help ease your pain. I continue to pray for you and your healing. God's grace and peace to you.

Darlene Franklin said...

We heard Brooke singing "Jolene" as well. I clutched Mom's hand. The line "How it feels to be Jolene" grabbed me.

Lynette Sowell said...

I thought of you last night when Brooke sang that song.

You're right. It doesn't make sense. One of those times we'd love a rewind button to go back and make it like it never happened. :\

Mary Connealy said...

Darlene, you just have to know that in that moment for Jolene she just wasn't thinking right. Right at that exact moment. I don't think this was a real choice for her, it was confusion, it wasn't her.