More on Katherine

Not sure quite why I’m posting this, except that it’s something else I’ve been thinking about on and off the past couple weeks.

About 10 years ago, Katherine and I had a discussion about suicide and depression and such. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that towards the end of the discussion, I asked her to promise me that if she ever did feel on the edge of ending it, she would call me first. This wasn’t a big deal; I’d asked several other friends to make the same promise. Lots of us had gone around with depression at some point or other.

But unlike everyone else, Katherine didn’t blithely give me any promises. Instead she asked something along the lines of (exact wording long forgotten), “Why do people ask that? It’s not as if that’s going to stop you, if you’ve decided.”

At a loss, I think I said only, “Because it makes me feel better.”

She told me she appreciated at least getting an honest answer. But she still didn’t make any promises.

And we let it go at that. Because from the conversation it was also clear she wasn’t depressed and had no intention at all of killing herself just then.

And you can’t spend 10 years worrying about someone.

Still, I never quite forgot that conversation. And so when word came that Katherine was missing, some part of me knew that if she said she was going to kill herself, she had. She wasn’t messing around, or sending out calls for help. The only way she would have failed is if something unanticipated happened.

Because she’d told me 10 years before that if she ever set out to do anything like this, she would mean it.

I have no illusions that that was any sort of warning I should have or could have acted on. And yet it seems it should be significant somehow, just the same.

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