Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Mom and Virginia Woolf

It was a March 28 that Virginia Woolf drowned herself.
What a shame. What a shame it was, and what a shame it is, no matter who does it.
Not if they're suffering physically and there's no end in sight; no, when it comes to that, I'm all for suicide, assisted or no.

But when it comes to emotional suffering, mental suffering ... well, I don't know much about those things, I mean when they are severe and long-lasting and leave you unable to cope ... but I do know that emotions are, as my friend Julie pointed out (at a time when I thought powerful emotions meant the thing pondered was of the highest importance), "like the weather; they come and go," and so I believe that emotional experience changes and can improve, so there is always hope.

Mental illness ... another thing I don't know much about. Surely it's closely related to the physical and emotional, but ... the next-to-nothing I've seen of mental illness has only left me well aware it's a condition I can neither influence nor comprehend.

In this fine little suicide-prevention video, the maker imagines what Virginia Woolf might have gone on to do if she hadn't ended her life:

Today is my mom's birthday. She was born the same day, the same year Virginia Woolf died, 1941.

Sometimes I wonder what Mom would have done if she had lived another 10 years, instead of dying at a youthful 64.
Would she have gotten wrinkles?
Would she have begun to forget things?
Would she have developed aches and pains?
Would she have gotten grey hair?
Would she have said to hell with perms?
I wonder what advice and insights she might have offered me these past 10 years and whether I'd have had the sense to see their wisdom and heed it, rather than figuring out much later that I should've and wishing I had.