Gone From This World

Last night I discovered a girl named Chrissy who killed herself after several years of paralysis caused by a swimming pool accident.

I learned about her in a forum on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation website. I came upon the website a few months ago, and struggled with the mystery of why some people want to go on living and some do not.

Chrissy was a beautiful girl who had  recently  fallen in love and was looking forward to everything. The story of her accident and its aftermath is horrifying but it happened and I had to read it. Horrible things happen but few things can be this horrible. Still, Chrissy endured for several years. In the end, she simply didn’t want to continue a life under the circumstances dictated by her condition.

On her blog, she explained:

A big part of me died back on June 5, 2005 and my life was never the same. Everything has felt empty, and bittersweet. Every memory tainted with sadness, over everything that I’ve lost, everything I miss doing, and everything I had planned to do, and hoped to be.

I  understand. Max  left  me a message saying something similar, even though his disabilities weren’t as extreme as Chrissy’s. For him, they were intolerable.   Going back to her blog just now, I couldn’t help but cry. What a brave girl she was. I salute her honesty and her incredible, heroic struggle.


Tonight, I learned about a photographer and writer, Edouard Levé, who shot himself a few days after completing a novel called Suicide. The novel is  fiction  but obviously reflects Levé’s preoccupation with suicide. Perhaps he he planned his death as an artistic statement. Or perhaps he lingered too long on the subject of death, turning it over in his mind until it seemed like the only rational conclusion to his obsessive and inward-looking existence. He was only 42 but seemed to have focused closely on life’s absurdity.   Here is what the narrator of Suicide says:

“You didn’t like the selfishness of your suicide. But, on balance, death’s reprieve won out over the painful agitation of life.”

It bothers me that Levé threw his life away even though he wasn’t paralyzed. It bothers me that I can’t understand why some people are resilient and some aren’t. It bothers me that you can’t leave this world without smashing everyone around you. It bothers me that no one has the power to decide which suicide is justified. It bothers me that I don’t know where Chrissy is, meaning I don’t know where Max is. It bothers me that I can’t forgive Levé for hanging himself because I can’t find the compassion for his obscure suffering.

It bothers me that I have to keep pondering death like a difficult math problem that might  yield  an answer if I stick with it. It beckons to me and repels me and it continues to break my broken heart.

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19 Responses to Gone From This World

  1. Lara says:

    My heart goes out to you.
    My mom is paralyzed and I’m her primary care giver. She has MS and has been completely immobile for over 10 years. She once wanted to end her life when she still had the chance but never did. She’s so very sad and I try my best to keep her spirits up. It’s exhausting. Reading Chrissy’s top blog entry finally let me cry it out today. It’s been a rough holiday season, since mom is constantly stressed over the fact that she can’t do things like she used to for Christmas. It breaks my heart.
    I hope things get easier for us all.

  2. JK says:

    It may be, as it has for me, this research paper may be of some use. I’m “pretty sure” it came by way of the blog which you recently mentioned in email. In any case – I bookmarked for some reason:


  3. Suebob says:

    To Lara – bless you for taking care of your mom. My sis had MS and passed away. She was ready to go. One thing that helped her was smoking pot – lots of it. It helped her relax and be in her own fantastic fantasy world. I don’t know if your mom would do it, but you might ask her. Hugs and strength to you.

  4. Kellie says:

    We always hope there is a logical explanation to the things that perplex us. Reading what we can, researching, looking for it to somehow make sense.

    That is what it all boils down to-the hope that the explanation will make sense, and provide us with the answers we need. Some peace.

    I wish a peaceful and hopeful holiday for all of us searching, still.


  5. Sister Wolf says:

    Lara – Me too. You are a wonderful daughter – your mom could not have been more blessed. xo

  6. Heidi says:

    Sending kind thoughts to you, Lara, Sisterbob and her late sister, Max, Chrissie, and of course my father. Bless you all!

  7. dust says:

    In this long year, during which i might have not written to you, even if i visited this space daily, the ring of your words and experience kept me around, dare i say alive. On better days it was a selfish thought that at almost 40, i can still wear very short skirts, that would get me through the day. Like you say, i wasn’t paralyzed, it was just the situation that was paralyzing. There is a huge difference.

    But, as it turns out, what started as The Year of The Underdog, it slowly became Against All Odds venture.

    I’d love to turn this into love letter to you, Sister Wolf and thank you properly, but guess what, he’s coming to spend the last week of this year with me and I’d like to make this place smell like flowers. Even better news is that I don’t need him to be happy, I only want to. There is a huge difference between these two as well.

    happy and peaceful holidays to everybody.

  8. Sister Wolf says:

    Oh dust. What a christmas gift to read your message. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  9. Ann says:

    This blog means so much, to so many of us. What a cathartic place you’ve created, Sister. I love you and send you light daily.

  10. Jessica says:

    I just learned of a friend from highschool who shot himself in the head. He was a handsome, kind and LOVED person. He just finished law school and was engaged.
    I can’t stop wondering why a person with so much to live for would do such a selfish and horrible thing. I know there are many reasons for someone taking there on life, but this one seemed unjust (?). I just can’t wrap my mind around it and it breaks my heart when I think of his family.
    Even though I don’t know you, it breaks my heart to know what you must have (and still are) going through. I wanna give you a hug. (10 points for creepiness! i know)

  11. candy says:

    I forgot to say sister that you are much love over here too. blessings to you and your family.

  12. cantsay says:

    I find myself a different person with a different outlook due to my circumstances for the last 15 years. Now when I hear of people and situations that are sad I wonder why it happen to someone who wants so badly to go on and live. Why these deaths didn’t happen to me or someone who doesn’t want to go on. I don’t think I can kill myself because I have kids although there are times when nothing really matters. But…if I could exchange places with one of these brave people who fight on and have so much to live for I would do it in a heartbeat. When I hear people say that something is not fair I agree with them but for the opposite reason. I don’t need or want another 20 years. Someone else who needs it or wants it more should have it.

  13. Sister Wolf says:

    cantsay – Hang in there for your kids. You are already brave, every single day. xoxo

  14. Sister Wolf says:

    Jessica – I don’t think it was selfish – he must have felt there was no other choice, even though he was wrong. I accept the hug, with no creepiness points whatsoever!

  15. ali says:

    kiss to your broken heart.

  16. Lucy says:

    Wow, what an incredible blog to read.
    I am moved by Chrissie’s words, her pain, and her consistent suffering.
    Everyone should be given the right to die with dignity.
    Thankyou Sister Wolf, for sharing this. <3

  17. bengshie says:

    chrissie’s blog deeply moved me.

    thanks so much for sharing this, sister wolf.

  18. Ebeth says:


    I just came across your blog not really knowing anything about it or you. I came to read this post and makes me realize we are meant to read some things accidental or not. My older brother was a quadaplegic for 20 years. He was in a car accident at the age of 24 and after 3 months of marriage. He for the most part had a pretty good sense of humor and tried to live his new life the best way he could. His wife stayed with him until the end and took care of him everyday. He decided the last time he got really sick again from chronic respiratory problems he had been having that he did not want to live anymore. He was given a feeding tube and that was one of the last enjoyable things for him (eating). He had enough of this life and wanted to go and didn’t want to tell us until right before he was given massive amounts of morphine to die. My parents of course didn’t want this for him and my Dad will never understand or be ok with it but I always understood not that it makes it any easier when you love someone. Thanks for posting this…

  19. Monica says:

    It really, really, really, really bothers me when people call suicide selfish. It’s selfish to call suicide selfish. Like, you’re alive, you choose to be alive, and as Victor Frankl says, are you WORTH your suffering? The crushing trauma of losing someone to suicide (for me, I don’t even have to know the person to have it upset me deeply) has got to be unimaginably horrible, but we are alive, and thus, we have chosen to take on the task of, at the very least, processing things like this. Suicide comes from a million different sources, and how could one being ever hope to measure one against the other? However, I believe there is one thing in common with people who are suicidal: Hopelessness. For someone to call it selfish, to me, is an act of selfishness.

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