I actually got quite graphic, thinking about this. If you rented a room in a hotel and slit your wrists in the bathtub, at least it wouldn’t be such a personal statement as hanging yourself from a ceiling fan above the bed of someone you knew. A dead body in a bloody bath would be a horrifying sight for someone, say the hotel maid, to walk in on, but it wouldn’t be about her; she could call the manager, security, the police and be done with it. Not like poor David, who had to cut his friend down from the fan above his bed.
I’d known other suicides, Big Al from dance, for instance, who’d gone out and hung himself in the woods where a stranger had come upon his tall, heavy body dangling from a tree. In Big Al’s case, it had been depression and, I suspect, the arid joylessness of living a life that was no longer quite his. I’d painted him a year or so before his suicide and he’d told me about a drunken car chase after a gig (he was a drummer), how at three in the morning he’d thought it would be great fun to put the pedal to the metal and go all out with screaming sirens and flashing police lights behind him. After that his life had gone downhill, no more booze or weed because he was being monitored, a stint in a psychiatric unit, heavy meds that turned him from a vibrant, fun loving guy who used to run around the dance floor singing opera into a kind of zombie. Someone said that if he’d been allowed the weed, he’d still be here today.
Apparently in Jane’s case, it had also been depression (well, perhaps it always is). She’d lost her husband a few years before, and perhaps it was then that she’d started planning. As I said, I didn’t really know her, but she seemed like an intelligent woman who organized her life carefully. I was told that she waited for her elderly parents to die before carrying out her own plan and that she’d discussed her intentions openly with friends and with her sister, to whom she’d brought her little dog a few days before she hung herself. She just didn’t want to be here anymore and didn’t see why she shouldn’t have the freedom to choose the time and means of her own death. My question still was, why do something so gruesome in her friend’s bedroom?