Since I’m talking about things that happened while I was recovering from shoulder surgery, side-lined and incapacitated, in a sleepy, drug-induced haze, I must tell you about a shocking event that I read about online. I was wandering around Facebook when I saw this entry: “Jane died suddenly this afternoon.”
What? I knew Jane, though not well. She was a thin, quiet woman from our dance community who had a small, curly blond dog she took everywhere with her and who always seemed a little sad and delicate. I imagined she was in her early fifties, too young and fit for a sudden death, unless she’d had an accident. Immediately I thought that was probably it, she’d died in a car accident, perhaps somewhere out in the country, racing along narrow winding roads with her little dog on the seat beside her.
But there was no mention of an accident or of anything else that may have caused Jane’s death. Just those tantalizing words, Jane died suddenly this afternoon, along with details of a gathering a few days later to celebrate her life. I was still too out of it to leave my house to attend any kind of gathering, so I got on the phone with a friend of mine who was always in the know and learned that Jane had hung herself in the bedroom of the person whose house she lived in, a man I’ll call David. These two were close friends, not lovers. Jane had been renting a room from David for about a year and together they had enjoyed a life of solitude, long discussions into the night, hikes with their dogs, books and music, yoga in Zilker Park, and of course, always the dance with its hypnotic music that transported you to other places, other worlds.
When I heard about the suicide, I thought: How selfish can you be? Why do something like that in someone’s room? Why not go someplace impersonal and private like the woods or a hotel?