Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Working mother suicide

The headline blasts my eyes from the front page of tonight's London Paper: Suicidal Mother's Final Text http://www.thelondonpaper.com/thelondonpaper/news/london/city-lawyer-sends-final-tragic-text-before-throwing-herself-in-thames. An inquest today has ruled that a successful lawyer, a working mother with three daughter's, a year younger than me, committed suicide by throwing herself into the Thames at Richmond. The reason given - she was struggling to balance a career with family life. She was believed to have been perhaps suffering from post-natal depression.

I am at a loss to understand any of this.

Here is a tragedy indeed. I read the story torn between pity and horror.

A depressed woman, struggling, unhelped? It beggars belief.

A mother of three children preferring death? I cannot encompass this in a thought. It is too much to process.

Things come to mind. Toni Morrison writing about slaves who killed their children rather than see them be taken in slavery. More unthinkable information.

And today, a woman is so overwhelmed by emotions I cannot pretend to understand, and prefers to annihilate herself. I struggle to see this as a selfless act and yet I want to. I cannot believe that she could see beyond herself, blinded by her depression and its mental and physical anguish.

I look at the picture and she is a million working women that I know. And yet buried under a depression so deep that she cannot take a further step on this earth and chooses to plunge to her death.

How can this degree of pain and illness pass undetected?

I am not a religious person but a prayer comes to mind. God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.

I pity Catherine Bailey. I am aghast at her act. I pray her children will find a way to understand and forgive their mother, and that their lives will not be affected by this act.

Though I wonder if that is possible.


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