Friday, July 28, 2006

I don't have the words.....

I'm not sure how to write this post. I don't know where to begin. Or where to end.
Maybe by writing this, it will help me deal with some of the thoughts and feelings that keep running through my mind.
I got a phone call today from a friend of mine. She wanted to know if I had heard about the girl. I asked what girl and she said the one who committed suicide. The Orthodox St. Louis girl. She wanted to know if I knew her. I almost didn't want to know but I asked anyway. Who was it?
"Sarah Adelman".
It was like someone punched me. I couldn't really believe it at first. She was my age. A grade younger than me in school. We weren't close but I knew her. I spent 10 years in school with her. She was always so friendly and sweet.
And now she is dead? She committed suicide? It didn't make sense.
My friend forwarded the article to me from the New York Post. Here is the link: Upper West Side Suicide

I read the article. Once. Twice. Three times. I felt sicker everytime that I read it. But it was so hard to believe that it was true. That kind of stuff doesn't happen. Certainly not to people we know. But there it was. In black and white. With her smiling face staring out at me. Her roommate was quoted at the bottom of the article - I know her. I was friends with her. We took tap dance together. This is too close to home.

I can't stop thinking about it. About her. About all the things she will never do. Or never do again. I keep thinking about how can someone be so miserable in life that they will jump out of their 8th story window?? What are they thinking right before hand? She called a friend of hers before she jumped. To say goodbye and that she loved him. He begged her not to do it. She was writing the note while they were on the phone. I guess the note said where she lived and DNR - Do not resusicate.
She had been depressed for awhile but no one thought it was that bad. I understand now how depression can truly be an illness. No one just jumps out of a window - in the middle of the afternoon. She must have been suffering so badly. Maybe she isn't suffering anymore. I don't know. I don't know what happens now.
But I keep thinking of her family. Everyone knows the Adelmans. That has to be the worst thing in the world. To have a child die. Not only to die but to take their own life. How does a parent handle that? How does a mother deal with that? Oh G-d, the agony. We should never know such sadness and grief. I pray that her family is somehow able to go on and able to survive. I don't know how someone recovers from that.
Her younger sister married another St.Louis boy. They live in Israel. Her parents called to tell her she had to come home. That her sister was killed. But they didn't say how. Because how do you tell someone that.
I spoke to a couple friends that went to the funeral. They said it was terrible. Everyone was crying. Yes, I know many people cry at funerals. But there is crying. And then there are heartwrenching sobs. My friend said it was the hardest thing she has ever done. In her life.
St. Louis is in shock. How does a community get over this? I guess eventually they do. But I imagine it will take years. Decades maybe.
I remember the year I spent in highschool at Block in St. Louis. They had moved the girls to a new building. Right near the mall. We would often walk to the mall during our lunch break or a free period. On that walk to the mall, we passed a tall office building. And I remember hearing about a boy who commited suicide off that building. A yeshiva bochur. Everytime we walked past that building, I would look at it and almost get chills. And that wasn't even someone I knew.
I asked another friend who was closer to her if she knew she was depressed. And she said she knew that she felt very pressured. All of her close friends were married, most with at least one child. Her younger sister was married. And she couldn't find someone. The pressure to get married was a lot for her. I don't know if it was internal or external or both. But maybe this will be an eye-opener. There is so much pressure on girls to get married. 25 is not an old maid. Far from it. That's something to keep in mind.

I can't stop thinking about her. I can't stop thinking about her friends and her family and how awful they must feel. Awful for the loss and awful that it didn't have to happen. It shouldn't have happened. I am sure they are going to have to deal with so many different emotions. And I feel for the boy who broke up with her on Sunday night. I know that isn't why she jumped. But it was probably the last straw. But I don't envy that poor boy and what he is going through. And her roommate, Aviva. They grew up together. They were best friends and roomates. They saw each other every day. I know she is not dealing with this. I can't even begin to imagine what her mother is going through. I wish them all strength and peace. To everyone that this affects.
I feel like I should be doing something. I feel like I should have done something. Maybe that's crazy. I mean, I don't know when we last spoke to each other. I wish we were closer. I wish I had been there for her. I don't even know what I wish. I just feel so bad.
I don't know what else there is to say.

One of the things I heard that was said by the Rabbi of the Young Israel in St. Louis. He and his wife were both teachers of mine. In more than one grade. And I know they taught Sarah, too.
He said the Torah teaches us "V'Ahavta L'erayacha Kamocha - Love Your Neighbor as Yourself." We are all supposed to love our friends the way that we love ourselves. But what do you do if you don't love yourself?
That was an amazing thing about Sarah. She was able to love her friends so much and always greet people with a big smiling face. She was able to truly love her friends.......... even though she didn't love herself. She was able to really take care of her friends. Even though she was hurting so badly inside. Hurting more than any of us can know.

Poor Sarah. May she finally rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

I am a 27 orthodox professional who has lived in nyc for the past 6 years. My biggest complaint about married friends is that they just move away and are barely heard from again. I know not everyone knows someone to set me up with; however, most people are capable of inviting someone for Shabbos. And I'm not talking about an open-ended invitation -- 'call me whenever' -- but actually pick up the phone and ask them to join you for a specific shabbos.

Anonymous said...

Depression hurts. I wish it did not take something like this to make people know that.

The next time you (not you, but anyone) see someone who is depressed, talk to a professional about what you can do. Sometimes just saying hello can lift a person out of the rut.

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St. Loser said...

thanks for that post...

from another st. louisan

(too young to have heard the yeshiva bochur suicide story though, when was that??)

Anonymous said...

As a dear friend of Sarah's who spoke with her several times in the days before her death I just want to say thank you for saying everything that we have all been feeling and thinking....everything I have been unable to put down on 'paper' myself.

She was very very private about her depression, and it has been difficult watching it become SO public in the end.

I would like to say that Sarah was clinically depressed, and though her depression was expressed most vividly through her uneasiness regarding marriage, it was only an expression of her depression. She could have focused her inner sadness on any other aspect of life, this was simply the outlet it took shape in.

I will always love her dearly.

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! » »

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