It’s not possible to want to live another day. There have been too many days in a row filled with suffering.
It’s what she thought as she stood over the Hennepin Avenue bridge. She looked into the dark water on an unusually warm evening in early April.
Everything had gone sideways in less than 3 weeks. A complete pandemic, named Covid-19 had broken out in the world. Everyone was quarantined. People were staying home.
She was walking on a bridge. With every intention of jumping off of it.
Last night she’d lost a patient to Covid-19 and watched his entire family grieve their death through a glass wall.
The day before she’d received a call that her sister, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 had gone into early labor, and during the emergency delivery procedure died. She couldn’t be there. All international travel was halted and she couldn’t get to Italy.
These were her personal touch points which were too much to handle, but for weeks she’d been ingesting the information.
Thousands of people were dying. This wasn’t going to end anytime soon. Life was altered indefinitely, forever.
The last length of this plank was when she stepped out for her break from the hospital tonight.
She saw a man and his daughter walking towards the hospital. He pulled at the girl’s arm quickly with great force, then said,
“I can’t do this with you right now, you’re too much”.
A flood of everything hit her in that moment and she remembered it had been too many days in a row filled with suffering since she was 5 years old.
She had 15 minutes on break. Enough for a cigarette, but she didn’t smoke like a lot of the others.
It wasn’t a long walk from HCMC to the Hennepin bridge. And once she was there it was eerily quiet. No cars. No bikes. No people. She was listening to her favorite Spotify playlist.
She looked into the dark water on this unusually warm evening in April.
In fact it was 65 degrees. It was going to snow on Sunday. Easter Sunday, and Passover on Thursday and all the things where people would meet and come together and they couldn’t. No one could come together.
She attentively took off her key card and lanyard, her headphones, her jacket with a pen tucked into the lapel, and gently placed them on the ledge over the railing. She stepped closer to the rail almost ready to step on it.
A brush of wind hit her. She felt some kind of magic in the air. She settled at the railing looking into the dark water. There is a place where nothing better than death exists. She’d known it and felt it before. But tonight wasn’t it.
She turned around and walked away. Determined to rent a car and drive up to Michigan to hug her parents one last time. To tell them in person how much she loved them. To be alive and do things differently. To start fresh.
She walked away from the bridge.
Two hours later, a biker rode by the same spot noting the items she’d left and called the emergency hotline to let them know, in case someone went missing.
Maybe she’d jumped over the side.
He texted a friend,
“It was real sad to see that stuff just lying there on the cold steel above the river.”
Her key card and lanyard, her headphones, her jacket with a pen tucked into the lapel, everything she’d placed so gently on the ledge over the railing, was evidence of her freedom.
She’d definitely jumped.