The Victim


I never took issue with the fact that we die. Friends of mine would often complain (during those drunken cottage nights) that if in the end there isn’t an afterlife then the whole trip isn’t worth taking. I imagine this may be what goes through the mind of a suicide victim right before the end…

“Suicide victim?” Does that make sense? Are they still Victims?

Victims are the ones who are enduring the hardships put upon them….wait that’s not right. Let me Google this….

Okay got it, VICTIM:

a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.

Hmmm, I suppose that would still apply… an action that causes someone to die would cover the suicide. However I’ve always felt the people who suicide harms the most are the people that are left behind, those are the real Victims aren’t they? Does that mean I’m a victim? I was left behind.

I’ve never been worried that there may not be an afterlife either. People will argue that without a heaven then what’s the point of life but I don’t get why the movie sucks just cause there are no end credits? It doesn’t mean the time you spent watching the movie can’t still be enjoyable. So long as the life you’re living is actually enjoyable, not disease ridden and cold… like how it was with mom. Funnily enough I think the first time I noticed something was wrong was after she got sick.

When my mom got sick my brother Thomas and I spent every waking minute with her at the hospital. After dad passed away she took a strong interest in our lives and seeing that neither Thomas nor I had significant others it was easy to repay the favour when she needed us. It wasn’t easy either, the actual hospital was all the way downtown meaning if we were driving it was at least an hour, not that I’m looking for credit but…ya. When mom got sick I remember Thomas taking it really hard, not unusual of course, but so did the nurses, Doctors and hospital staff.

I know what you’re thinking, maybe they knew her or were mirroring sympathy for us, no it wasn’t like that. I love my mom but she’s not an angel, something felt weird about how much they cared about her… look – I’m not explaining this right, let me try this way:

When people get sick it’s a hospitals job to cure then, or help them or make them comfortable until they pass. They deal with this stuff day in day out, there is literally nothing that will surprise a seasoned Doctor – they’ve seen it all – but for whatever reason the effect my mother had on the entire hospital was like a drug, I have never seen nurses care the way they did. Many, many times Thomas and I would come into her room to see not one or two nurses helping her but 5 or 6 of the staff (including Doctors) sitting around her talking, some had pulled up chairs, some were even sitting on the bed with her.

Thomas felt it was kind, and it was…but something about it seemed really wrong, not that it matters now.

When Mom passed Thomas and I took it hard. We both knew it was coming but no matter how much you mentally prepare it will still hit you. I got the call from the hospital and the nurse who told me was just wrecked, I could hear the tears through her shaking voice. As much as I was heartbroken I found a weird comfort in knowing that they’d go back to helping other patients – I dunno, that may sound weird.

I drove to the Hospital and when I pulled up I can still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach, not from the memory of my mom but from the flashing lights in the parking lot.

The brittle glass flecks cracked beneath my sneakers and I got out of the car and saw the blood stained ground behind the cordoned off police tape. At first I guess I thought it might be a patient, I rarely remember what I thought around this time anymore but I believe that was my guess, until I say the familiar blue of Scrubs sticking out from the bloody white sheet they had covered the jumper with. I turned away and stood there as part of the on looking crowd while they lifted the body and took it away. I do remember standing there for a long time before snapping out of it and heading inside.

The hospital staff was in tears when I arrived: all of them.

I want to stress that.

Every person I met while walking in and around the hospital was wrecked with tears. I assumed news of their dead college had travelled but something was off, the people crying were in and out of rooms, on the phones blubbering, in the elevators… then I saw the visitors crying too; sobbing over their cups of coffee, tears streaking down their faces as they walked past me – some even with new born babies. I went to the nurses station with an uncomfortable feeling and as she helped me get my mother’s things and fill out the paper work I felt the urge to ask her what was wrong, but I didn’t.

I think that’s my last major regret.

As I drove home I noticed things changing, cars we’re pulled over to the side of the road, people we’re leaning out crying, blubbering, punching things in pain, it felt otherworldly and I knew exactly where I needed to head.

When I got to Thomas’s apartment I nervously parked and headed towards the building. I think I was maybe 5 feet from the door? No, more like 15 cause there’s that overhang….

Either way I think I felt the blood on my face before I heard the body hit the pavement beside me.

To be honest, as I mentioned, my memory is fuzzy now but I remember she was old, mid to late sixties. I remember seeing bones sticking out of her neck – broken and off-white. I remember feeling sick and I remember not bring able to move right up until I heard another jumper hit the pavement to my right.

As I ran upstairs to Thomas’s apartment I could hear screams coming from the rooms on either sides of the hallway, screams of sorrow and pain, I could hear breaking glass and gunshots; one apartment even had blood seeping out through the bottom of the door. The world was in chaos and all I wanted to do was get to Thomas.

When I got to his apartment at the end of the hall the chain was on the door, I began pushing it, trying to use momentum to break it then I saw Thomas. I called out to him and he turned towards me, I could see his face through the slit in the door, his eyes wet with tears and the life in his eyes gone. For a second he just looked at me.

I think I meant to say, “No.” but I honestly don’t think the words left my mouth. The gunshot was muted by the door and as I clambered and clawed at the door frame I saw the last flick of Thomas’s eyes before he stopped breathing.

I stood back from the door; the hallway filled with sounds of terror, and turned to the large window at the end of the hallway. The city was quiet, peaceful almost, and yet I know now what had been happening in each and every one of those peacefully quiet households. It was the same thing that had been happening in the apartment building.

I don’t think I’m the last person alive by any means.

You could say I’m desensitized by the whole thing maybe, I’m sure I talk about it with a frankness that would make most people uncomfortable but hey – that’s life. I don’t know why everyone has killed themselves…that sounds almost funny to write. Everyone has killed themselves.

Everyone has ended their life.

Everyone is gone, but me.

They all left me.

I suppose one could argue that it’s me they wanted to get away from, or maybe I just didn’t get the memo to end it all…

And I’m not going to.

This was your selfish choice Thomas.

I’m the one with nothing left.

I’m the one that’s stuck without a brother.

You are not the Victim, I am.