The Night I Almost Died
By Kendra Holliday | August 12, 2017
If you have seen me since June 5 and are glad about it, then please thank my partner Matthew for saving my life. If you know him, shake his hand.
On June 4, after months of angst and confusion, I was ready to die by suicide. I loved life, but it was all too much to bear.
I’ve had many death fantasies over the years.
When I was homeless, I thought I had no place in this world and wanted to leave.
When I was a stripper, I felt trapped and helpless.
There was one job I hated so much, I used to fantasize about getting in a car accident on the way there.
In 2010/2011 when I was going through the hell of being fired and sued and almost losing everything I had – home, money, daughter, dignity – I contemplated suicide.
But the only time I’ve ever actually attempted suicide was as a teenager. I overdosed on a bottle of pills and ended up puking and having charcoal shoved down my nose by a tube and then locked in the psych ward for a month. So much stinging and tears. It was NOT a good environment for healing, but at least it removed me from the toxic chaos of my home life.
This year, I encountered something so unexpected, so intangible, it caught me completely off guard. I went into primal fight or flight mode. I didn’t know what it was, but I had to escape.
I was temporarily insane.
So, I started planning. I got my affairs in order. I made sure my life insurance papers were handy. I plotted out where it would be and what I would wear, and who would find my body. I created a soft nest in a safe place. I picked out a pretty nightgown. I built an altar around my safe place – surrounding it with photos of my daughter, my love voodoo bag, and the ashes of my friend.
I picked up the supplies I needed for ending my life painlessly and quickly. I know of an effective and accessible technique; I learned it from a scientist. Every time I hear of a person killing themselves by hanging, shooting, cutting, or overdose, I pity their suffering and wish they knew of this better, more humane method.
Glassy eyed and swollen, I made my rounds. I texted people I loved, and visited friends and family and hugged them. I saw my parents. I laid with my mother in her sick bed.
I dropped my daughter off and told her to remember these two songs for me:
Last, I visited Matthew. Since we have an open and honest relationship and I was out of my mind, I told him my plans.
Then I went home, where I sat down to take care of one more thing – my closing letter.
I got this far with it:
I’m so excited for this. I’ve been weeping and hot all week but cried with relief when I picked up my supplies. I’ve been cold all my life and now I’m so hot. I’m at peace to leave on my own terms, and then be cremated. A song of Ice and Fire. You can’t escape death, but you can do it on your own terms. Make it as painless and quick as possible. We live in a free country that is becoming less and less hospitable. I believe in sharing resources. I believe in love. I believe in pleasure, and live and let live….
I had been plagued with insomnia for so many months, I was ready to rest. Yes, I was afraid, but I thought of all my loved ones who have died before me – if they could do it, so could I. We all die, and I wanted my death to be in my control.
And then Matthew appeared. Of course he did.
He laid face-to-face with me in bed, staring into my eyes, like a great bearded guardian angel. His eyes have been one of the only things that can cut through my irrational fog of despair.
He took me home with him and put me in his bed. He fucked me. He quietly disposed of my supplies. He arranged for people to be with me the next two days while he was taking care of obligations.
Later he told me, “I accept your right to take your life, but I want you to be in your right mind when you do it.”
He admitted to being selfish for wanting me to stay with him, which is funny, because most people label suicidal people as selfish. That’s like calling a wolf selfish for killing a deer. For me, it was very primal, like the predator in me turning on the prey in me. In the moment, it felt like the natural order of things.
How did I get to that point? I’ll cover that in my next post.
Stephen 2017-08-13 01:57:40
“I accept your right to take your life, but I want you to be in your right mind when you do it.”
I’ve said this same sentiment, but not as succinctly or as directly. Thank you for these words, Matthew.
As a longtime reader, but still someone who barely knows you, I can only add this: I accept your right to take your life, but not until your daughter has a fully formed brain and sense of self (which as you know, usually occurs in the early to mid-20’s).
The loss of her beloved mother at just age 17 could create a lifetime of damage to her mental health, rather than just a lifetime’s sense of loss.
And I’d love to hear about this wonderful method of suicide, tho it’s probably illegal somehow for you to share it.
Selfishly, I’m glad you’re alive still, because this blog is so inspiring. But from what little I know about your life, I, too, will accept and defend your right to suicide yourself to escape from the mental anguish you’ve gathered over the years.
C Haines 2017-08-17 14:05:22
You would have left behind a lot of mourners, including me. And though you would be gone, suicide is contagious. You’ve touched so many lives, people who think of you as an inspiration. There would have been a higher casualty count than just you. For anyone who loves you, they’d have felt a stab in their heart that would never heal.
“We live in a free country that’s becoming less hospitable,” yeah, I understand that grief. On November 9th, I wrote a suicide letter. The thing that made me think twice was my damn cat and what would likely happen to her after I was gone. I couldn’t just drop her off with somebody then do the act. Then that made me think about other consequences. I was still depressed for several more day, but I never again contemplated suicide.
I know it isn’t just presidential election, but also that sexual, civil and women’s rights progress are being rolled back. This isn’t permanent. It will swing back, because as people’s lives worsen, they’ll change their minds about conservatism. We had to go through 1929 before we got to Roosevelt. (I hope it doesn’t have to get that bad.)
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