I was told yesterday that a former colleague took her life shortly before Christmas. We weren’t very close friends, but we were certainly friends, and close enough to have been out drinking more than several times. This is an old poem of mine, but posted here for the first time, and for her.
And a reflection, because we always wonder at times like this what we could have said, or whether we could have made it clearer that we would have listened: make sure everyone you work with, however senior or junior to you they may be, knows that, if there’s no one else, they can talk to you without fear of judgment. Be an open person, and if that’s considered a weakness where you work, then do anything, however small, to change the workspace around you.
Pieces of broken bodies fall around me
Like funeral petals
Fallout from friendships
Faced with the nuclear option of my madness.
I gouge through gobs of flesh
That were once lips, dribbling easy promises,
Scouring for something so solid
As a splinter of bone to support my soul.
I laughed and you loved it,
And then I laughed too much and in the wrong places –
And I could not stop.
Down I dig through gristle hair and teeth
Scratching at sinew for a single fingerhold of empathy
There is a solid something
There is a noise that is not the scraping of my skull
But not here