I posted this video on Facebook a few weeks ago, not really knowing what to say in the comment section. I think I was hoping that posting it would help me to forget it and move on.
Sadly, it has not.
When I find myself laying awake at night, hearing the ring at its loudest, in the quiet hours between 2 and 4 am, I see Gaby Olthuis’ face. And I hear her story.
In case you’re unaware, Gaby was a 47-year-old mother of two and Tinnitus sufferer, who took her own life via doctor-assisted suicide, which is legal in the Netherlands.
She had tried everything in her power to escape the pain of T, short of one. This is her story:
Could you, would you?
The most unforgettable moment in the video, for me at least, is when she describes revealing her suicide plans to her children. I imagine the pain and anguish of having to tell my own sons that I have a terminal illness and won’t be there to see them graduate from high school, go on to college, start careers and families, become the strong and proud and brave men that I’m trying my hardest to shape them into.
And then I imagine what it would be like to stoically tell them that I won’t see any of those moments because I intend to die by my own hand.
In the video, she seems so calm, so resolute in her intentions. I suppose that’s because of the feeling she expresses at about the 10 minute mark in the video, “At a certain point, hope becomes exhausting”. She has accepted that there is no cure, no end to her suffering, and has decided to die.
Once you reach that point, what else is there to grieve?
There is Hope
I hope for better for us all (though maybe “better” is a value judgment that I should reserve). I hope for a cure. I hope for relief for all of you who have become part of this little community. And I hope this little community can become a place for you to feel comfort and safety among fellow sufferers.
And if you ever feel like you are inclined toward suicide, I hope you will take advantage of this community to vent your grief. We’re all in this together.
Also, if you feel like you might be nearing that point, please consult this global list of Suicide Hotlines.