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hanging in there

December 10, 2013

When family, friends and neighbours ask Jude and me how we’re doing of late, we usually just tell them we’re hanging in there.  They understand.  They know we’re not at our best as we struggle with Jin’s death, but seemed cheered that we’re doing better than the other end of the spectrum: not hanging in there.

Two things about his departure have really stuck with us.  The first is how many other families have been affected by suicide.  When we were actively spreading the word about Jin, lots of people — from those we know well to new folks — shared a similar story.  That was both comforting and disturbing.  I’m glad they told us, though.  I hope it helped them with their struggle.

The second is how hard it is to avoid images of the Golden Gate Bridge, especially if you watch a lot of TV like we do.  Just after Jin died, we were watching Community, a very funny NBC series.  The bridge appeared in back-to-back episodes we’d recorded, once in a background painting, once in a scene satirizing Dr. Who.

As an avid San Francisco 49ers fan, I know it shows up in every televised home game because it’s part of the inevitable four-shot package: the bridge, Alcatraz, a cable car and the repeatedly S-shaped Lombard Street.  Fortunately, we somehow missed it during Sunday’s Seattle – 49ers game, probably because everyone on our couch (Jude and I) was righteously pitted against two Seahawks fans on the other couch.

The iconic status of the bridge requires that it be destroyed in one out of every three disaster films.  Luckily for us, we’re willing to pass on nine out of ten of them, so the odds are in our favour in this matter.

Two of our friends have commented that they’ll never think of the bridge in the same way again.  Amen to that.  That Jude and I will forever link it to Jin’s death is another sad aspect of the situation.  The bridge is one of the most spectacular sites on the planet.  The views of San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and the rest of the Bay (including two other bridges) are breath-taking.  To me, it’s the perfect balance of art and technology, the world’s largest, most functional and most resplendent sculpture.

So we turn away from the bridge and seek solace elsewhere.  I find consolation in tending to the chickens.  Day after day, despite my mood, they greet me with the same question: “Do you have any food for me?”  And dusk after dusk, when I go out to lock them up, I stop between the house and coop to marvel as night pulls its dark blanket over the farm.  Sometimes I forget to take a flashlight with me, so I do a touch count of the girls on the roosts.  Each one squawks in varying pitches, so I think of them as a feathered xylophone.  I’m learning “Chopsticks” first.

  1. December 11, 2013 5:14 pm

    Oh no. No words. Just sorry. How awful for Jude, and for you. Thank goodness you have each other to lean on.

    • December 16, 2013 9:21 am

      We appreciate your thoughts, Kate. And we couldn’t make it through this without each other.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    December 16, 2013 1:40 pm

    I’ve thought of both of you often these past weeks when I too see pictures of the bridge. Your writing captures the pain for the rest of us and somehow provides release. Wish the chickens good night for me.

    • Gordon permalink
      December 16, 2013 1:42 pm

      Someday I’ll master blog technology and foresake my anonymous tag line. Seems like it used to remember me. But then again,I may not remember. Thinking of both of you.

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