In 1992, 1993 and 1994, I dated a woman named Kathy, who was a critical care nurse at an Oklahoma City hospital. Kathy suffered from various emotional difficulties, including depression.
In February 1994, she killed herself at her home in Norman, Oklahoma. After her death, her parents were kind enough to give me a copy of her short journal, which I only then learned was in the form of letters to me.
22 Nov 92 (in my journal)
Sometimes it scares me when I realize that I have allowed you to see how vulnerable I am. It is much safer to keep the strong, clinical mask on. I am frequently (heck, nearly always) more comfortable listening to the cares of others than I am admitting that I have needs. It is hard for me to remember that it is okay to be needy sometimes. You are impossible to be dishonest with. Is that an advantage or not? You are also fun. I am glad you are my friend. I care about you. K
8 Dec 92
Dear Richard – well, I have to address my thoughts to someone and I am definitely past the age when one invents imaginary playmates. So I write this as if it were a letter to you. You will probably never read it, but it helps to have a focus. So. Enough. This is Tues. night/Wed. morning. It is 0120 but I have not yet unwound enough to fall asleep.
Monday (7th Dec.) I went back to J. G. for a massage. He seems to also have a gift for T.A. type counseling, which is interesting. I told him to coddle me instead of using all deep [illegible] stuff & for once, he was happy to do that. He gave a very nice massage and asked some interesting questions.
“What makes you so angry and tense?” “Well, fear, of course.” “Fear of what?” And I said, “I’m afraid no one will ever love me again, and I will be alone all my life.” And I started to cry. Why was I talking about THAT in front of a relative stranger? I guess I am just desperate. I’ll give life one more year before I hang it up. (I say this every year.) I know no single men who want a relationship with me and too many married ones who do.
I am pushing 40 (God, is that scary.) I will probably never be able a child. Why? God made me pretty, really smart and reasonably talented. Should this not be passed on? (Who cares. I want a baby. That’s all.)
Why is it that those of us that long for death, and pray nightly for it, live so long? I don’t want to grow old alone.
Let me die, early morning
Oh bitter tears
Don’t believe any more
Don’t believe – no one hurries home
To call me baby – lonely woman
Everybody knows, everybody knows –
But no one knows.
I just can’t listen to Laura Nero [sic] any more. It hurts too much.
LET ME DIE. IN MY SLEEP IF POSSIBLE. THANK YOU. AMEN. (tomorrow would be okay.)
He never listens to me.
10 Dec 92
You called me earlier (well, actually, it was still 9th Dec when you called.) How nice of you. You are doubtless one of the nicer people I have ever known. I do object to the term “dour” though. Sad, depressed, unhappy, despairing all work, but dour indicates someone who is incapable of feeling or expressing affection and that is just not me. I played your tape today and it doesn’t suck. Thank you.
I will make a list now.
Attributes of a potential life partner. (These are not necessarily in order)
1. Ability to show affection
2. Good self esteem
4. Sense of humor
5. Not fat or impotent
7. Must think I’m beautiful (at least sometimes)
8. Must be beautiful to me ( at least sometimes )
9 . Honest re: feelings able to communicate same
10. Belief in God (not necessary for beliefs to coincide with mine exactly)
11. Taller than me (this one’s a cinch)
12. Has own teeth (absolute must)
13. Has hair on head (decided preference but perhaps negotiable if many other qualities present)
14. Must be cuddly
15. Not too squeamish
16. Not less than 10 years or more than 5 years of my age (I will live a long time)
17. Wants kids, but won’t hate me if I can’t produce same
18. No tobacco or drugs (mild ETOH on social level ok )
19. Must love me
Well, God, I think that’s about it. (Don’ t want too much, do I?)
Persons with some of these qualities: (also must be single now)
JM (not a candidate, but does fit on list) G’night.
14 Dec 92 (in my journal)
I slept better last night than I have all week, dreams notwithstanding. You are very comfortable to be with. I woke up hungry this morning. Is that of any significance? Jesus, those cookies look good. The last time I ate lunch at Misal I rode in the back of M.A.’s rental car, and, unbeknownst to M. A., someone had been sick on the floorboard of the car in back. It looked very like dal. I didn’t especially enjoy my lunch that day. KG.
25 Dec 92
1230 a.m. (or 0030)
Just home from work, have to get up at 0500. No family, no Christmas dinner, no church, no nuthin (sp on purpose.) Worst Christmas of my life but I am handling it better than last REALLY yucky Christmas. Still – sad, teary, guilty (after all, could be worse my unit is full examples.) No presents for me till later [illegible] gorgeous creche figure. One doctor asked me today are you always in charge. Smiled & said no, it only seems that way. More later.
31 Dec 92 (in my journal)
This new year will be much better than the one we are finishing up tonight. I am glad to think that, so I refuse to believe that it might not be. I wish I didn’t have to work tomorrow. K
7 Feb 93 (in my journal)
I had really hoped we could get together tonight. I have missed you. This new schedule is great in some ways, but I have become a real wimp for late night frolics. Even not-so-late night frolics. One of the reasons I agreed to work today was in hope of seeing you tonight. I am really glad you are here. K 1055 p.m.
P. S. You look very nice in that tawny gold plaid flannel shirt. And thank you for putting up with my early music. K
22 Sep 93 0200
Well, much later – hah. Hi, Richard – glad you got my card & like same. New house (since last entry) new job, same old angst. Oh, well. Pretty good day got new CABG/AUR & after a few bobbles (why don’ t they warm these guys more?) got him pretty well tuned by 2200. Good. I like it when my critical patients get better. Nice guy, too.
Hope my car is well by tomorrow. I feel like I’m driving a blue colored aluminum beer can – silly rental car with no solidity to it ugh. I am thinking of you, wishing you were here.
New list of potential life partners: (Can’t even think now of who some of these people were obviously they were merely flash-in-the-pan, unmemorable, etc.)
S. Nickel (sp?)
R. Rogers (sort of)
OnIy singles I can think of that I’d consider.
Now how about what I have to offer
great (at least real good) body
easy to be with
good in a crisis
accepting of other POV than my own
Gee, I sound like a real find. Notice I ignored all my character deficits.
We’ll get to the deficit side later.
Who do I love:
My family (all 15 or 20 of ’em)
Michael & Thea
Michael & Mary
Mike B, Kim & offspring /oh, yeah! Joe G.
Too late to write, too early to sleep. Will try anyway. Kiss yourself & know it’s from me.
18 oct 93 0200
I am just not a good journal keeper. Life is rather difficult for me now, Richard. Food is difficult, sleep is very difficult, energy low, no hope for future. (this, of course probable cause for above problems – the no hope thing.) If I live to be forty and am still alone, I think I will interfere with my destiny. That’ s a nice way to put it, isn’ t it? [Editor’s note: she was 43 when she wrote this.]
“Let me die, early mornin’ – oh, bitter tears.”
9 Nov 93
OK! All you supercilious, condescending, holier-than-thou, self-helpers, you speakers of platitudes (“Get a life, get a grip, don’t let yourself be affected by externals, let go and let God, find a direction,” etc etc etc.) You have no idea of my life. You know NOT ONE IOTA of the pain I live with daily. You are NOT forced to live my life. So LAY OFF. If God wants me to be alone and miserable the rest of my life, so be it. Duration is one variable I can control, if I choose.