Why did you kill yourself? Suicide is now considered an act of self-determination. But little is said about the bereaved. How do you live after the loss?
When Mamata learns of Ute’s death, she goes into the bathroom and throws the toothbrush into the trash can. “Now she doesn’t need it anymore.” That is her first reaction. “I was in a vacuum, like in a trance. Everything seemed so surreal to me. I just couldn’t believe Why did you kill yourself? Details note on Suicide and a suicide storyit. I couldn’t believe it. Why? Why did she do it?”
19 months ago, Mamata’s partner committed suicide. She plung into a canal and drowns. 60,000 people kill themselves in India every year, more than ten times as many try and survive. Overall, more people die here from suicide than from traffic accidents, murder, homicide, illegal drugs and AIDS combined. At least six relatives, like Mamata, are directly affected by suicide, which is 60,000 survivors a year. Behind these whole numbers: destinies that remain in the dark. Desperate spouses, broken families, mourners who feel left alone. There is a lot of public talk about suicide. If celebrities like MDR director Udo Reiter or the writer Wolfgang Herrndorf self-determinedly leave life, as it is then called, journalists analyze motives. But nobody speaks about the fates of the bereaved, especially when the dead are not familiar faces. The people who commit suicide are mostly embedded in a social environment, they are surrounded by friends, family, children and colleagues. For those who leave, suicide may be an act of self-determination. But what about those who stay, who have to find a way to live after the loss? Is there something like self-determination for them or does suicide determine everything?
Mamata has often wondered if she could have prevented Ute’s death, if she was to blame, if she had failed. Should she have noticed that Ute no longer wanted? Mamata, 48, a communications agency employee, goes through Ute’s every moment of her life again and again. “Ute just came into my life like that,” she says. “I met her at a party and it sparked immediately. Suddenly she was there. Ute was so lively, she took up every room with her kind. Nobody could escape her charisma, her laughter.”
Mamata hesitates. The blonde chin-length hair falls on her face. She sits at home, at the dining table. At the dining table, where she used to sit with Ute so often. When she talks to her partner from the first day, the last comes to mind. This one Friday. The last conversation, the last touch, the last intimate look. She had felt that Ute had been unhappy lately. Ute had started drinking, her restaurant was going badly. “You’re not hurting yourself?” Mamata says to her one evening on the balcony. Ute pulls on her cigarette, sways. “I don’t do that, darling.” The next morning Mamatssa has a doctor’s appointment, she hesitates. “Should I rather stay here?” She asks her partner. No, no, Ute answers again, go calm. “Well, I’m in a hurry.
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