I think it’s time for my first serious blog. I’ve intended to keep this thing as light as possible but last week I had an experience that needs to be written about, and it’s not the lightest material. But still, I feel a need to write about it, so here we go.
On Sunday the 25th, I was headed home from visiting Carisa (aka I accidentally locked myself out of my apartment just as a huge thunderstorm was starting so I had no choice but to taxi cross-town and hang out with her until my roommate got home) when I decided I wanted a Starbucks. So I took the route from the train to the one 2 blocks from my house. As I rounded the corner onto 85th street, I noticed several ambulances and a crowd of people at the end of the block (in front of my Starbucks.) I didn’t think TOO much of it, as ambulances are as frequent as piles of garbage in NYC. I noticed people looking up, and thought hmmm… maybe a fire or something? Like most people my curiosity gets the best of me and I am drawn to these massive crowds. I walked up and noticed that people looked very serious, and very upset. I asked the girl closest to me what was going on. “Somebody jumped” was her response. This is when I really noticed the scene directly across the street from me at Starbucks. The courtyard was roped off with police tape, and from where I stood I saw a lower half of a body lying motionless on the ground behind the half-wall in front of the store. “Did you see it??” I asked, suddenly overcome with nausea. “No, but I heard it. I live right here, across the street, and I heard a loud thud and came out to see. You can see him!” She pointed out what I was already looking at. Just at that moment the paramedics came over with the white sheet to cover him. People were pointing at different windows on the building directly above the Starbucks, trying to figure out exactly where he came from. There were people hanging out of windows in that building looking down on what happened. Everyone passing by stopped. Even children were asking “what happened”? It was by far the most awful sight I’ve come across in all of my time in NYC thus far. The scene was chilling, and even the officers didn’t really seem to know what to make of it… It took me a long time to get myself to move, and I had to cross the street and pass RIGHT by the courtyard as I headed home. I couldn’t peel my eyes away and even though I knew it would upset me I looked over at the sheet-covered body as I walked right past it. I also passed the table with the witnesses who were being interviewed by police… and thought to myself “THOSE poor women will never be the same.” Had I arrived 10 minutes earlier, I would have been one of them. I always drink my coffee in that courtyard. I thank GOD that I was not there for that.
It haunted me for days. I searched the internet like crazy for any news on this person. There is barely anything. One tiny blurb from the Post. His name was Todd Crockett. He was 37 years old. He was married. He was quiet and kept a clean apartment. He jumped from the 17th floor. He left no suicide note.
Suicide happens every day, I know. And I know jumpers are quite common in NYC. But this is the first time I’ve encountered it THIS up close and personal, and I can’t help feeling like I need to know WHY. What happened that was SO drastic in this guy’s life that plunging 17 stories into a populated Starbucks courtyard seemed to be his only option? I wish there was some explanation. Yea, it was a crappy day. It was rainy and depressing and hot. But I jus t can’t seem to fathom what can get someone to THAT point… where they are standing on the ledge of their 17th floor apartment window and the only decision that seems to make sense in a moment of utter panic, pain and confusion is to jump and take your own life? It makes me feel SO sad for him. I have seen and felt the kind of pain that makes you feel like you can’t go on. I’m sure most of us have had similar moments. But in making it through them, and then experiencing the precious moments of sheer joy that you also get to have throughout life… those are the moments that make you realize what a gift this one chance at life is… and the fact that someone would rob themselves of that, it just breaks my heart. YES times can get rough. Your heart gets broken so many times in one lifetime! But it only breaks because it has been filled with such love and joy for someone/something, and that in itself is a miraculous gift. The fact that we can love, that we can experience happiness on such incredible levels. That wonderful people and events come into our lives and fill our hearts with elation. You can’t always hold on to the things you treasure forever, but the fact that you ever had something to treasure should be enough to make you want to go on and find the rest of the gifts life holds for you. I feel very sad that this man Todd lost sight of that. That he felt there was nothing left for him. He was only about 10 years older than me. I personally cannot wait to see what life has in store for me in the next 10 years and beyond, God-willing.
So in memory of this man who left life way too soon, stop and take a second to examine all of your blessings. Take a mental note of all of the love in your life. Your family, your friends, your loves past and present. Hug all of those people and tell them you love them. Even if it’s just in your blog. (NOTE: Hugs and love to ALL of my family, friends and loves past.) Cherish your life. And when you feel like you’re sitting on the edge and can’t seem to figure out a way to get off of it (hopefully METAPHORICALLY, don’t anyone reading dare to actually get on a ledge!), stop- take a breath- think of whatever it is that you love. Your dog or cat, your parents or siblings, a joke that a friend told you, McDonalds Cinna-melts. Remember that life is full of incredible moments that balance out the bad ones. And remind yourself that you want to stick around for more of those.
Rest in Peace Todd- I’m sorry that it got so bad you could see no other way.