Never underestimate your reach

It is said that the average person has between 50 and 70 thousand thoughts on any given day.

I submit that when you are at the salon, the measure becomes “any given hour”.

Often during salon visits, I marvel at how my mind just ping pongs from thing to thing. I’m no expert meditator, but I HAVE become an expert at watching my mind just twist in the wind, and I guess I have no basis for comparison, but I believe my mind is quite a study in wow. I can travel across the Universe in an hour flat. Maybe you can too.

Today during beautification, in the span of one hour, I thought about my first boyfriend, what’s probably going to happen with that one client in that meeting, my first kiss, the Louvre… I never went in, but I was right there. Still burns me. That time I peeled out in my driveway when learning a stick shift. Trying to recall if Ruby is overdue for her shots. THE IRS. When does my passport expire? Should I buy those shoes? I should just buy the shoes. That one lady who jumped off the bridge. I wonder if her family expected it, or if it was a shock.

There were many more thoughts, probably about 64,397 if you wanna get technical.

But, the lady who jumped off the bridge.

When I worked at Amazon, I was in the Product Safety department. Sometimes products hurt people. Sometimes people buy products to hurt themselves.

Sometimes, over the course of a week, your life can slide a little sideways… it’s just not where you left it on Monday.

During one particular week I became familiar with websites where the chronically and terminally ill amongst us who are looking to suicide as an option, go for support. There are message boards upon message boards of questions, and conversations detailing how to kill yourself. When you’re going to kill yourself. Why you’re going to kill yourself. I was floored.

A few times that week, I did literally feel like I had to pick myself up off the floor.

These people are in their own living hell, and they want out. That’s their common denominator. Pain. The desire to die. It’s a punch to the heart.

I read many stories, but the one lady in London obviously stuck out. She had chronic, severe fibromyalgia, coupled with crippling depression, had it for years, and she was just done. She was fully in her right mind, I’ve no doubt. She was active in her community, supporting her fellow members, engaging in lengthy conversations regarding how she’d be offing herself on Thursday.

And then she did.

I worked on this case for a couple of weeks, and I followed that thread. She stopped talking on Thursday. By the weekend, someone added to the thread that they wondered if she’d done it.

And sure enough.

I don’t remember feeling happy or sad. I didn’t know her. But I felt like I understood her. And that it was easier for me to understand her because I didn’t know her. She wasn’t my sister or daughter or cousin. I did feel hugely affected though.

I felt like I really saw her. The fact that I saw her would not alleviate her pain of course, she’d probably have chosen the same path, but I wonder if she knew… really knew… her reach. All the people she affected. All the people who saw her.

It’s been about 4 years and I thought of her again today. I think of her periodically.

She definitely left her mark. I hope she knew. I hope she left that mark on purpose, just like she left this world. I hope she somehow knew that she meant something to me. To us.

Never underestimate your reach.