Before my rendezvous with death, I wanted to fulfill a commitment I’d made to my primary care physician, Dr. Jennifer Beach. I’d spilled my guts to her two weeks earlier about wanting to commit suicide. I’d promised her I wouldn’t do anything until I returned to see her this day. I didn’t owe Dr. Beach a thing, but she’d certainly earned my respect. She seemed like the only person who gave a damn about me, even if it was in her job description.
I entered the medical center and took a seat in the packed waiting room. Dr. Beach emerged, a mere seven minutes behind schedule. I rose and met her, one foot inside the “Patients Only” area. “Thank you so much for coming back to see me,” she said in a caring, compassionate voice. I forced a token smile.
She was proud of me for standing there in front of her—alive.
“Do you still feel suicidal?”
I nodded. She had a room full of patients in her outer office waiting to be processed, but my gesture froze time. I was the center of her universe.
As she looked at me, there was a powerful message in her eyes. So powerful, in fact, that it was epiphanic, and I continued to listen.
“If you’re set on this, then I’m obliged to help,” she confessed, foremost as a legal disclaimer but also as an act of compassion.
I could have lied about being suicidal and walked away, but I was tired of pretending. That’s all I’d done my entire life.
“Perhaps we can make a difference,” she continued. “What do you have to lose?”
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