tinkll1 (tinkll1) wrote,

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A Sad Discovery

She couldn't be found for the 40th reunion of Roosevelt High School, and I hadn't seen her since 1959. I suppose she would qualify as my first love, and, in a way, someone occupying that status finds a corner of the memory and sets up residence, an unfulfilled fantasy, or a ghost, never to be tested. It was with a feeling of foreboding that I felt compelled to search, via Google and genealogy, and these tools were enough to locate a death certificate and uncover a very, very sad story of great promise ending in suicide. It was not a surprise as there were signs of depression, but the confirmation and the details that emerged leave me with the feeling of great sadness, and an awareness that I have escaped a vortex that might have consumed me, as well.

So many questions that will never be answered, replaced by the numbness of eternity. Brilliant, pursued by many, unfulfilled, alone and isolated, unable to feel the warmth extended to her by so many, she gained no answers from mathematics, computers or fifteen years of the practice of psychology. No man, no friend, no science could save her from herself, though many tried.

We talked existentially before I knew of Sartre and Kierkegard, and she helped me to get my bearings. She sent me away to a journey of healing, the first in a series of very depressed women to cross my path, and the progenitor of a long shadow that didn't fade until I met my wonderful, beautiful wife, Lin. By rejecting me, she saved my life. She was clearly the wrong woman for me, no matter how much I wanted her, and there were many others after me, yet real contentment eluded her. She passed by the many hands that were offered to her, and now, she no longer feels the pain that drove her to repeated acts of desperation, and defied the best intentions of many good men.

This picture, taken when she visited her sister in Bellflower in 1955, was taken in the backyard of our home, on Orange Grove Avenue, and shows Rochelle, my sister, Linda, and Rochelle's nephew, Bobby. I had a most interesting conversation with her nephew, Joel, and niece, Janice. Janice said that Rochelle had never looked happier than when she wore a red dress and married another physician on January 1, 1981. On December 21, 1987, she drove from Palo Alto to Milpitas, checked into a hotel, with all of her possessions in her car, apparently including several letters that I had sent to her 30 years ago, and there she took an overdose of antidepressant medicines and codeine, loved by so many, but to no avail. Her intelligence only sharpened the tools with which she dug her grave. She chose non-being.
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Tags: rochelle
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