On one of the blackest mornings of my life, I assembled...

On one of the blackest mornings of my life, I assembled pills and liquor and wrote a letter to my daughter. I told her I was taking my life and asked her to care for my two sons, ages ten and seventeen.

Earlier I had returned from the hospital, where I had undergone surgery for the third time in a year. Each time, doctors had told me that precancerous conditions prevailed in different areas of my body and were getting worse. I had been suffering for thirty years. In addition to this, my second marriage (the first had left me a widow with six children) was troubled by seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Yet my family was oblivious to my desperation, as I took painkillers, drank, and tried to hide my agony. All things considered, suicide seemed the only solution to everything.

Later that morning our doorbell rang. I cursed aloud and was determined not to answer the door, but I found myself opening it; I didn't know why. Standing there was a woman whom I'd met briefly on two occasions. I demanded to know what she wanted. She replied that she was in the neighborhood and thought she'd drop by. After reluctantly letting her in and making tea, I suddenly burst into tears and told this stranger I would do anything to have her tranquillity. She asked, "Have you ever heard of Christian Science?" I told her that if she couldn't help me she should just shut up, as I knew nothing of it and didn't want to know anything. After a short time, during which I was not very pleasant, she left.

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January 17, 1983

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