I was barely five and I remember her so clearly, her long dark poker straight brown hair, parted in the center which went past her waist. I remember her olive complexion, her warm brown eyes matched with a loving smile. She had a special fondness for me in that moment at the Toronto subway station while we waited for our train to arrive.
It was a warm summer day and I was with my family on an outing. Shopping for unique items we could not purchase in whatever Maritime town we were living in 1978.
I was a shy little girl, yet I adored the attention of strangers. I was a sucker for a smile and a hello. She was wearing an old red t-shirt with high waisted well worn blue jeans which were snug but wide in the leg. I don’t know what she was thinking when she smiled at me, turned and then leapt in front of the train.
My Dad protectively grabbed me and covered my eyes with one hand while holding onto me for dear life with his other hand squeezing me tightly gripping my tiny body with his strong forearm . Both my parents had noticed the lady’s special interest in me before she decided to take her own life. I heard gasps, screams and chaos ensued as my parents rallied me and my brothers away from the madness as they figured out another way to return to my Aunt and Uncle’s home in downtown Toronto.
I remember crying and being inconsolable and having been raised by a mega Christian mother who spoke to me daily about Christ’s love. I yelled out in the midst of frantic voices, “didn’t she know that Jesus loves her?”. I was only five and the question I put out in the vast Toronto air is probably the greatest witnessing I have ever done in my life to advocate for my faith. A sad truth, yet truthful all the same…
I am now a lot older and I think about this mystery lady often. I wonder if I am the last person she saw before she left this crazy world. My Dad called the Toronto Transit Commission if she had survived the jump, but they could not confirm, or so he said. I asked him again recently, and he said, he doubts she would have survived.
I never saw any blood or what had happened after she jumped. My Dad made sure of this, which I am grateful for as the image of her while she was alive is burnt into my mind forever.
I wonder what her name was, and if she had a family who loved her. Was she a foreigner who had fallen on hard times? Was she high on drugs and felt invincible? Perhaps she had a daughter she had lost or wanted to have a daughter but had become too distraught. She crosses my mind multiple times a year, her smile, her long poker straight dark brown hair, her red T-shirt and her faded blue jeans. I hope she found the peace she was searching for and I hope she knows I cared and to this day I continue to pray for her soul.
I am not sure how old she was; she may have been in her early 30s, she may have been younger. I am not sure what she was thinking, and what she thought of me before she jumped to her death. She must have been in a lot of pain, but she looked kind, happy and at peace before she left this world.
Peace & Love – Rachel