By the time Sad Dog became her chosen stuffed animal, Martha had developed a definite personality. Melinda and I called her “gentle and intense.”
My happiest day with Martha was the day I took her to Typhoon Lagoon. It almost made up for the day, years later, when she killed herself.
Seven years ago today, Martha Corey-Ochoa jumped to her death from the fourteenth-story window of her Columbia dorm. In memory of her, and as a way of exorcising her ghost, I have just finished writing a memoir, After Martha.
My daughter, Martha, died of being bipolar, but I do not think of bipolarity as a disease. I think of it as a gift, and I am proud of her for staying true to it to the end.
Though I argued in my last post that a key question to ask a suicidal person is what he or she values more than life, I never thought to ask Martha this. So I do not know for sure what she would have said. But I suspect she might have said nobility.
The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors is a wonderful website for people like me who have lost someone to suicide.
Because my daughter, Martha Corey-Ochoa, died of suicide at eighteen, I am obviously the last person in the world to give advice on how to prevent suicide: I tried and I failed.
Many of Martha's friends and teachers knew about her mental illness, but because mental illness still carries a stigma, she had a dilemma when the time came to apply to colleges,
It's been a week since I announced this site to the world, and already it's had more than 300 visitors.