A recent entry on my blog dealt with the suicide of a woman, and friend, here in my town. It also dealt with the very unkind things that her co-workers at the Butts County Library had to say, after her death, which was by gun, traditionally a very unusual method of suicide for women.
According to the folks at the library, Kathy Mims was “a sociopath,” said label placed on her forever now, with no chance for her to refute, or confirm that “diagnosis.” It seems to me that she was just a terribly sad and lonely woman, just divorced from her state trooper husband after decades of marital hell. Loneliness plus booze equals bad ending. I wondered if there were other factors, because I had spoken to people who knew her, and they felt that she was going to be okay once the newness of her divorce had worn off.
Without even trying, I managed to find out a little bit of information about her last day alive.
According to the cleaning lady for her landlord, who I encountered on a walk to the library, ironically passing Kathy’s apartment, Kathy spent a lot of time coming and going from her flat, and apparently had been drinking a bit. Not to excess, but enough to make it noticeable. At one point Kathy asked to speak with Judy, the landlady. Judy was not at home, and Kathy told the cleaning lady that she needed to talk to Judy about something not terribly important, either that day, night or the following day. She stressed that it was not any big deal, and that was that. The cleaning lady told me that after Kathy’s suicide, when the police went into Kathy’s place, she had everything neatly arranged and it was very clean and tidy. That in itself means nothing because Kathy was noted for being rather fastidious.
I thanked the cleaning lady for the info and went on. The very next day I was mailing a package at the post office, and was making small talk about my walk with the clerk, whose name was Judy---the very same Judy who was Kathy’s landlady. We talked about Kathy, and that day. Kathy did indeed get in touch with Judy and she told her how much she enjoyed living at her place. She also told Judy (and I assume this was the reason Kathy wanted to talk to her) that she had been fired from the library, which was why she was not working that day. I guess she wanted to let Judy know that the rent was covered and to not worry. She actually seemed to be okay with the firing and told Judy that she was going to try to get a job at Barnes and Noble, a place she had worked previously, and had liked. Judy was not under the impression that Kathy was in a suicidal mood.
Later that night, though, she returned to the house that she had shared with her ex-husband. She aimed a gun at herself and pulled the trigger.
I only write this because I liked Kathy, and her dry and wicked humor. The odd reactions from her co-workers have been unsettling, and I think I know why. It seems that they had to put up with a lot of grief from Kathy, due to drinking problems, last minute sick calls and so on. I can understand that. I can also understand why no one there told me that she had actually been fired. The guilt that the head librarian must feel cannot be understated. I hope he doesn’t let it linger too long. He had to make a tough decision, and he did.
So, Kathy Mims, I bid your ghost goodbye, and hope that if a small part of you still lingers in the ozone of our lives, it is at peace.