The Rena I Knew
I do not normally bond with people very easily; however, when I first met Rena at the San Jose TI support group I felt a bond with her nearly instantaneously. I cared very much for her even though we had just met. Altogether, I only knew her for about 7 weeks, but how long does it take for one to develop deep feelings of caring, compassion, concern, and affection for another person?
The Rena I knew was of a person possessing a very healing presence. She spoke and interacted with genuine compassion and feeling. As a TI for roughly 4 years now, I have developed a great hunger for the milk of human kindness, to once again simply experience the luxury of interacting with a fellow human being on a soulful level without fear of being deceived, humiliated, or otherwise made to feel upset. Rena provided that kindness for me, and I did all I could to give it back to her.
During the TI support group meetings, Rena would often become tearful as a result of the pain and cruelty inflicted upon her by the DEW and OS. In spite of this, she never had any harsh words for those responsible for it. She only expressed a desire to communicate with them and to understand why they were doing it.
Rena was the type of soul that this world desperately needed. She had a heart full of love, goodness, and an unflinching desire to help others. As a manifestation of her character, she earned a Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. As part of her training, she had worked crisis phone lines herself, dealing with suicidal individuals and counseling them away from suicide and towards life. In the end, neither her own knowledge and training in dealing with these situations or my apparently weak attempts to support her made any difference in her situation. Her pain, she must have believed, was simply too great for her to go on.
When I heard the news of her suicide, I had what I would call a breakdown of sorts, cried for hours, lamented my loss, and called in sick to work the whole next week. Since returning to work, I have gone home early three times as a direct result of my grief and pain. On those days that I have been able to complete my work shift, I have cried at some point during that shift, usually towards the end when I have become tired and my defenses have been worn down by my night-long battle against the hurt and devastation of having lost someone extremely important to me.
The only thing that gives me comfort and keeps me sane is the belief that she is now being tended to and cared for by our Lord and Savior, Jesus.