love persists under a blue sky

How Did She Do It?

2 min readAug 21, 2022


suicide happens to others

people you hear about
in extended circles,
no facial features
tenderly mapped in memory,
a broken story shared
a rush of empathy passing
through, then forgotten

suicide happens to others

until it doesn’t
until the call comes
your husband’s voice
a catch-yell:
“This is just too much!”
thrusting the phone
as tinny words fly
through the receiver
pelting, slicing
rending one reality
from another —

then flip
time drops away
your life a snow globe
on shake mode, fate’s hand
turning up and down
up and down
up and down
snow and bedrock pieces
flying, frenetic, breaking
in the vicious swirl
of suspended shock,
shredding loss

life before and after
forever severed

forced barefoot across
a threshold of broken glass
into the landscape of suicide,
a border you can never uncross
a border you have to remember
every morning upon waking
those first weeks,
eyelids opening, orienting to light
then crashing into remembrance
the broken glass re-cutting,
feet re-bloodied

she is gone
she is dead

her bright blue eyes
a flashing echo
her spirit, body broken
then burned
the slivers of bone chips
in grey ashes
the only remnant
of touch
of sister as tangible

suicide happened

hearts separated by
an unknown desperation,
haunted by the incessant
“What ifs?” pelting, circling
swirling like the fake snow
in the globe of lost innocence
leaving me to do
the only thing I could:


wait wait wait




with the pieces

left to shudder, cringe
“in visible desperation”1
every time
I am asked:

“How did she do it?”

Deb Sherrer
Experiment #2
Jane Hirschfield, Rowe Workshop

1, Ocean Vuong, from the essay, The Weight of Our Living, The Rumpus, 2014

death certificate

Betty Blue

Betty Blue
died on a rope
I didn’t know
she was at the end of

left hanging until
the too late rescue
cut her down

I didn’t go to see her body,
share the one-sided goodbye
like another sister
“needed to”

I needed to not

already a first family archive
of bloodied and bruised experiences
turned memories
mostly healed and still vulnerable
of flooding into nightmares
flashbacking into daylight

Dear Betty Blue,
at the end of your rope —
forgive me, please:
I could not add
you, too.

July 3, 2019 (Betty’s birthday)




Under The Same Sky: Writing and photos. Musings on the gritty and the beautiful that get us through & more. Original content.