Friday, April 22, 2011

Impasse

I walked out onto the Colorado Street Bridge yesterday to see a memorial. I had driven by earlier and seen flowers and balloons, so I went back on foot. Knowing someone had jumped from the bridge on April 12th, I thought it might be a tribute for him.

But now I don't know. Near where the balloons had become stuck in the cement columns, someone had taped a piece of paper. On the paper were photos of a young man who jumped a year ago, and a poem, and words of love and sorrow.

I took pictures of the memorial, or memorials. Then I sat for a while looking out over the Arroyo.

I decided not to post the pictures. But you could go and spend a few moments with this small tribute.

24 comments:

J.J. in L.A. said...

It was known as Suicide Bridge when I was a kid and I had heard about a few Cal Tech students jumping in the 70's.

I used to drive over it while going to a boyfriend's house in Los Feliz. I always felt apprehensive and wanted to get off of it asap.

Shell Sherree said...

Oh, how sad. So many unanswered questions for those left behind. I hope the memorial brings them some comfort.

pasadenapio said...

About once a month or so, Pasadena police officers respond to 9-1-1 calls from passersby who see some poor soul scaling the protective metal barriers and inching his or her way to the center of the bridge where hard concrete awaits nearly 200 feet below.

Officers are usually successful in coaxing each person back to safety (and a psych evaluation), although this almost never makes the news.

But passersby aren't on or near the bridge 24/7, so once a year or more another person achieves the tragic goal.

It's unfortunate that so many suicides are associated with one of the most beautiful and iconic landmarks in Pasadena.

Mister Earl said...

Was the memorial on the bridge or below? It's still known as Suicide Bridge and people still jump from it. It also hosts an annual street fair, many commercials, and was featured on Fear Factor one time.

Susan Campisi said...

Stunning photo. It's hard to imagine the depths of despair that would drive someone to jump. Very sad.

Petrea Burchard said...

I feel no apprehension on the Bridge, J.J., and you probably won't either, now that you're an adult. But some people seem to have thought of it as their final choice.

I hope so, too, Shell.

The memorial is on the bridge, Mister Earl.

Yeah, Susan, and out on the bridge you see how hard it is to climb over the fence and how determined a person has to be. It makes you think.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I like your reflections on the people who have taken their own lives on this bridge and that you presented us with a simple photo of the bridge. In so many cases, the family and friends suffer with guilt and remorse. So sad.

Bises,
G

Bellis said...

There was never much information about this poor man in the local paper at the time. In England, the press would follow such a tragedy with interviews with the family and friends, and it would be like a tribute to the memory of that person. The most recent suicide last week was very sad as the family were worried about him, he was taken from the bridge to a care facility, and when he was released he must have headed straight back to the bridge. I wish I could convince suicidal people that each moment of consciousness is such a gift - especially as we may be the only conscious creatures in the whole universe.

Petrea Burchard said...

Genie, I know people tell them the guilt isn't theirs but it must be difficult.

Bellis, I think the City of Pasadena doesn't like the "suicide bridge" reputation, and these stories don't get sensationalized. Not that they should. With few facts at our fingertips we can only wonder, but I don't think we can blame the care facility, either.

Su_Tune said...

I think the suicides started during the great depression years? Anyway, like the Golden Gate Bridge, publicity around suicides on them is probably not played up because the thought that too much attention would encourage a lot more people to try to seek fame by ending their lives there.

altadenahiker said...

A single suicide forges a long trail of remorse and victims.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I last drove over it about 10 years ago, so I was an adult back then. I was apprehensive because it was a bridge, not necessarily because of it's reputation...but if I had to drive over it now? Who knows?

Petrea Burchard said...

What you say makes sense, Su_Tune. The bridge was built in 1913, so the timing is right.

Hiker, I remember reading that suicide can sometimes (not always) be an act of anger. I've only known one person who killed himself and it was true in his case. Forging that trail of remorse was his goal.

You spring chicken, J.J.! Well, some people don't like heights, bridges, etc. This particular one, though, is beautiful to me.

Ms M said...

Haunting photo and thoughtful post. Suicides and all the unanswered questions are so very difficult for loved ones.

Steve Scauzillo said...

I've always wanted to do that -- walk across the Colorado Street Bridge. I didn't know of the memorials. What a sad things to happen on such a beautiful spot.

Mister Earl said...

Doesn't seem like the media tracks suicide victims anywhere in the US. People jump of the Golden Gate Bridge all the time, but, just like in Pasadena, the events are noted, but not pursued.

Petrea Burchard said...

Agreed, Ms. M.

Steve, it doesn't take long and even with traffic it's a peaceful walk, with grand views on either side. The memorials are ethereal; they may be gone by now.

Mister Earl, maybe now we know why.

Dina said...

Sad, the picture, the story.
In many countries all we think about is how to stay alive another day.
But there is a worrying new trend now in Israel. It is seldom just a single suicide. The person first kills their spouse and maybe children too and then tries to kill himself.
Oi . . .

Mister Earl said...

Yes, Dina, we have that too. I was at Kibbutz Na'an in 1977. I heard that something like that happened there shortly after I left.

Petrea Burchard said...

Do you suppose that tragedy is based in poverty, Dina? Here, we often hear of a father at the end of his financial rope.

Dina said...

Sometimes poverty is the cause, but more often now it seems to be the man taking revenge because the wife wants to, or has, left him.

Mister Earl said...

People see no hope. Why that is, in the richest time on earth for many, is an interesting question. We lack roots and support.

TheChieftess said...

My mother's mother committed suicide...long before any of us were born. But it affected our lives dramatically. It is a family tragedy that has repercussions for generations.

Petrea Burchard said...

Earl, sometimes I think it's because the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But then I wonder if it hasn't always been that way. And Dina, I'm so far away from that culture of male "honor" that it's almost impossible for me to understand.

Chieftess, that I do understand. How could it not? Like any emotional dysfunction that gets handed down from generation to generation. Yet you got to be the generation to bring peace and sanity to your kids.