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Gettysburg Review
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“Bird on a Wire: A Meditation on a Mother’s Suicide”

by Elisabeth Brink

On or around May 17, 1982, my mother committed suicide at her home in Boston. She had her hair done and put on one of her best dresses. She filled a pitcher with water, took a fancy tumbler from the dining room, and climbed the stairs to the attic, where she laid a blanket and pillow behind a wall of boxes. She had about three hundred pills—a high blood pressure medication—in her possession, and she swallowed roughly half of them. She left no note.

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