The Lady Found in the Snow

She was in her fifties and reported missing four or five days ago, a picture of a woman looking cheerful, with striking blue eyes, shoulder length light brown hair wearing a black and green mid-length parka. It was on the news and in the newspapers repeatedly, her picture of a woman with a warm smile.

To me it sounded peculiar, as if intentional or planned; waking in the morning, followed by calling in sick to work then vanishing. When reported missing, the police were summoned, then several friends and relatives began searching also. The investigation dragged on with no success, and it’s as if she went ‘poof’ into thin air, no trace, no use of credit cards.

Days passed, when someone identified her van at a cemetery, and not too distant from the van they discovered her body dead in the snow. The police didn’t reveal information as to the cause of death.

The newspapers stated that she was a registered nurse, worked for twenty-two years at the same hospital, extremely well liked and exceptional at her job. Her spouse was a clergy at the only church in the town where the family lived, and she leaves behind two children.

Maybe she was living with an illness or depression, deep dark depression and hid it from everyone. Keep in mind there is a huge stigma attached to mental illness if one is suffering from depression it appears to be a weakness or a flaw in character. Possibly she had to maintain a smile on her face when all she felt was dread and darkness.

I recall when I initially become ill years ago with depression, I overheard one of my colleagues say “I can’t believe Deb suffers from depression, she is always smiling or laughing, you’d never know”. Smiling on the outside, but dying on the inside. It took every scrap of strength for me to get through every day of work, and ultimately collapse on the couch when I arrived home. In the end, I couldn’t function, lost patience (along with the company), finally terminating me.

To find the courage to suicide; it’s the anguish and the planning. That’s right; I said courage. The planning is devised by a person’s mind that can no longer see light; only darkness and only a desire to escape. They are unwell.

Can you envision existing or trapped in a state where you can’t dig yourself out, you’re smothered, feeling hopeless and helpless. You know you have a family, but you’re a burden with your illness and believe this is the only way out.

Some people will argue with me, saying it’s selfish to suicide; think of the people they are leaving behind. I see it as those people are selfish for blaming the person with the illness who exists suffering depression day in and day out. Perhaps they are hospitalized or isolated at home most of the time. Suicide is a sensitive subject, but if you haven’t been down that road it’s difficult to fathom. Suicide is NOT the answer, and I’m not condoning it. But please don’t judge others, until you have walked in their shoes.

Also, it doesn’t serve well having opinionated people bring forth religion into this issue.

The lady in snow: I’m leaving her name anonymous due to location and family.

It was revealed later after the autopsy, her cause of death was by suicide.

Written and copyright by: Deb McCarthy/2016


Originally posted on my blog

Published by


I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

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