My newspaper this morning runs the following story
, datelined Daytona Beach: “After his wife of more than 60 years couldn’t recognize him when he went to see her at a nursing home, it was more than Floyd Snyder could bear. Wednesday morning just before 8 a.m., the 92-year-old, a popular resident at his beachside condo, but lonely nonetheless because he was without his beloved wife, Leona, jumped from his ninth-floor balcony.” Who can blame the man? At such a late age there’s more logic than desperation to the act anyway. In his circumstances there’s a certain nobility, too, a revolted nobility: anyone who’s experienced what it’s like not to be recognized by the person who’s loved you most has experienced an unrecoverable violation of what it means to be alive, or to want to stay alive when it’s the person you’ve loved most too. The one thing that can be said with near certainty (or as near to certainty as these circumstances allow) is that the pain of living on for Floyd Snyder would have been double the pain life has the right to burden any human being: his and that of his wife, now that she is no longer cognizant to bear it. His last leap was their marriage’s last conjugal expression.