I spoke to my grandmother today. She said some friends from her choir visited and brought her tulips, white, yellow, and red. Later in the conversation, when I tried to tell her she has to stay there -in the nursing home, she wasn’t happy, “It’s like an institution,” she exclaimed. Oddly, the tulips and her comment about it being an institution reminded me of the Sylvia Plath poem “Tulips.” The poem was written by Plath after being institutionalized. She famously suffered from depression and mental illness until she inevitably took her own life. Her poetry is so powerful that I can feel her emotion through reading her words. I can see her melancholy. It does not surprise me that she took her own life, some melancholy feels inescapable as hers must’ve.
When people call people who commit suicide weak, it offends me. People who’ve committed suicide were not weak, they just are not strong enough. Many of us have gone through some of the same things that push others over the edge and cause them to take their own lives.
Tulips by Sylvia Plath The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here. Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands. I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions. I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons. They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut. Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in. The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble, They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps, Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another, So it is impossible to tell how many there are.