Blood on the Bridge, Tours, France

From my missionary journal. Tours, France.

28 August 1992 – Tours, France

Bonsoir,

Well, today was interesting. The morning was blah. Tons of rude people. I got very discouraged. This afternoon was so-so. We taught a guy and he didn’t pay attention. Frustrating. Coming back from the area we always cross two bridges. Today we stopped watching this dog jump from the Balzac island into the river fetching sticks. It was a hoot.

Well, I decided to go. My companion went around me (we were on bikes). I looked behind me to go and I see two ladies walking towards me holding arms. I thought the one on the right was wearing a red bandana on her face. She got closer and I saw it was blood. I jumped off my bike and ran to see if I could help. She said to take her other arm. I left Elder Rusch’s bike on the bridge which I had been borrowing that day because my bike had a flat tire.  My companion had left to go back to the apartment. We walked towards the nearest building.  The lady who was helping her lived there.  The other girl who was injured had a huge bump on her temple with a hole the size of a nickel in it. It was all black and dark red. All around the hole and it was puffed up. It stuck out quite far. The girl was maybe 16 years old. She was actually very beautiful. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to her on the island. Had she fallen? Had someone hit her? I didn’t know. Well, we get to the building and we went to take the elevator but decided to go to the concierge office. (each building has a concierge in charge of the building like a manager.) There we let her sit down. Blood was pouring out. Her hair was all stuck to her face. Her whole face was bright red with blood streaming off her chin, and nose. Her shirt was blood-soaked so bad it looked black. Her jeans spotted all over. Her hands were trembling and had dirt stuck to them with drying blood. Blood was all over my clean white shirt now. I must have yelled 10 times for a towel or paper towel or something to help her before someone finally brought a first aid kit. I did what little I dared with my scarce medical training in Boy Scouts. I had cotton gauze pads and water. She had lost a lot of blood and was in shock. The ambulance was called and she was freaking out. She kept screaming and grabbing her neck. The other lady and I were trying to calm her down. She was screaming she was in pain and was very scared. I wasn’t sure if a priesthood blessing was appropriate so I said a silent prayer. We kept assuring her the ambulance was on the way. I was holding her hands while the lady called her house or something. She would scream and squeeze my hands. I wanted to help her so bad. I wanted to let her know that she had a Heavenly Father that loved her and that He would help her through this. I knew she was in bad shape. She wouldn’t make it much longer if she kept losing all the blood. She kept screaming how bad her neck hurt. Well, the ambulance finally got there and they immediately started yelling at her saying “Where did you get that?” They could tell what I hadn’t figured out.   She admitted to them that she tried to put a bullet in her head. She had tried to kill herself. He then asked where the gun was. She lifted a black plastic bag she was carrying. He pulled out a gun. I couldn’t believe it. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. My heart sank. I felt sick. This beautiful young girl. Why? Well, I told them I should go. (I was getting nervous because I’m sure my companion was wondering what had happened to me since we had been separated for a long time). I gave them my card and told them to call me and let me know how she’s doing. So far no news. It’s now 10:30 p.m. I need to sleep. See ya. JB

 

When I walked into the apartment after having been gone for awhile, you can imagine how concerned my companion was and then, to see me in a blood-soaked shirt, he was very shocked and couldn’t believe he had had not noticed the girl.

I have often thought back on this experience. I tried to call the hospital and they would not give me any information since I was not a relative. This young girl thought life was so bad that she tried to commit suicide. Now that I am 47 years old, I have unfortunately known people who have committed suicide. One of my young men in our church group when I lived in Springville and I was a young men’s advisor. One of my good friends from Springville. One of my neighbors in Highland. I know many others who have struggled with serious deep depression and have considered it. I think that it is something we do not understand, and when someone comes to that point, they are not in their right mind. Surely we cannot judge them.

There is a lot of help out there. If you are having depressed or suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone. If you know someone, talk to them, talk to their family. Do not let them fight this alone.  Mental Health Information.  USA National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255

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