Even though ‘Poor Clarice’ Tibbett breathed her last on Tuesday June 19, her final journey had begun some three days previously on a cloudy but warm Saturday afternoon when after enjoying a final lunch with her spouse in which she chattered about what she would cook for their tea and of their plans for that evening and he returned to work – she made the decision to go to an upstairs bedroom and swallow the entire contents from a bottle of prescribed sleeping tablets.
At the time of her death Clarice and John were living in a pleasant terraced house in a residential area of Scarboro in North Yorkshire and as the house still stands, I made journey there to stand in the shadow of the large trees which dominate the secluded garden in an effort to understand and try to imagine what happened on that fateful day.
After John had left; did she clear away the remains from that final lunch they had shared together? Did she wash the dishes, wipe the kitchen table of crumbs and rearrange the dining chairs or did she simply make her way upstairs and leave a poignant Marie Celeste scene for John to discover upon his return home.
What we do know is that her bottle of sleeping tablets had been left in the bedroom and that she had to have gone upstairs to take them. But why?
And when she did finally make it upstairs, did she take a look out of that bedroom window and see children playing or her neighbour tending to their neat garden on that typical Saturday afternoon?
Was the house warmer upstairs? Did she open the window for some air or to listen to the sounds of the rustling trees, the occasional car driving past or some welcome laughter?
And did she look at those trees in her garden and watch the branches swaying in the wind or was she just so tired and desperate for a decent afternoon nap that she pulled the curtains shut and took one tablet, then another and then one more until she had no recollection of anything.
Did she mean to go to sleep forever or just for an hour or two until it was time to get up, put on her glad rags and hit the town later that evening?
We know that when John returned home from work later that day, she was found unconscious in a bedroom and with the doctor having been called for, she was carried through her front door for the final time and taken by ambulance at speed across the long stretch of Seamer Road, past the home of her mother-in-law and down and up Scalby Road across the sprawling Manor Road Cemetery and finally on to Scarborough Hospital.
And although her final earthly journey was one of less than 5 miles which lasted only minutes; in the hours, days, weeks and years following – her loved ones would travel millions of miles on their own journeys of ‘What if, if only’…
A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied ‘oh why ask me?’
‘Cause suicide Is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please…