She stood there, on the edge of the woods. The blade in her hand was gray, and dull.
Don’t do it, he said.
She looked at him, blankly.
If there was another option, we wouldn’t be thinking about this. They’re going to rape him. Or kill him, or worse. But maybe this was supposed to happen. I wouldn’t be able to watch them suffer anyway.
But maybe he wouldn’t suffer. He’s young. He still needs someone to protect him. I’m going to die, you’re going to die. Why kill yourself?
There’s is no hope. Nothing is going to change. He is going to die. It’s going to be long and painful. He will see things no child should ever see. You’re going to let him suffer through that for you’re own selfish desire to live. I can’t stay. I can’t stay with you, and I can’t stay with him, she said.
Crying was something the man rarely did. He could feel his eyes burning. He watched the red blood slowly well up on her wrist. He watched her go pale, and all the life disappear from her. He wanted to comfort her, but there wasn’t anything he could have done.
She was going to die.
As Cormac McCarthy never explicitly stated what happened to the boy’s mother, I chose to to write a story about what happened to her. It’s pretty commonly theorized that she commit suicide because she saw the situation as hopeless, or that something was going to happen to her son and family. She didn’t want to live to see the day that any of that happen.
It’s commonly accepted as human nature that if people can see the end, or they can see a way out of things, they will continue. And from the standpoint of biology, the goal is to continue the human race as far as you can. Suicide is a human idea. We are the only species capable of planning it’s own demise out of pure psychological misery.
This is not even anything that is ever explained to the boy and McCarthy knows that death is never going to be explainable. You don’t die and live to tell people about it. You can’t explain something you don’t understand because you’ve never experienced it. The boy never understands what happens to his mother, and honestly the man probably doesn’t understand either.
However, it’s understood that in this world that the only end goal is to avoid dying. It’s not to advance yourself, get more money, or have nicer and flashier things. It’s literally not to die. So to them, suicide is to fail ultimately and I think she knew that.