The title of the book, still unfinished. ‘Suicide at the Burj Khalifa’.
Some of the outlines of the book. I will try to keep it as unemotional as I can…
In the late afternoon of 18 November 2014 I was informed of Laura’s death. Two days after her death. Was it sloppy police work, or was it deliberate?
I did not know that she had returned to Dubai.
The initial communications between the Portuguese consulate in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Portugal is not represented in Dubai – and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Two vital inter-consular emails which did not impact on me at the time. My husband was seriously ill in the last stages of cancer, and was admitted to hospital where he stayed for three weeks before I took him home to die. I did not want him to die in hospital. I had been in denial. He couldn’t die…He died 29 days after Laura’s death.
Trying to find where Laura had been staying in Dubai. Apart from wanting to hold something that she had touched, one of her abayas, anything, I was hoping that through what she had left behind, on her computer and her phone, that I would begin to understand why she had taken her own life. My request to the Dubai Police, via Luis Camara, vice-consul of the Portuguese Consulate in Abu Dhabi, was ignored.
The person that had informed me of Laura’s death, gave me details of the final moments of her death, which sent me on a quest to find the truth. Had she been murdered?
I couldn’t understand how Laura could have fallen to her death from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa. How could she? How could she slip through one of the gaps between the two panes of glass? It shouldn’t have been possible. Where was security? Why didn’t anyone notice? Why didn’t anyone stop her?
The conclusion of the police investigation into Laura’s death was suicide. I had more questions which Luis Camara could not answer so I started to communicate directly with the Dubai Police.
I contacted the Burj Khalifa. I contacted the Armani hotel. I wanted to see the footage of Laura on the observation deck before she died. A blanket of silence.
I had started to unravel on the day I was told that Laura had died but had to stay strong for my husband. Now that he was gone, I could start to grieve for Laura. I could grieve for him. His death was easier to accept. There was no unfinished business. And he was not alone when he died. He had lived a full life, and I had been fortunate enough to spend thirteen years with him, mostly for twenty-four hours a day. He was the love of my life, my lover, my soulmate, and my best friend, and he was finally free from the terrible pain that I witnessed while he was in hospital. My beautiful.
With Laura it was different. Our relationship had never been easy and at the time of her death we were estranged, but in the few messages we had exchanged in the final year of her life, we spoke about her returning to South Africa…