Thursday, July 23, 2015

Where My Demons Hide

Every few months I hear a song that reminds me of a friend who took her life.  With the world in full swing all around me, I go numb whenever I hear the song.  I heard the song again this morning.  Hearing it prompted me to share this post.   

I've lost a few friends to suicide.  Learning to live without them has never been easy.  I care deeply about my friends.  I always have.  That's why when one of them passes away, it hurts. That's why when a friend takes their own life, it hurts even more. 

I had so many things running through my head the last time I lost a friend to suicide.  Writing sometimes helps me process things, so I wrote an angry letter.  Writing the angry letter obviously wasn't going to bring me answers from my friend, but I'd hoped that it would help me begin to heal from the sadness, from the emptiness, and from the profound loss.  

Writing helped a little bit, but I will never fully heal from losing someone to suicide.  


Written sometime in the middle of winter a few years ago...

When I got the call that you had died, I couldn’t believe it.  Initially, I was told that you’d gone to sleep and didn’t wake up.  My mind was confused and my heart was broken. 

Died?  No.  She was young.  So alive, successful, beautiful.   

It didn’t seem real.  While my head was trying to grasp the reality of that phone call, I immediately thought back to the last time I saw you.  It was just a few weeks ago.  It was an ordinary day, sunny with clear skies.  We caught up, we laughed, and we made plans for later.  We’d gone to lunch and did some shopping.  We’d spent the whole day together, and we talked about everything. 

Or so I thought. 

Several hours later, I got another call.  My life shattered once again.

She left a note…

Oh, no.  No.  No.  No. No. NO!  This cannot be happening!  Please, not this. 

I was with other people when I got that call.  Smothering a scream, in a matter of seconds it felt like I spiraled through several emotions.  Gasping for air, my sobs turned into rage.  Tears burned down my cheek.  

How could you do this?!    

Your note was short.  You left some of your earthly possessions to friends.  You stated requests for your burial.  I thought how selfish of you.  A reason for leaving was not included.  That, and whatever troubled you, will forever be a mystery.  

The next few hours and days were a blur.  Until I got mad.  I was so mad.  That’s when I sat down and wrote this angry letter.

Hey!  Hey you.  Yeah, YOU.  You don’t get to put your death date on the calendar and then tell us what to do.  You ditched us.  You don’t get a say in how you’re buried.  You don’t get a say in where you’re buried either.  

But you did have a say in how you wanted to be buried.  And I made sure to be there for that.  Those of us close to you would be there to honor you, your life and all of the good that you shared with us when you were alive.  

When you were alive...

I’ll never know the demons that haunted you when you were alive.  I’ll never know why the demons got the best of you or what you tried to do to make them go away.  It devastates me to know that suicide was your best option.  Your death may have come at the right time for you, but it came at the worst time for me. Suicide is final, but it will continue to affect those of us you left behind.  

The hurt that I feel will leave deep emotional scars.  I know that some days will be harder to handle than others.  I know that I'll eventually stop asking questions and stop thinking about what ifs.  I’ll know that I'll learn to live with the sadness and with the pain.  I'll learn to live without you, too.  I hope that at some point I find peace in the process.  But peace is nowhere near me right now.  Peace is the farthest thing I feel.  

I'd do anything to go back to that last day.  That day of shopping, and laughing, and talking.  That was one of the happiest days I'd had in a long time.  I ache thinking about it.  That day.  It was the last day that I saw you.  It was the last time that I said goodbye to you.  I never knew that it would be goodbye forever.  I so wish it wasn't goodbye forever.  

My beautiful friend.  

Miss you now.

Love you always.  

xo, Cat

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