Friday, August 5, 2011

A letter to a friend . . .

on the one year anniversary of her suicide attempt . . .

A year ago this weekend I was on Coronado island celebrating my brother and sister-in-law's wedding when I got the news that one of my best friends tried to end her life.  I stepped away from the table to try to hear the words coming from the other end of the phone, and I couldn't believe it. I knew we hadn't seen her in awhile, I knew she was going through something, I knew she was unhappy - but how could she do this?  WHY would she do this?

At that moment I wanted to rush home to be at the hospital with everyone else.  The only thing that could make this feel real, that could make me feel better was to be with the ladies I'd loved for so many years.  I wanted to know everything, all the details but we didn't know them yet, she still wasn't awake. I talked to a friend until almost 3am that morning, trying to make sense of what had happened. And a year later I reflect on this moment, and all the things that my wonderful friend would have missed this year.

She would never have known just how much I loved her and cared about her, because I hadn't seen her as much as I would have liked lately. She would have missed yoga, and laughing and trying on jumpers with me in the American Eagle dressing room. She wouldn't have seen an incredible concert with an amazing singer, or taken a whirlwind trip, or had her makeup done by an old friend. We wouldn't have cried together about boys, or laughed together at a good friend running his pick up lines by us. She would have missed elephant ears, the Christmas house and singing at the top of her lungs in the car. We wouldn't have gone to an old friend's birthday, danced at Snake Burner shows or picked out her new pup together. Watching movies, laying in bed, eating junk and getting drunk never would have happened for us. I would never have gotten to make her eat at all kinds of weird gluten free places, or watched her dance on or jump from a boat. She wouldn't have danced on our friend's birthday or helped me clean the house.  And, who would have hung up all of Ian's shirts?  She wouldn't have been there to take me to the hospital the day I found out I wasn't going to be a mom, or to bring me food when I left my house.  All the days of floating in the pool would have never happened.  Babes of summer would not be in our vocabulary and I might never have gotten out of bed after losing our baby if it wasn't for her love and support.  And let's not forget all of the many, many photos we've gotten sent to us, or seen on Facebook, because of her snapping fun times with all of our friends.  Sharing the biggest moments of my life, both good and bad, with my best friends this year would have not been possible.

I don't know why bad things happen, and I don't know why this year has been hard for some of us, but we made it through together.  When I couldn't get up in the morning, I got up for my girls, I followed the same advice we gave to her that day in the hospital. Our friend brought us all together again, with a terrible event that ultimately ended up defining our friendship. We would all be different people today if she would have died that night, and I'm afraid of what would have happened to us going through this year without her.  I am so thankful she is still around to share all of these memories (and many more) with us. I don't know what I would have done without her this year - because this year it was HER turn to save MY life.

Reflecting on this day makes me think just how lucky we are to have each other, many don't have a friendship like this that has lasted so long. We love you and are so happy you are still here with us.

"Lean on me, when you're not strong and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on.  For it won't be long 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on."  :)

Love always,

(My dear friend, thank you for giving me permission to post this.  It is my hope that this letter helps others who have gone through something similar with someone close to them.  Something like this affects EVERYONE, the attemptee and the people that love him/her.  Here and here at two articles our friend sent to us on this anniversary.  Please take a look at them if you or someone you love has experienced this.  Always be there for your friend to lean on, and be kind when you find out that maybe it was hard for them to lean on you during the darkest time of their life.  Be forgiving and patient, be a friend to them.  Things will get better, support each other.)

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