Friday, July 04, 2014

Nucleus Vomitous: On Suicide (In other words, unedited post spewed from the heart)

My very first best friend.  

We met when we were infants.

A childhood fully spent.

Half at my house, and half at Kylie's house.  Sleepovers, paddleboat rides on the lake, my first taste of buffalo burgers.  A haunted trail every October, volleyball and chorus, crushes on boys.

High school graduation was the last time I saw her.  How quick I was to say goodbye to those memories.

Seventeen years later.

We reconnect, thanks only to Facebook.  I had searched for her for years, to no avail.  Her life was dark. 

Oh, how I wish I had known.  I would have pressed in.  I would have written.  I would have called. 

But I did not know.

Why did I not know?  

Because I did not ask.  (Did I care?)

"How are you?" is all it takes.  No--that's not true.   

After that, you stop and listen for the answer.  REALLY listen--with more than just the parts made for hearing.  My eyes would have seen the darkness in her eyes.  My gut would have known there was more behind the words.

No matter what she said, I could have heard what she was screaming.

What was she saying?  I hear her now.

"Help me."

"I'm all alone."  

"I can't do this by myself." 

"Isn't anyone out there?"  

I remember how heartbroken she was in high school over a friend addicted to taking weight loss pills, and over another friend who was pregnant as a teen.  I watched Kylie cry over both of them, wondering how she had let them down as a friend.  She hadn't, but she thought she could have done more to keep them from going down the paths they traveled then.

And now I am heartbroken that I could not do anything to keep her off her own dark path.

It must have been so dark in Kylie's world.  So dark that no one else could see inside. 

Funeral day. 

(I'm not ready for this season of life, Lord!)

I was really early to her visitation.  For three days preceding this event, every little thing made me cry.  I am tougher than that.  But this loss breached my hard "nucleus".

I sat in my car and wiped a river of tears, praying for strength to be there for her family.  Then I saw her mother arrive.  She looked the same that day as she had so many years before.  I knew I was there to reconnect with Kylie's parents, but mostly with her mother.

I still cannot bring myself to know what she saw or felt in that moment.  It happened in her house, with her there.  The mother in me cries tears for her most. 

Bittersweet reunion.

Her mother recognized me as I walked toward her.  She said, "Which one are you?" (meaning which one of the three daughters in my family was I.)

When I replied, "Melissa", she said, "Oh, Melissa..." and wrapped me up in a hug as if I had just lost my best friend.  

As she trembled and cried on my shoulder, and I on hers, she managed to whisper these words:

"She didn't think she had any friends left."  

(Lord, this is too heavy!)

A closed casket.  

(Can there be closure with a closed casket? I don't know.)

I do know, though, that I will remember her as she lived, not as she died.

Why didn't I come to town sooner?  Why didn't I send her a message three weeks ago to let her know I was coming into town?  Would she have still given up?

I'll never really ask those questions.

But I know the answer to all of my questions is to trust the One who knew her end before her beginning. 

Til we meet again, Kylie.  God be with you, til we meet again.

(Thank you for reading this post.  It is completely unedited.  Just some thoughts I have after the loss of my childhood best friend.  She took her own life.  Suicide is such a tragedy.  My heart aches over her loneliness and also for her mama.  There will definitely be more thoughts to come.)


  1. Hugs and prayers my friend - hugs and prayers.

  2. Hugs.I understand. I lost my cousin a few years ago to suicide. We were 10 days apart in age. So many whys and what ifs......

  3. My father-in-law committed suicide a few years ago. We struggled with a lot of the same questions. We knew he was having a hard time with things going on in his life. We thought we were doing the best we could even from 6 hours away in another state. Our first baby had just been born. There are always all kinds of questions - why weren't we enough to make him want to stay? Why didn't he care that his first grandson had just been born? What could we have done differently? All I can say now 7 years later is that God has given me peace about it. It isn't really easy to think about even now, but I know I can't blame myself or anyone else for his choices. I am more aware now when people are going through a difficult time. I can look back and see signs that he was heading in a bad direction, so I try to use that knowledge to be there for other people now. I will be praying for you and for her family.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs and prayers.

  5. I almost lost my son to suicide on New Years Day this year. My grandmother died as a result in suicide in the 1950s and my uncle died in the 1970's. I know the pain when it runs through families and first hand as a parent. We need to watch over our friends and those most fragile. we need to be there for them, to listen and be willing to just sit with them. To be that shoulder to lean on. They are going through a pain that is very difficult to share and comprehend - their loneliness even in a crowded room is something, we as non-sufferers, can't understand. To parents in my situation - always be ready to help your child, have your phone with you 24/7 in case they call urgently - and pray like you have never prayed before.

    I am so sorry for your loose - sometimes suicide is almost too hard to comprehend.

    PS sometimes the most fragile among us are often the most caring and giving people, but in the process they drain themselves dry. The carers need caring for too.

  6. I am so, so sorry. I'm praying right now for God to ease the pain in your heart. Such a hard place to journey through. ~Pamela


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