The Day I Wrote My Suicide Letter

*DISCLAIMER: SUICIDE TRIGGER WARNING

 

It’s been a terrible couple of months and I’m finally ready to do it. I’m finally ready to leave this world behind. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet, but all I know is that I’m ready. I don’t even know if I’ll be missed, sure, maybe for a few months. People will probably cry when they find out what I did, cry at my funeral, cry for the first couple of weeks, but then it will stop. Pretty soon, I will become a distant memory. People forget. They can only grieve your loss for so long before they move on. And so they will move on. Eventually, every-one will get over it.

What will I be remembered by? Well, hopefully, people will think that I was a good mother; a mother that loved her boys with every fiber of her being…a mother that gushed love and compassion and was caring. Will I be remembered as a good person? I would hope so. I know that there will be a lot of people that will say otherwise. I would hope that there is someone out there, somewhere, that I have made an impression on. I’m not sure though. I know that I’ve made some friends but I’ve also made some enemies.

Will my husband cry? How will he react? I’m sure he will  be distraught because chances are, he will find me. It will ruin him and he will probably hate me. For a while, at least. I just hope that one day, he can forgive me for what I’ve done and see that my pain was too much to handle. I hope he can realize that this wasn’t some selfish act, but a way to escape from all of the pain…and all the horrible thoughts. I hope he can realize that I loved him so much that I had to do this. I was becoming too much of a burden for him and he deserves to be with someone better. Someone happy. Someone not so depressed. Someone that could love him and treat him the way he deserves. He will continue to be the best father to our boys and hopefully he will keep my memory alive. Will he remarry? I would actually hope that he would. I wouldn’t want him to be alone for the rest of his life; I would want some type of mother-figure in my boy’s lives. They deserve that. I couldn’t give that to them, so hopefully, someone else will.

What will my boys think? They are too young. They won’t even miss me. I’m sure that my oldest will wonder where I am, but after a few weeks, he will forget. He will stop asking for me. He may see my picture and say “momma”, but pretty soon, I’ll become a distant memory for him, too. Just like everyone else, I’ll be a memory. My kids will grow up without a mom and wonder why I did what I did. Will they blame themselves? I’m sure that they will. I would hope that they wouldn’t. Will they struggle? Can they make it without me? Of course they will. They are better off without such a sad, depressed and angry mother; they don’t deserve that. They need a mom that is together and happy and full of life. They deserve that. They will be fine. There are enough pictures of me around for them to know who I was. I hope their dad will always remind them how much I loved them.

Will my mom miss me? Will she blame herself? How will my family react? They will say things like they can’t believe this happened. They never saw the signs. On the outside, I seemed like a happy women; like I had my life together. I had a blessed life. I was a mother, for Christ’s sake! With 2 healthy, handsome little boys! Why would I do this? I’m sure there will be anger. There will be tears. But people will forget. They will move on.

Pretty soon, I’ll just be a memory. My picture will be hung up then taken down. My obituary will be clipped out then shoved into a shoe box. My birthday will come and go. Some people will cry while others will ask why. My clothes will be donated and that dusty picture frame of me with my family will be replaced with a new picture of some different woman with my family. My kids will grow up and my husband will move on. My mom will die with a broken heart of not being able to save her little girl. My friends will question the signs and wonder if they could have done anything. I will soon become another statistic…. a warning to others.

My life will be over before it truly began. People will comment on how young I was and what a shame, but it won’t last. Pretty soon, people will talk about the next person or the next thing and I’ll be an old topic thrown out like yesterday’s newspaper. It won’t last and therefore, I feel okay doing this.

This is what I’m feeling as I’m about to write my last letter on earth; with tears streaming down my face and my hand trembling. I’m not sure how I got here but I just want it to end. This isn’t what I wanted…this isn’t what I envisioned my life to be like. I can’t handle it anymore. The loss. The pain. The remorse. It can all stop. I want to make it stop. So I will.

Except I won’t.

What if I told you that every single one of those thoughts has crossed my mind a time or two. Yes, I have contemplated suicide and even in my darkest days, planned it out…up to the part on making sure I’d do it so my toddler wouldn’t find me. I even thought of what I would write in my suicide letter; that’s pretty heavy stuff, don’t you think? It’s all true. I’m not here to bullshit you or to lie about my life….to paint some oh-so happy and perfect life. I’m here to talk about the UGLY stuff, the HARD stuff. The truth is, I wanted to die. I was so sick and tired of feeling sad, depressed and broken that I just wanted to leave everything behind. I had the feelings of sadness that just felt like they would never go away. It was terrible. And it was lonely.

I literally thought about EVERY SINGLE THING- yeah, people might miss me, but they would get over it; my boys won’t remember me; my husband will remarry and move on…. I thought of that all. But the truth?

My suicide may not affect everyone that knew me, but it would certainly affect those that LOVED me.

My husband. My boys. My family.

They will all miss me. They will all cry and wonder. They will blame themselves and question life. It will happen. They won’t be fine. They will NEVER get over my loss.

I will be pain free but instead I will be bringing so much more pain to those around me. They may never understand why I did it. They will never get over me.

I have lived through this from both sides; I’ve been so broken that the only form of escape seemed like leaving. I’ve also seen the pain that suicide causes. Both are extremely painful. No side has it worse and no side has it better.

If you have lost someone from suicide and you don’t know how to comprehend what they’ve done, I want you to know that they weren’t being selfish; they were literally fighting a daily battle in their mind and it became too much to handle. Suicide is not the easy way out–it’s a scary and lonely road. The thoughts are frightening. A person that is struggling WILL have every thought (they are better off without me) go through the mind. Over and over. Sometimes, a depressed person may feel like their only option is to just leave.

I’m here to tell my story. There’s a reason why I didn’t go through with it and for whatever reason, I’m so very lucky for that. I want to be around for my boys. I want to see them grow up and prosper. I want to stay by my husband’s side…through the good and the bad. I want to continue to live this life. It’s not always easy and at times it can be painful. But I promise you, it is beautiful and so WORTH IT.

LIFE IS WORTH IT and if you are struggling with depression, postpartum depression or any other form of mental illness, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

If you or a someone you know is having a medical or mental health emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Suicide

If you are currently having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Non-U.S. citizens can visit IASP or Suicide.org to find help in their country.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Anxiety

If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, or need some extra support, call womenshealth.gov at 1-800-994-9662. Check out the womenshealth.gov website for more information and resources.

Mental Health Crisis

If you or a loved one is having a mental health crisis, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or call the NAMI Help Line at 1-800-950-6264.

Do you shave your legs in Heaven?

Her name is Elise.

We were best-friends throughout elementary school and she lived in the next town over. She had an infectious laugh that made you want to laugh right along with her, and a bubbly personality to go along with it. She was silly and always wanted her friends happy.

Elise was a kind person and I don’t think she had a bad thing to say about anyone. I admired this about her, even at eleven, because that was the time when life was getting confusing and weird. When you’re eleven and a girl, well, life is complicated and  it’s hard to find a real, true friend. But Elise was it. She was that true friend that was always there for me and she never judged or turned a cold shoulder. Elise was nice to literally every person that she came in contact with and I desperately wanted to be like her and… who am I kidding? At 28, I still aspire to be as kind as Elise. I fail by a long shot.

We were always laughing….about, well, anything. It was never a dull moment with Elise. One of my favorite memories (and there are a lot of memories) but if I had to pick one, it involved a turtle tank and a chair. One time while she was over my house, she was leaning back on a chair; not paying attention she leaned a little too far back and landed right on her ass. The chair hit my turtle tank that was on the floor behind her and water was spilling out faster than we could stop it…but I don’t think we even tried that hard because it’s impossible to do anything when you’re busting with laughter. It was all incredibly comical and I didn’t even care that I would probably get in so much trouble for it because we were laughing until we were crying. I could still remember my sides hurting from laughing so much, and how Elise was so worried about getting in trouble. She didn’t. I took the blame for it and I don’t think it was even a big deal, but she was still paranoid and she felt awful that my poor turtle tank now had a crack down the side of it that she must’ve kept apologizing to me for the rest of the night. She was like that…a good girl. A good person.

Those happy moments make it hard for me to understand why it would all soon be taken away. It makes it hard to understand how a genuinely good person could be sentenced to a miserable disease. I can never forget a friend that changed my life, and that is exactly what Elise did, she changed my life forever.

Elise was diagnosed with cancer when we were eleven years-old. The news affected me, along with my peers, so deeply because this was an amazing and kind girl and something completely terrible was happening to her.  And I guess….it made all of us really feel scared because cancer. Wow. That was like, a grown-up problem. That was an adult problem. Only old people, like our Grandparents, got cancer….not an 11 year-old kid that was just beginning to live life. But, she was going to be fine, right? Even though I never personally knew a kid that was fighting cancer, I did see all of those survivors in the St. Jude Math-A-Thon program I did every-year in school, so Elise was going to win this stupid battle with cancer and everything would be just fine. It would be fine!

The truth of the matter is though, that although cancer in children is rare, it’s the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the United States. In 2017, it’s estimated that 15,270 children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 will  be diagnosed with cancer and 1,790 will die from the disease.

Although scary and unknown, Elise took her cancer diagnose with stride.  Never, and I can’t really stress this part enough, did she EVER once complain or feel sorry for herself. I remember our phone calls from The Children’s Hospital in Hershey, PA; she was always in good spirits–remaining positive and upbeat and even joking about not having to shave her legs thanks to radiation. Every-one had strong faith that Elise would make a speedy recovery and our little town put together a motorcycle benefit drive– Valley With A Heart— where over $13,000 was raised for Elise and her family. Elise had the time of her life; seeing all of her friends, family, and people she didn’t even know come out to support her in battling this “stupid cancer”… as she would call it. The benefit meant so much to Elise and to this day, 17 years later, Valley With A Heart Benefits has raised well over $100,000 to help seriously ill children and their families within the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania. And it all began with Elise.

Things were going well….sure, there was chemo and radiation and lost hair but she was doing it! She was beating this stupid cancer! Elise was even well enough to join us on our fifth grade field trip…talk about a blast. She was so thrilled to join us and to feel like a normal and healthy kid.

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We sat together on that bus ride; talking and listening to music (probably NSync or Britney Spears) the whole way there. Oh my, have I missed my best-friend! It was like the old days and every-thing felt normal. I couldn’t imagine a life without Elise because death…..well, that never, not even once, had crossed my mind. She was going to be fine, because kids don’t die from cancer…just old people.

 

I was 12 when my best friend died. I was 12 when I learned that life is so fragile. I was 12 when I learned that, no matter how kind, good, and even how young you are–that doesn’t exclude bad things happening to you.

I remember it happened way too fast and out of nowhere. Everything was fine. Elise was fine. She was healthy and doing well; but then something happened and her extremely short life was cut way too soon. Just like that. It happened just like that. It wasn’t supposed to be that way; she was going to fight that stupid cancer, continue onto middle-school and live a long and beautiful life as a badass cancer survivor! We would laugh about all the ridiculous times we had together, and she would tell me “I told you I was going to get rid of that stupid cancer! But I miss not shaving my legs!” That’s what was supposed to happen.

It was an unfair loss. It was an unbelievably sad loss. It was a heartbreaking loss. Nobody believed it. I couldn’t believe it. My memory of learning about her passing is still ingrained in my mind: my mom told me she passed away and her obituary was in the newspaper. And there it was: in black & white and right in front of my face, details about her short yet beautiful life and in the top left-corner, her school picture of that previous year…pre-stupid cancer. I must’ve read that article over 100 times and somehow, I still couldn’t process that is was real. It felt like some terrible nightmare and I was pleading for someone to just wake me up from it. I remember crying a lot and thinking that she was going to call me and say “why are you crying? I’m fine!” But that didn’t happen and sadly, this was reality.

After her passing, life was just different and for the longest time, it felt like things would never be right again. It didn’t feel real to me, even at her viewing and seeing her in that casket. That wasn’t Elise. Where is my beautiful friend with the infectious laugh and bubbly personality? Sure, her body was there, but that was it. Her soul was gone and every beautiful thing about her was now just a memory. I couldn’t really process all of it and for the longest time I lived in a make-believe world of pretending to be okay when I was really dying on the inside.

When you’re 12 and you see your best-friend in a casket….that’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Elise left behind a loving family and so many friends that would miss her and talk about her many years after her passing. She left behind a huge mark in this world, in my life, and 16 years later, she still crosses my mind. I think about Elise often, but more-so, when I go through a milestone. I don’t just think about “I really wish Elise was here to share this with me”, I think of how absolutely unfair it is that she didn’t get to experience life….the way I could.

Elise didn’t get to go to high-school. She wouldn’t go to prom.

She wouldn’t have the chance to have a boyfriend or a first kiss.

She wouldn’t get to drive a car and get a license.

She wouldn’t get to walk across that graduation stage.

She wouldn’t go to college or to establish a career or even have a first job.

She would never have the chance to meet a great guy, fall in love, get married and have babies. She would never get to be a mother (and I’m certain that she would have been the best mother). 

She didn’t get to do any of those things and so much more, but for me, I was able to. So, why me? Why am I here on Earth when Elise, a young girl that was way more kind and more special than me, had to lose out on all of that? Some days, I feel like I take life for granted, I mean, I think we all do. I think we all believe that life isn’t as beautiful and fragile as it truly is. And oh…it truly is so fragile. We have to remind ourselves that we need to live life to the fullest but to not only live life, but to live our best life… for all of the people that would never get the chance.

While I do think about Elise very often, I rarely talk about her. For me, it’s painful and it makes me sad, but that doesn’t mean her memory isn’t there. Elise would be 28 next month. I often wonder where life would have taken her. There’s no doubt that she would have done amazing things. I wonder if we would have stayed best-friends or if we would’ve drifted apart… I wish I could’ve had the chance to find that out.

I miss her. I think there will always be that 12 year old girl inside of me that mourns the loss of her. She was a good person and an amazing friend. If there’s a Heaven, Elise sure is up there….holding babies and laughing at me. And complaining about shaving her legs.

An open letter to anyone young that lost a parent

To the young adults out there that lost a parent, this one is for you.

You experienced a great loss and your still so young with so much life ahead of you. You often wonder how you can make it through the rest of your life without the parent that is no longer here. I see you struggling. On the outside, you hold it together. You keep a smile and hold your head up high; you want to take on the world and embrace life. You meet new people and want to tell them your story, because maybe they understand. Maybe they know what it feels like. You keep a smile on your face.

Every-day is a good day until a memory strikes you. And it happens so fast. You could be having a normal day until something happens. Something triggers your memory. It could be a song. It could be a picture. It could be a moment; a quick glimmer of a memory that stops you dead in your tracks and leaves you breathless. You close your eyes, take a deep breath, and remember the memory. Because that is all you have now, memories. Sometimes, especially in the beginning of it all, tears roll down your face. And then those tiny tears can turn into a few minutes of sobbing. Now, you have to sit down, because the memories, your emotions, are simply too much for you to keep you on your feet. You wonder when it will get easier. You wonder when a Tom Petty song or a white Ford pickup won’t leave your heart aching. You wonder if it will ever get easier.

Because you heard that it does get easier. You’ve heard that the deep heartbreak will turn into a dull ache. It won’t be so sad.  It won’t be so bad. It gets better. Some-day…

People have told you that the memories won’t always make you want to cry, won’t always make you feel so sad. One day, it will make you smile instead of weep. Yet, you still experience the heartbreak and the daily reminder that your parent is no longer here on Earth. And it just hits you: it could be that you go to pick up your phone to give them a call, and the sudden realization that you can’t, isn’t fair. Or, you may want to share some amazing news like you bought a house or that you’re pregnant. But you can’t. And again, it’s not fair. It’s not fair that all of these new and exciting events going on in your life also make you feel sadness in your heart. You feel sadness because they aren’t here to see it. They aren’t here to talk about it, to live it with you. Maybe it’s seeing you walk across the graduation stage or to hold their first Grandbaby, whatever it may be, they aren’t here, and the bitterness that you feel about that sometimes overwhelms and consumes you.

You try as hard as you can to live your best life, because people keep telling you “that is what they would want.” But it’s hard. I know that this is so hard. You don’t understand why these people even say this because normally, it’s those people that have no clue to what it feels like.

No. When you’re young and lose a parent, it’s a loss like no other. It’s not like losing a Grandparent that lived a long and beautiful life. It’s a bitter loss. An unfair loss. You are still so young, you still need your parents. It’s a loss that takes you for all you have and leaves you blinded by pain. It’s a loss that leaves you doubting life, doubting things that you could have, should have, done. I should have called more. I should have visited more. I wish I was different. I could have helped. It’s a loss that leaves you thinking these thoughts. They are cruel thoughts; constantly reeling through your brain like a hamster on a wheel. It can eat you up if you let it. Don’t let it.

It’s a loss that not everyone understands until they go through it. Meeting someone else that has lost a parent feels soothing; almost like you can open the floodgates and talk for hours about feelings, memories, and the past. You may know a few of these people and you keep them close to you. You now, unfortunately, are a member of an unspoken club and we have to stick together.

And then the birthdays happen. You spend the whole day wishing that you could call them on their birthday. You spend time wishing that you called all those previous years. You spend the whole day thinking about them. You may visit their grave or a place they loved to be at while here on Earth. You may look at pictures, listen to old voice mails, or do something kind for a stranger in their honor. Whatever it may be, this day is hard for you. Their birthday is another constant reminder that they aren’t here with you.

And then comes the anniversary of their death. It never gets easier. It may be one year, it may be ten years. It’s still hard. Instead of making it a sad day, you want to smile, so maybe you do something kind for a stranger. Maybe you plant some flowers, visit with a friend, or just sit on your sofa and cry. That is perfectly alright, too. You can cry today. Just cry. You can still grieve, it doesn’t have to be a fresh loss, you can grieve for as long as you need to.

That leaves me with one last thought, my friend. You don’t have a time limit on your grief. You can take this process for as long as you need to. It takes time. You may never get over it. It’s been a little over two years for me and I am still grieving. I’m not crying everyday, but I am still grieving in my own way. And that’s fine. There may always be a piece of your heart broken from this loss. I want you to know that it’s okay. I hope you find something that repairs that broken piece. I truly believe that my sons were placed on this Earth to fill my broken piece. My loss still hurts. I grieve in my own way, and you can too. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human.

So I’m closing this letter with a final goodbye. I want to tell you, my friend, that I know what it’s like. All of it. The heartbreak, gut-wrenching sadness, grief, “what-ifs”, and blame. I know it all too well. You are never alone in this. And I wish that I could tell you that it gets better, but I’m still waiting for that myself.

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