A Beautiful Mind

Monday, June 19, 2006 | 0 Comments

I got a phone call yesterday, the kind that everyone dreads. The kind that starts with a shakey, "I don't know how to tell you this, but..."

... but one of your very close friends is is dead.

A friend of five years took her life last Friday night.

And you go through the "But I just talked to her last week"s

And you go through the "If only I had done this" and "If only I hadn't done that"

But in the end, there wasn't anything that could have been done. She just didn't see the world and life the way that other people did. And it is such a shame.

She was young and smart; articulate and well read. She was funny, with that nicely balanced, slightly oh-so-wrong sense of humor. She had just graduated from college a few months ago. She had a whole, full life ahead of her. She had good friends that loved her dearly and would have done most anything for her because she was a good friend herself.

But she had a different perspective. One that she just couldn't get past. She didn't see the end of college as a new beginning; she saw it as terrible void. She didn't see a full life; she saw a life of pointless activities and meaninglessness.

She was supposed to come over to our house to finish getting the room ready that she was going to move into. The day she was supposed to come over we got a series of strange messages from her on our answering machine. I called her to find out what was up. She said that she was very tired and needed a nap. I knew that she suffered from insomnia, so I said, "Sure no problem. You should get some sleep. We'll be here all day." An hour or so later she left another message. One that was even more frantic than the others. "Uh, I'm sorry I'm not going to be able to make it. Um, something's come up. Bye."

That following weekend we were supposed to have a get together with another friend, J, that she had been looking forward to for months. She would not return the phone calls that I made daily that whole week. She didn't make it to the get together.

The following weekend, J called to let me know that the reason that we hadn't seen our friend around was because she was in the hospital for trying to commit suicide. She had gone in the day that she had left those messages on our machine. This wasn't her first attempt. She had been hospitalized a couple of months ago for the very same thing. And both SSB and I were fairly convinced that she had tried to jump off a bridge that Saturday night before she was taken to the hospital this last time. She had stopped over to our house to hang out and had deep scrapes up both arms. She told us two different stories, the second involved a bridge.

She tried again while she was in the hospital, but they let her out anyway, last Tuesday. I got a call from her that day. She was trying to sound chipper and wanted to small talk, but I could tell that things were not good with her. I told her that I was very glad that she was OK and that I wanted to get together with her the next day. She said there was someone on the other line and that she had to go because she was expecting a very important phone call (which I do not think was true). She agreed that we should get together. I was sick with a migraine Wednesday, so I stopped over to her house on Thursday. She either wasn't home or wasn't answering the door. I left a note on her door letting her know that I had been there and that I missed her.

If I would have known that that was the last opportunity that I had to say anything to her, I might have left a longer note.

But I know that there probably wasn't anything more that we could have done for her. If we would have pushed harder, she would have spiraled faster. If she had been left in the hospital, well, I couldn't see that place giving her the will to live. She was on medication. She was supposed to be seeing a counselor. She had friends to talk to and we were always there for her.

And I was pissed at her. How could she do this to us? We were always there for her. We tried so hard to make things better for her and she just couldn't hang on just a little longer? Maybe a week or two until her medication could have a chance to work? She didn't even believe that she was loved. But there were many people that loved her. There are many people that will feel a void in their lives. I know that I will. I've only had a handful of close friends in my life, by choice, and she was one of them. I have only met a few people that I would keep that close, and damn her if she would take that away from me!

But those are selfish thoughts that you think in grief. Her life was her own, not ours. We should be glad that we had the time that we had with her. It helps to think that she had a terminal mental illness. No one knew how long she had to live, but all of us that she held close knew that it was only a matter of time.

I remember during one of our talks out in the woods, she asked me, "You know that I haven't always been like this, right?"

I answered, "Of course! Of course you haven't always been like this."

She said, "Good. Yes. You're right. I haven't."

Too bad she couldn't see that she wouldn't always be like that. Too bad she couldn't see that the horribleness of life was all in her head.

I had the unfortunate task of letting my coworkers know (as we had both worked at the library for the last 5 years together). It was nearly too much to tell the news over and over in the place where her ghost was lingering everywhere. And then having to console people and try to help them understand. I was in tears as I checked out books, but relieved the people of guilt as we shared a laugh by my somewhat playful demand of, "Pay no attention to me."

I was exhausted by the time I got to my second job. I thought, well, at least I won't have to recount things here. But it turns out that the owner's children were friends with her too and she already knew. She tried to comfort me by saying that she believed that she would still go to heaven because it was a disease. Well that's a nice thought, but I'd rather have her here.


"AG" said...

I am sorry for your friend's tragic loss, and the loss of your good friend.

Laurie said...

I'm so sorry.

OldRoses said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I can't imagine the amount of pain she must have been feeling. You did the best you could. Now you need to take care of you.

evilsciencechick said...

such a complete tragedy. I am so sorry, sweetie.

Flubberwinkle said...

I'm sorry her need to 'escape' overpowered her need to live. I'm sorry you lost a good friend. May she rest in peace.

DrMax said...

Sorry for your loss Syl. Too bad depression robs people of perspective, what seems so hopeless really isn't if you give yourself time.

Elizabeth said...

So sorry. I'll be thinking of you.

Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Sorry Sylvana, it's always tragic to see how fragile people really are.

Derek Knight said...

very sorry for your loss.

Shannon said...

I'm truly sorry.

The Doc said...

My condolences, Syl. I'll be thinking good thoughts about you.

Lyvvie said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I hope she's found some peace, and I hope you find some too. Hugs.

sands of time said...

I am so sorry about your friend.My friend Lori committed suicide 4 years ago.I still feel bad that i couldn't of helped her.I knew she was depressed but i never realised she was that bad.


Wendy A said...

I lost two friends to suicides this year. I don't understand. It must be an age thing. Probably depression. Both were promising, good looking, clever people. They really had it all. Hummmmm so hard to understand. The sadest part is the aftermath of the children they left behind. Leaves a big ???? So sorry to hear about your loss.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Sorry to hear of such a tragic loss, its such a shock and terrible burden to those who loved her, like yourself, natural enough to also feel anger.

You can feel proud of yourself you did your best for her. I cannot concede that those who commit siucide can fully appreciate the terible effect their actions have on those that loved them.

Dr. Who said...

I'm really sorry for your loss Sylvana. I hope your friend finds peace now...

Randi said...

Two years ago in October a very good friend of mine took his life. Theres a link to it on my page, Scott. He said that it was because he couldnt live without his exwife. To me it was such bullshit. I couldnt believe that he would try to pawn somthing like that off on her.

To this day I still have those why's. why didn't he call me, why didnt he call jason. Why did he have to be so selfish and dumb.

To this day I am still so mad at him. I am reminded especially in the summertime because of the so many memories that we had in the summertime.

The pain is not as bad as it used to be. I still miss him horribly. But being mad and angry is not going to bring him back.

Just know that she is not in pain anymore. And you will see her again oneday....and it will be like nothing ever happened.

Please email me if you need to talk....unfortunatly I know just how you feel.......