Yesterday, one of my daughter’s friends committed suicide. She was 20 years old, a beautiful young lady with many friends and a whole lifetime ahead of her. The thing is, even with all those friends and the smile that was always on her face, no one has a clue as to why she would do something like this. As far as they’re all piecing together, there was no depression, no break-up, nothing that would seem like such a heavy burden that she’d have nowhere else to turn. Her friends and family are in shock. All questions may inevitably go unanswered. The only thing that can be established is that something was troubling her. On her last night with friends she commented — I think I need to make an appointment with a doctor because I feel like killing myself. In the morning, she was gone.
This is the first close friend my daughter has lost — and in such a tragic and meaningless way. At her age, I had already lost three friends. Two in car accidents and one was murdered. All so young, and also meaningless deaths in events that may possibly have been able to be avoided but who really knows. Maybe it is every bit true that when your time is up…it’s up.
This event has me in a strange place. Maybe because of how young this girl was or maybe because she lived on the same block I did when I first got married. I lived there at the same age that this girl was when she took her last breath. All I can seem to think about is when I was her age…I too wanted to die. The early years in my marriage were more than I could handle at times and I thought about it. Even though those thoughts crossed my mind -often- I could never really go through with it. After all, I was already a mother. What would happen to my child if I was not there?
Since in my heart I knew I could never pull it off, I would pray. Pray that my husband would hit me so hard in the wrong spot or that he’d make good on his threats of stabbing or shooting me to death. I was hopeless. I was helpless. I was desperate. If I did not have the courage enough to get up and get out and had no help from my parents or anyone else, then why not just pray for death? What would have been so bad? It would have been just another – too young, too soon – tragic story. I would have been mourned and life would have continued on without me…without me being abused.
No one knows this but…I tried. From memory, I think it was only twice. Stupid things that would not have done anything – which did not do anything – but to a 20 year old the possibility was there. I remember taking several Tylenol or Ibuprofen or Motrin or Naproxen, I can’t even remember which. Nothing strong enough to do any real damage but I didn’t know that at the time. Another time, I took his belt and wrapped it around my neck and pulled. Hard. I guess I thought I could choke myself that way? Who the hell knows what I was thinking.
I longed for death but didn’t want it to be painful. Go figure. I could take the punches of a man who hit me like he was fighting another man in the street but I couldn’t slit my own wrists. Plus, really…slitting my wrists? That is so “suicidal” and I was above that. I had a real reason for wanting to give up. Not just teenage drama that I was too scared to tell my parents about. For God’s sake, I was being fucking beaten, whipped, spit on, tormented and tortured. With no possible end in sight …who wouldn’t pray for death? Plus, I thought about my ex. It was bad enough I left him broken but if I killed myself or allowed myself to get killed it would send him over the edge. I could never forgive myself for hurting him in that way.
Once I realized I could never really go through with it, I turned on myself. I blamed myself for making the horrific decision of leaving the love of my life and going with someone who abused me. So when he was done doing his best to bruise my body, I’d go into the bathroom and run the water…because he
wanted ordered me to soak my rapidly color changing welts under the cold water. I’d turn the tub and sink faucets on full blast so he couldn’t hear and…attack myself. If I could take his hits, surely I could take my own. So, I hit myself…on the head, face, arms, stomach and legs…pretty hard, for self infliction. I’m not exactly sure what my logic was. What was I accomplishing? It was just a way of me punishing myself – for leaving my ex and for not leaving the abuse. Then I’d just curl up on the floor and cry. Sobbing…I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Less sorry to myself and more sorry to my ex. This was about the time I decided to suck it up, take my medicine and survive until I was able to make it out.
What is my point in telling this part of my story? Like everything else I have written about, I need to let it go. Get it off of my chest… off of my back…out of my mind. Throw it away into the universe. I don’t want it anymore. I’m not that person anymore. I won’t lie and say in all these years the same thoughts haven’t crept up on me, they have. But I am very, very far from that desperate 20 year old that prayed for death. My life was so filled with my own drama that no one knew about at the time (at least not that I’m aware of), I couldn’t imagine any other way to free myself from it.
Again, my thoughts turn to my daughter’s friend. What in the world could she have been going through that she would contemplate and inevitably – whether on purpose or accidentally – follow through with her ideations of suicide? I can’t imagine it was something like I was going through. If not abuse, what? Did she flunk out of school? Did she get fired from her job? Did she get pregnant? Was she in the closet about her sexuality? Was she raped? Did she truly believe that there was something so devastating going on in her life that there was absolutely no one she could turn to? How desperately tragic. If she only knew…everyone that knew her sat vigil in front of her house last night. Everyone is posting pictures of them with her on her Facebook page. Everyone is calling her a beautiful angel. She will never know how many people really, truly loved her.
For some reason this poor little girl is gone. For some reason I am still here. Funnily enough, I no longer pray for death. Instead, I pray for life. I pray for me to calmly and rationally finish this chapter of my life so I can move on to better days. I am still alive.
My 20 year old self would have never believed it but today, in the matter of life and death…amazingly, I choose life.
To read from the beginning… my story starts here.