A few years ago my husband and I were driving home after a football game and his phone rang. By the tone of his voice I knew something wasn’t right. I knew that he was talking to someone from work about one of my best friends (who was married to a coworker). I asked what was wrong, and he said he wanted to wait until we got home to talk about it. I knew at that moment it was bad and demanded to know.
She was gone.
A split second decision and a gun in her hand she made the decision to end her own life.
I couldn’t imagine my sweet, funny and beautiful friend being that depressed. She was never without a smile on her face. Imagining her broken and desperate as she had to have been in that moment truly wrecked me. She was religious, so I wondered what her family and friends would think about her. Would they say she had sinned? That she was a coward? So many emotions ran through me in those days after her suicide. Sadness, grief, worry, anger, confusion.
I blamed myself as many do when a loved one makes that decision. If I had only seen the signs. Had she said anything that indicated this? We had dinner a couple weeks before and she seemed positive about things. That past year had been tough on her, she lost her father and had been having some personal issues but it always amazed me how upbeat and ‘glass half full’ she always was. Apparently, she was just really good at hiding things.
Suicide is preventable, but it’s also not certain you will see any signs. People are complex, multi faceted beings and although you know someone well, you have to realize you will never understand them completely. Even open books have secrets. We just have to be the best we can to those around us. Let your loved ones know you are there for them in good times and bad. Suicide should not be a taboo issue to talk about and it should be talked about often. I have had my own struggles with anxiety and depression throughout my life and I would always bottle things up until I exploded.
It’s been a few years now since I lost her and will never fully mend the hole that Charity left. I still go through bouts of sadness and confusion about her death. There is never closure in this kind of situation, only a shell of an answer that will never be good enough. The one thing I can say that I have learned from this devastating loss is to trust in my friends and family when I am going through hard times. You don’t have to carry the weight alone.
I have photo booth images of us from her wedding day framed in my home, in it we are making silly faces and having so much fun. Each and every time I walk by I think of her. I don’t want to forget her hidden struggles but I also want to remember her amazing smile. Although she was broken on the inside. She was whole and beautiful to me and I want her to remain that way in my memory.