Suicide is in the forefront of everyone's mind these days.
I'm gonna let you in to some of my dark history, some of the stuff I don't really talk about.
During my early to mid teen years I talked about suicide. Like a lot. I 'wanted' to end things, but I never had the 'courage'. I had a couple of friends that we had it all figured out, how we would do it, when, etc.
I'm beyond glad that I never was so incredibly stupid.
I'm not judging others, so let me make that clear. But when I look at all these wonderful, amazing things I have in my life, I think to myself about how I would have missed all that. How it never would have been. And that is a sad, sad thought to me. A scary thought.
All those bad things, the bad times, the difficulties when I had no idea how to handle the mass of feelings I was having during those tender years, I get why people do it. I don't agree with it. I am amazed by how my life has turned out though.
But I did lose one friend to suicide. That's what I'm here to tell you about.
I met Rachel through some mutual friends when I was around 16. It was during my downward spiral that was my life at that time. I was an addict, and it was getting worse during that time. I was in with a bad crowd, and barely making it through the things that I had obligations to do.
I was a teenager.
And don't get me wrong, I wasn't as bad as other kids out there. I'm not here to compare, I'm here to simply share my experiences.
Rachel was this calming force in our lives. She was about 18 at the time I met her. She was awesome. We all loved her. The guys in our group were infatuated with her.
I saw her as the balance to all of our craziness.
She was my anchor. When I was having a bad day, she's who I called.
When I needed to get away, she's who I called.
When I wanted to laugh and just hang out, she's who I called.
And when I was having a bad trip, she's who I called. She was the only one that could bring me down from the ledges. And there were plenty of times that happened, and plenty of times that she was called. The last time being the worst, and someone else had to call her, and she almost had to come to save me.
We spent a bit of time together for those next few years. We had a lot of fun, and partied hard.
But Rachel had her own demons. She took on everyone else's demons, and never took care of her own. She was in and out of treatment for mental health, but we all thought she was doing good.
Then she wasn't. She spent the better part of a few months in intensive treatment.
Then she tried to end it all.
And then she spent months in inpatient treatment.
It didn't work.
She found the key to her dad's gun cabinet.
She unlocked it and took out a gun.
She put it in her mouth, and pulled the trigger.
She ended those things that she couldn't figure out how to take care of in her own life, all the while taking care of everyone else's issues.
It was 1999, and I remember her funeral like it was yesterday.
And after the funeral, I went out with friends and partied like there was no tomorrow.
And in those moments, those days, those weeks of sorrow I was both jealous of her for having the courage that I didn't, and beyond pissed off at her that she could do that to us, to her friends, her family.
How could she make the decision to end our time with her? I didn't understand it then, and life experiences have helped me to get it in some ways, but not in others.
To this day I love that girl. I ache that she chose to end it when she did.
But it was in the aftermath of that death, the wake of emotions that tore me up beyond belief, that I realized I wanted only one thing.
To live my life in the best way possible.
To fix the person I was.
To choose life.
It wasn't easy, and it didn't happen overnight. But that was the start of the me that I am now. That was the start of a new life, the life that I live, and love today.
And I couldn't imagine it any other way.
Rachel, I miss you. I miss how giving you were, how thoughtful you were, and how badly you wanted to help everyone in your life, at the expense of your own happiness. I hope beyond hope that you have found peace, and that you are watching down on me now and proud of where I have ended up. I know that had you stuck it out you would be an amazing person today. You would have remained the selfless, loving, caring person that you were back then.