You Are Not Alone

Dear Mom,

There are so many things I wish I could have said to you before you left us. There are even more things I’d tell you if I had one more chance to talk to you. Here are some of those things.

First (and most important): I do not blame you for ending your life. It goes without saying that my life has been incredibly sad and difficult without you. Some days are happy and easy. Some days are unbearable and endless. Some days there’s nothing I want to do more than pick up the phone and hear your voice, same as always. Like nothing has changed. Some days I wake up, take a deep breath, and push away the burdening weight of reality. Other days pose challenges that make that weight nearly impossible to bear. All that said: I do not blame you. I do not see what you did as selfish. I am not angry at you. I am sad and frustrated that you felt so profoundly low, that suicide was the only way out. I feel angry that you fell victim to the punishing darkness of depression and anxiety. I feel frustrated that, no matter how hard we tried, and no matter how much you were loved and supported, nothing would have changed the outcome. That reality is the toughest one to accept, but it’s one that I am working to accept each and every day, even though I so fiercely resist it.

Second: I am getting help. I’m sure if there were a way for you to still worry about me, even though you’re gone, you’d be worrying. But don’t worry, Mom, I am getting help. Like I said, I have my good days and my…not-so-good days. And on those not-so-good days, I know what to do to combat the pain. Sure, sometimes it may be tough to pull out those tools and make things “good” again, but I know I have those tools when I need to use them. I have amazing friends. My friends and sorority sisters at school, and friends from home, have been incredibly supportive, caring, and understanding these last six months. Our family has also been so, so wonderful. They are always there when I need a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to chat on the phone or go to lunch with. I’m also talking to a therapist once a week and I go to a support group for people who have lost loved ones to suicide. I am doing anything and everything to help myself. Sometimes I feel the urge to push people away and just let myself feel the pain. Other times I try to figure things out on my own–and a lot of the time, I can figure things out on my own. However, I know that I can ask for help, and frequently I do. There is no shame in asking for help–and I know you simply couldn’t comprehend this fact in the state you were in, but of course I understand that. I commend you on all the bravery you were able to find in your final days of life. You were as strong as you could have been and I am forever proud of you.

Third: I miss you. There’s no doubt about it, Mommy. I miss you. Every second of the day I miss you. I miss every single little detail of you, and of our relationship. I spend countless hours remembering all the little things. Your hair. Your smile. The way you always said your eyes were green, even though everyone knows they were blue. Your laugh. The way we’d text all day long. Our morning, afternoon, and evening phone calls. The way you always got baby powder all over your clothes after the shower. The way you ordered salads at the diner. The songs you loved hearing on the radio in the car, and the way you loved hearing me sing along. Your unwavering support of my hopes and dreams. Your unfaltering pride in me, even if I didn’t achieve as much as I wanted to, or thought I could have done better. Your silly nicknames for me. How you always sat in the kitchen every morning in your bathrobe, waiting for me to wake up and greeting me with a, “Hi, J!”, a hug and a kiss. Every. Little. Thing. I could go on forever and ever (kind of like I did just now) about all the little things that are now missing. All the happy little details that made you who you were. And the best part about all those little details is that they’ll always be with me. In fact, they’re a part of me, too. You brought me into this world, and though you left it all too soon, you’re still in it because I carry your life with me–and all the little things that everyone knew and loved about you.

Fourth (I’m ending on four because it was your favorite number): I will be okay. Mommy, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to have you back. There are a million what-ifs and questions without answers. I would trade anything to tell you I love you just one more time. I have a whole life ahead of me that, sadly, you won’t be here to share with me. Graduating college. Getting my first job. Getting married. Buying a house. Having kids. All the important milestones that I always envisioned you being there for, but you won’t be. I’ll always replay the last days in my head, what could have been said or done differently, even though I know there’s no sense in thinking of every possible scenario. But Mom—listen. I will be okay. I smile. I laugh. I see friends. I do things that I enjoy. I study hard. I let loose and have fun. I do things I don’t want to do. I cry. I yell. I complain. I talk about myself too much. I worry needlessly. I isolate at times. I compliment myself. I go on adventures just because. I surround myself with quality people. I’ve built a little home for myself. I recognize my faults and weaknesses and accept them. I do little things just for me. The only thing that you need to take away from all of this is that I will be okay. I will have my good days, and my not-so-good days, but with time, patience, and love, I will survive. I may not have you by my side, but I have your vivacious spirit, your iron will, your compassion for others, and your determination to succeed.

And Mom, all of that will be enough to get me through this tough time, and enliven all the opportunities, good fortune, and happiness that I’m sure will come my way.

I love you, Mommy. Forever, Your Jaybird