Dear Suicide…I have a dear, dear friend, maybe a better friend than you can ask for at times, that was greatly affected by you, and didn’t even ask for you to be in her life. I have a dear friend, whose mother was taken by you, without questions answered, without any sign of your coming, without any ability to meet you at the door and escort you far, far away. My dear friend, Lis Crosby, is only 23, and because of you, she will never see her mother’s hair all turn white. She will never be able to hand over one of her children to it’s grandmother. She doesn’t understand you and neither do I. Why would you do such a thing. Because of you, there is so much that her mother will miss out on in Lis’ life and the life of her brother Jonathan. But why am I telling you this. You already know this by now as you take an adult life almost every 16 minutes in the United States and attempt to take one every minute. You are tricky and deceiving because you offer solutions with no reasonable answers. You are real. You are scary. And you are lurking in every corner. Not only have I lost my dear friend Lis’ mother, Nancy, but also several friends, and parents of friends. Not long ago, you met the father of a friend of mine. You hide in the minds of our children, our elderly and those in between. I am thankful I have never wanted to taste of your breath, but I can’t say so much for many, many people I have met. The only solution to getting rid of you is through education, and awareness and talking, comforting and compassion. So watch out. Because…we’re on a mission.
Nancy Crosby was born on December 7, 1963. She died on September 30th, 2006. I remember that day almost too well. I had just left work and got a call from my friend Tonya. “Uh honey.” I could tell she was crying on the other end of the phone. “They just found Lis’ mom.” And from there on, everything is a blur. I remember pulling up to her Granny’s house and seeing all of the cars, all of the people in AA surrounding Lis, only twenty at the time, and already, several years sober, comforting her as she and her brother screamed up into the trees. Why? Why? I had never experienced so much pain, angst and anger all mixed into one strange concoction. After talking to Lis, or talking at her in her fog and haze of confusion, Tonya and I went to her mother’s house to get Nancy’s dog Serenity. When we walked into the house, I was somewhat eerie, being that Nancy had only been found hours before, but somehow, the house was comforting. I didn’t experience any fear as I walked through the house and we got Serenity and put her in the car. Through those next several days, I saw a young girl shattered by the loss of her mom.
A year and a half later, Lis got to do the same for me. She was by my side the entire time my mother was sick, and eventually died from a rare disease. We laughed together, we cried together. And a 21 year old, LADY, walked me through how to deal with a funeral. Our mothers are even buried only five feet from each other. And we find comfort in that. What we don’t find comfort in is how both of their deaths could have been prevented. In the case of my mother, she had a rare disease that went undiagnosed for far too long, and probably could have prevented her death. And for Nancy? Well, much the same can be said for her disease. Because suicide and depression are diseases in this country that go far to unnoticed and dealt with appropriately.
This Saturday will mark the 2nd anniversary of Team Nancy marching in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk for suicide prevention. All money raised will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Lis and her brother Jonathan will both be marching again, as will many people in more than 200 communities across the United States. I know many people read my blog who care alot about mental health and addiction issues. Please donate to help their cause as it is vital that more attention is brought to depression and suicide so it can be brought out of the darkness and into the light. On the main page of my blog, I have linked The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Team Nancy for donations and more information about the walk in Indianapolis this Saturday, September 12th, 2009, and Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender issues related to suicide.
The information is astonishing. And as I walk past my mother’s grave and visit Nancy, telling her every time, that I’m watching over Lis and taking care of her the best I can, I know somewhere she’s watching. But I have to believe that things got just too painful for her. Life became too overwhelming and somehow she ran out of options. But I don’t believe she would trade it all in if she had known other options. She was one damn fighter, we just didn’t know how to help her into the ring.
I remember when my mother got sick and we didn’t know what disease her symptoms were indicating, I asked her why she wasn’t fighting harder. “If I knew what I was fighting, I could fight.” And much can be said for depression and suicide as well. So reach out, learn and contribute. In these trying times, we should cherish the ones around us more and hug often and remember…we’re on borrowed time as it is!