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Another year

My darling Jess,

Another year has passed almost. Another year when you are not here to make plans with, laugh with, dream with, dance with, share everything with. I want to tell you I miss you, but those words don’t even come close to the desperate longing I feel to see you one last time, to say goodbye to a person who is alive, instead of the cold, blue, lifeless body I identified as ‘you’ in the morgue. Waves of grief and shock still take me with such force that I struggle to breathe, struggle to see how the pain will subside. It does, of course – I’ve learnt that about grief now – but it has been five years since I saw you and it still feels the same when it hits. And it hurts to know that you were saying goodbye to me, that you had made your decision and knew what you were going to do, but I didn’t know and I didn’t get to say goodbye or tell you how important you were to me. When I hugged you goodbye I thought we would meet in a week or two – you were feeling better and would soon be coming home, finding a different job, getting back to normal.

Except you didn’t ever get back to normal.

Ten days later you travelled to W_____ Bay and checked into a hotel and in the morning, as the sun rose over the sea turning the sky pink and gold, you rolled forward over the cliff edge and fell. You died instantly, of course. There was no doubt in your mind over what you needed to do. No coming back. I remember looking at the pink sky that morning and thinking of you, not knowing that you had already gone. I lived a day in oblivion and then the call came and my whole world fell apart. That night I screamed and howled for hours with a pain I’ve never known before. For weeks and weeks everything was black.

grief

You remain the most beautiful, inspiring, magical person I’ve ever met. Time with you made me sparkle. I thought we had our whole lives to be friends, to grow together, to learn each other’s pasts and share our hopes and dreams. It still takes me by surprise sometimes, that you will never be here again. Today I wanted to talk to you about something I am researching for work and it felt like a blow to the chest when I realised I couldn’t. I never can. I can never talk to you or see you again. We will never dance or go camping or eat chips and drink beer in the summer rain. We will never talk about moon energy or politics or the patriarchy. We will never eat vegan food or talk about our families. We will never go to the beach or the woods again. I will never hear your laugh, your voice, your advice, your fears. I will never see your beautiful face or watch you skudding towards me with your arms over your head ready to give me a hug.

You’ve been gone so much longer than you were in my life and yet the space you have left will never be filled. I used to think this pain would lessen, but the waves still engulf me. There is still so much I want to tell you and ask you, so much I want to know and share and learn. I want to know why, Jess. I want to know what would have happened if you’d been able to tell us how bad things were, what you were planning, how you were feeling. I want to know if things would have got better and if ‘better’ would have been enough. Our connection was forged from a pain I don’t think either of us knew we carried back then, a pain I am even now struggling to understand and assimilate into my life. I felt such a deep connection to you, beyond the love so many people felt for you because of who you were. You were drawn towards the same dark, chaotic world of raves and dysfunction and illicit substances as me, and yet like me had so much more in your life so that we both teetered on the edge together, never allowing ourselves to be fully immersed in that life. I look back and I can see our souls reaching out to each other across so much common ground.

Sometimes you talked to me about the worries weighing you down – your mum’s drinking since your dad’s suicide ten years earlier, your middle sister’s fragility, everyone’s dependency on you. You asked me if I thought people who had lost a parent could ever have children of their own. You shared worries about work and relational struggles and your constant need to keep moving. You shared the darkness that engulfed you near the end. You told me when a switch came on and you could feel yourself coming back, but you didn’t tell me when you lost yourself again. It is heart breaking that no one knew how much pain you were in. You shared so much with me that no one else knew, but you didn’t share enough and I couldn’t help you. 

So many times I’ve wanted to tell you about my therapist, K, and all she has given and found in me. This evening when I was crying over you, over how there will never be anyone like you again, she told me she thinks I was visited by an angel. Spending time with you left me feeling heard and understood, inspired, calm and contained, and truly alive. You saw so much good in me. You wanted the best for me. You let me talk about my difficulties but you knew they weren’t all I was. You taught me how it is possible to feel and be in friendships and left me with a deep knowing about what I want and deserve. What you did got me in touch with the past I tried to bury, it brought me to where I am now, it brought me to a place where I could begin to heal, but I wish it hadn’t taken something so violent and tragic to get me here. You lit up my life in ways you will never know and it is forever darker now you are no longer here.

12 thoughts on “Another year”

  1. So sorry for your pain. Anniversaries can really bring the grief back to the forefront. Sounds like she was a wonderful source of support in your life. Sending you strength to get through this day, please take care of yourself x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This broke my heart reading your beautiful words. What a treasured friendship and such an enormous loss 😢 I’m so, so sorry.

    Also, thank you for giving me an insight into the unknown pain I may have left behind had I been successful the times I’ve tried and failed to end things… you’ve given me perspective as I still struggle with the pull to the darkness at times.. it’s never really life we want to end, it’s the pain.

    I’m so glad that Jess could be there for you and though you’re friendship didn’t last forever, she really touched your heart and I’m sure you touched hers. 💕💔

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, this is a beautiful comment. She touched my life in so many ways that she will never know. Her dad had bipolar and killed himself when she was 16 and her younger sisters were 11 and 13 – the painful legacy it left them isn’t possible to put into words (and knowing she knew what it would do to her mum and sisters because she’d lived it, and still saw no other way out still breaks my heart). Your children and all those who love you would never recover and I’m so happy none of your attempts succeeded. My mum lost her mum to suicide when she was 12 too (though it’s never spoken about) and it’s all such a painful mess with so many questions that will never be answered. This is quite dark but it’s why I always planned to take Nina with me, during the darkest two years after Jess had died and when I was first in ‘proper’ therapy, because I couldn’t leave her to go through what I went through after Jess died (and worse, of course, because I’m her mother) and it’s why it was so important for K to convince me I hadn’t broken her the way I was broken, so I knew I couldn’t take her life away because of my own pain. I hope you’re doing okay today xx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m so glad my comment came across as intended. Because my mum was a narc who made everything about herself I find it really hard to judge when it’s appropriate to share something about me when someone is talking about something to do with them! It’s a fine line and I’m not tuned in enough to my gut instinct to be able to trust myself… don’t wanna be anything like her… but I tried to just comment authentically. Your post did touch me personally. It’s so sad, the word doesn’t even touch it. Completely devastating.

        I totally understand the pull to take Nina with you. I’ve had similar thoughts (in the early years before therapy). That it would be too cruel to leave kids behind, better to take them with. But obviously that’s very skewed thinking and it’s so brilliant we sought help. I just wish everyone could receive the help they need. I’ve held you and Jess in my thoughts since reading your post and actually you both entered my dreams last night. Her memory is what keeps her alive 💛

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I totally understand that fear (my Mum also has NPD) and also the inability to trust our own instincts about what and when to share. I thought it was totally appropriate what you shared and came across as very authentic. That’s so strange (nice strange!) that we were in your dreams. I dreamed of Jess last night and that we were talking about how now she knew things could get better she’d be able to keep that in mind through the dark times, and also that she knew we were all here for her now. She agreed. Then I woke up and… ouch. I really hope you’re okay after the text exchange with Anna, was thinking of you last night xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Aw thank you and that’s again for some perspective. Things can get better!
        I’m glad my msg came across that way. I appreciate you telling me all that.
        Your dream – that’s a sore one, if there is any sort of afterlife or any way of communicating at all then I’m sure that Jess was reaching out to you in your sleep to let you know she’s okay now.
        Thanks for holding me in mind. It’s been a hard couple of days x

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Are things feeling any better today? I really hope they are xxx And yes – I actually did a shamanic journey therapy session a few months after Jess died and it really felt like I had spent some time with her during it. She was light and free and at peace and I left her under an oak tree near my old house playing with a dog – walking away from her in that journey and coming back to my own life was so deeply painful, I wanted to stay there with her forever. It was like that waking up from that dream too, ugh. Sending love xx

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Things got much better through the course of the afternoon/evening thank you.

        Wow that shamanic experience sounds incredible. There’s so much more depth to life than most of us ever experience or could ever understand. These kinds of things show us that. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I so agree! There’s so much going on this incredible universe that our human brains cannot comprehend – I think it’s so arrogant to think that just because we as humans cannot understand something (yet), it doesn’t exist or isn’t real. We didn’t used to understand trauma or the impact of abuse and neglect on developing children’s nervous systems but I’m pretty sure these things still had an effect… xx

        Liked by 1 person

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