Cassie* is a beautiful soul. She has this kind of quiet exuberance that you can’t not like, it’s just not possible. She gets right in there during conversations, right into the heart of them, you feel her looking you right in the eye as the words come across the screen. She’s twenty, almost the same age as E. Suddenly, mid message January fifth, she stopped typing that night at 8:31 pm and didn’t reply after my response in our conversation. Somewhere between then and midnight she killed herself.
This is a crystal with many facets. When you stare into it, each facet reflects back into your eye parts of another facet’s image, like a room full of mirrors.
October 31, 1983 I put down alcohol and other illicit drugs. With that being said, working with others you deal with a lot of funerals, hospitals, suicidal feelings, mental illnesses, emotional upheaval, and everything that goes with it. When my own mental health diagnosis came (pre-physical diagnoses) and the internet, I joined many support groups which allowed me to get more help and to help others.
I’ve talked and written, read and been talked to for over thirty years now. I have watched people fly and watched people die.
They die for different reasons and in different ways. Some destroy their bodies, some have their bodies destroy them. Sometimes their mental illnesses and pain slips through our hands and we can’t catch them.
The suicidal messages are the hard ones. Calling the electronics crimes division, hoping they track them down, or the time I found the pedophile yahoo group online and called the police so upset I could barely talk or the girl who was cutting herself on camera. You don’t hear back, you don’t know if they’re ok.
You know from the times you’ve been so afraid, how you’ve felt and you ache for them. The times you just didn’t want to walk anymore, how alone these can be, you get it. The days when the physical or emotional illness seems endless and just can’t be borne another day.
Walking and crawling with E. Ten years she went through absolute Hell, terrified, unable to totally unveil the fullness of her fear. She was always one step from the cliffs edge.
Then there are the ones who fly. Oh, they are glorious creatures and moments. You watch with shining eyes, wanting to soak them in, flying with them and see the clouds. When E. began to even stand up and walk, to be able to hold her head up and look into the sky and see the blue … Oh the tears, the glory.
Then this beautiful creature, this sweet person who fought back from the edge … this baby, Gods own child … this is what I DO. This how I met her … through my support page and I let her slip through my fingers. I didn’t say “Hey, where are you?” I didn’t think it odd. She was sick, tired, my mother antenna had tingled but not hard. I told myself, “I’ll ask her soon.” I told myself she was overworked. I didn’t ask. This what I DO, though, don’t you see, this is my avocation and I dropped her, she dropped off the cliff right next to me. I waited until the next morning to message again since she had been ill and even then worried about manners, about social conventions, I didn’t pursue it.
This time I know the beginning, the middle, the glorious summit, and the awful, horrible, plummeting end and there was a chance to help and I missed it.
I almost dropped E. for ten years. I walked her to the altar of sacrifice, then for years kept her near the edge where she couldn’t tell me and now someones glorious creature is gone. I have failed.
I had been talking in messenger to Cassie after her death. I knew she couldn’t hear me, she’s gone from this world. The awful guilt won’t leave though, I needed to do something with it, needed to tell her how I felt, how sorry I am, so I messaged her Facebook account and talked to the air not expecting anyone to be able to see it. When a response posted today I almost screamed but it was her mother, she had found a way to open her account.
We talked for an hour.
I have to back away from active advocacy in a one on one basis. This is too much for me. Her face swims in front of me, those pretty eyes, that smile, the fast typing messages, the flurry of activity and heartfelt posts. What if I fail again, I can’t risk someones loved one.
I will go back but to what capacity I don’t know, for now, I will write, I will make posts to the page for information and so on but I will let the others field the messages.
For those I failed, I will find a way to work daily to make a daily contrition. I don’t know how else to do this thing.
*Not their real names