Sunday, October 31, 2010

Suicidal Thoughts...

Me and Lisa
November 2004
My friend, Lisa, killed herself two years ago this month. I've been thinking about her a lot, as I did at this time last year. I hadn't talked to her in a year when she did it and this year I've found my thoughts centered on that last conversation we had.
Lisa shared with me some risky and self-destructive behavior she had engaged in recently. She laughed at me when I pointed out the obvious and I got frustrated. No, I got angry. I had invested a lot of my time and life in Lisa. She was not a project... but I guess I expected some sort of return on that investment. I don't know, like she owed it to me to make better choices.
Throughout our relationship I had been about grace, acceptance and encouragement... that day I stepped into judgment. Her boys had been living with her brother for a couple of years by then and when I asked her whether she was ever going to do what she needed to do to get them back she told me that they were better off with him. If the words, "Maybe so," didn't convey my disdain, I am certain the tone with which I said them did.
I had no idea that would be the last time I spoke to her. I called a few times, sent a few e-mails and even sent a couple of cards, all with no response from her. And then I stopped.
When I think about her I go through so many different emotions. Mostly, I am deeply saddened. However, there have been times when I've been very angry with her. I wonder how she could be so terribly selfish where her boys were concerned. Didn't she really love them? Isn't a mother's love strong enough to overcome any obstacle? Essentially, I continued to judge her even in death.
She did love those boys. Deeply. She was also right. They were better off with her brother. I see that now. Sometimes the greatest act of love from a parent is to let their children go...
I'm glad that Lisa was part of my life. While I struggle with how I handled our relationship in some respects, I don't in others. I don't know if I'll ever understand it all. I do think there's a bigger picture here that I can't grasp.
The other day I was in my car and heard this song. I'd heard it many times before but this time I heard the message in it. It takes me back to that last conversation, to the judgment of it. I thought I knew better than her. That conversation removed me from her life... it ensured she never turned to me for help again. Lisa killing herself was not my fault, I know that. She was terribly messed up before I ever even came along. I'm not one of those people that has "No Regrets" as a motto. I regret judging her. I pray my regrets help me to make wiser choices in the future.


jojo said...

thoughtful post...suicide is so difficult. I used to feel a judgement about it too, I used to think it was the most selfish thing a person could do until...I found a place in my life when I began thinking that it would be better for my family and friends if I wasn't here. Thank God I got help, and medication. I never want to be in that place again but there will always be a little part of me that understands the desperation and pain. love you CB

Trisha said...

What a powerful song about such an important topic!

Thank you for sharing such a personal experience.

Bluebird49 said...

I don't know what to say...I know you did the best you could to lift your friend up. It is hard to be friends with someone who doesn't love themself, who is in such a dark place--for whatever reasons.

Yes, it is almost impossible to not be judgemental--and we all do it. But try and forgive yourself now, please. You're right--it wasn't your fault. You did what you could to lift her out of her life, but in the end, she made the decision. Life was too painful for her, for what reasons, I don't know.

Unless you've been in a very deep depression for what seems like forever, there's no way you can know what it feels like to think "They'd be better off without me...", and I pray that you never do!

You tried your best---and I'm glad you got to share part of your life with her. You have the type of giving spirit that wants to help--to save--people! That's a wonderful gift!

Elysa said...

Oh, Kelly. I still grieve over Lisa, too, and wonder about her boys. I miss her. And I hate that it ended the way it did. She was so loved.

You were a very, very good friend. And though I know it wasn't your fault, let me just say this:

You may have had one bad last conversation, and for this I am very sorry, but you had so many other wonderful ones with her and you showed her by your ACTIONS that you valued her and love her deeply.