I was not going to write anything very personal on here. Yet here we are. How could I not?
My friend passed away. I keep saying “passed away” because it sounds less horrible, but I hate those two words. She died. After years of struggling with Anorexia and BPD, she died.
I have never lost anyone really close to me. I keep being told how I am feeling is “normal”. Half the time I do not know what I am feeling, and banging on about me feels selfish. I am not the dead one. I am not her family. This is not about me.
And yet here I am making it all about me. The hardest reaction I have had to face is this feeling of “I wish it was me”. I hate myself for that. I know a lot of people feel like that when someone dies, but the reasons I feel it are probably not “normal”. I am conflicted between two parts of me; this one that wants to be gone too, and the other that thinks that surely this should make me want to fight harder than ever? And it does. I want to be here for all of the other people who I know who need me; I do not want anyone to ever feel alone. But I cannot make that part big enough right now.
I do have moments where I “forget” what has happened, but that in itself makes the guilt stronger, and when it hits me again, it feels worse than ever. It is like finding out all over again. My heart sinks, my stomach flips, my shoulders feel heavy and I run around those same thoughts again; maybe it isn’t true, it cannot be true. It is true.
I remember her in the time between. What is that? It is the seconds between the seconds. It is the quick pauses in a conversation where I was distracted but then it comes back. Time goes slow. I remember her when I wake up, I remember her when I listen to certain songs. I remember her when I am walking and the sun is setting, and another day is over.
I took a while to cry. The first time I really cried was when my mental health nurse came to see me. But I did have a two second cry the morning after I found out. A two second cry within those first days of utter numbness. I left the house that next morning, and I walked past another person. Maybe a man, I cannot remember. Two things crossed my mind. One, my friend is not alive. She is not walking down a street where she lives. She is not breathing like this man, she is not existing like this man. Two, the rest of the world is carrying on. Most of the world do not even know. I wanted to scream. I wanted everyone to know. I wanted everyone to be thinking of her. How can the world be carrying on when something like this has happened? But the truth is something like this happens every day, multiple times per day. People kill themselves, and they fade away into a statistic.
The people left behind are left with feelings that you cannot put into words, and as someone who has felt very similarly to my friend, trying to work out how you feel becomes even more complex.
She messaged me the day before, asking about my new job. I was struggling and I did not want to think about starting work, so I did not reply until the next day. I replied 43 minutes after she died. I cannot help but think that her message could have led to a conversation where I could have “saved” her. But then, maybe, if she could come back for five minutes, and she was given the choice of whether to do it again…maybe she would. And maybe we have to respect that, as much as nobody wants to say it.
But then again, maybe she would not. Maybe she would be sat at home right now with her two children and her husband, laughing.