Suicide has been described as a death like no other. And I agree. Yes, I have lost people, including family members before, but suicide is a completely different type of loss, it truly is.
The 15th April at exactly 11.37pm will always be a date and time I remember. Still fresh and raw, and full of indescribable pain.
Death by suicide stuns with soul-crushing surprise, leaving family and friends not only grieving the unexpected death, but confused and lost by this haunting loss. My best friend passed away at the tender age of 25. I say passed away, because facing the bitter truth is hard. She’s took her own life. She ‘completed’ suicide. My closest friend, angel in disguise and soulmate took her own life.
The term ‘committed suicide’ has always confused me. It makes the deceased sound like a criminal. And I can assure you those who commit suicide are not criminals. She certainly wasn’t a criminal. Prisoner to her own mind, sure. But criminal? Never.
Nat wasn’t a criminal, far from it – she was the kindest soul I’d ever met. We checked in with each other daily; fought against our thoughts together. We beat anorexia by simply defying expectations and eating a meal out together just two weeks before she passed away. A few days before, we went out for coffee; she encouraged me to use weights at the gym – which, I genuinely hate with a passion – to regain all the strength my body had lost. I laughed at the thought of looking ‘weak’ in front of strangers. We were going to beat and survive this together. Making ‘baby steps’ in the direction of freedom. We were going to survive together. We weren’t sisters by blood, but we were sisters by heart; she was the family I chose.
But, ultimately, we couldn’t do that, we didn’t do that. The future without her petrifies me. She once wrote a letter to me during a rough patch saying, ‘We’ll get through this. Together.’ And I just don’t know how I’ll manage without her. She saved me; the guilt of being unable to save her is all consuming.
Having been a suicide attempt survivor myself, I’m lost. At a loss for words, a loss of how to function and survive myself. Sound selfish? I know. My brain is screaming for me to self-destruct. I’m confused, angry, scared. Jealous that it weren’t me. I should have saved her and it should have been me instead. She had so much to live for. If I’m honest, I don’t know how to feel. I know Nat. (Writing knew seems wrong, it just does.) I know she didn’t want her life to stop – she wanted an escape from the immense amount of pain and suffering caused by her own mind. She wanted peace, and I get that. I really do.
The problem with death equating to peace for an individual is the sheer amount of unrest it causes those around them. It leaves them plagued with the ‘what ifs’, ‘how could I have prevented this,’ ‘why didn’t I stop her, say something?,’ etc. Life for those left behind is unbearably hard. How can one carry on knowing that a loved one has gone? So many unanswered questions linger. It’s overwhelming; we’ve all fallen into a pit of denial. ‘It can’t be real.’ ‘She isn’t really gone.’ ‘She’ll text me tomorrow and everything will make sense again. It will all be OK again.’
It’s fucking hard; we don’t know what to do. In the end, we have to find a way to carry on.
Personally, I need Nat to know I won’t cave in, shut down and give up – that’s the last thing she would have wanted me to do. For now, I’m barely keeping myself afloat. But I’ll make it; find dry land soon. Not only for me, but for her too.
I will somehow keep hope alive.