It was 1997. I had known her a decade since high school freshman year. Now we were post college, post wedding (hers) and were living in the same town once again.
Her beautiful bright baby boy was two, and I often watched him when she needed a break or whatever. He called me “Keeta” which I absolutely loved, but that’s not important to this story.
One night she came home in time to put him to bed. I don’t remember why she’d been out, why I’d been watching him. But I stuck around to hang out after he was asleep. I watched her climb into bed to read him a story, and remember thinking what an amazing mom she was, what an incredible boy.
We sat in the living room after he slept and the story painfully flowed. Her husband was cheating. A divorce was inevitable. And she uttered the words:
“He’ll be better off without me. He’s too young to remember me. It won’t affect him.”
She had a plan.
I was shocked, distraught, terrified. I knew little of mental illness or suicide at the time. I just knew this was wrong. She was wrong. But she wasn’t kidding. I tried to dissuade her as best I could with love and reassurance. Then made plans to see her the next night.
As she drove to my house the following evening I knew her soon-to-be Ex and her parents were together, and I knew I had to reach them. I called and I said:
“She’s suicidal. She told me she has a plan. That you’d all be better off without her.”
First to her Mom, who understandably stumbled and passed me to her Dad. I repeated my words and was passed to her husband, who said I was wrong. Mistaken. She was just crying wolf, looking for attention.
I was so mad.
When she arrived at my house that night, I told her what I had done. I was going to take this seriously. This was not an OK solution. We talked and talked. I told our mutual friends. I just wanted her to know we were there for her.
I can’t say that I saved her that day. But perhaps it made a difference. Perhaps she felt love and saw reason … that time.
I miss her.
But I am so unbelievably glad that her 15-year-old son got 13 more years of knowing her.
He’s not better off without her. And neither am I.
If you are feeling like your family would be better off without you, please ask for help. Seek medical attention immediately. Call the suicide prevention lifeline at (800) 273-TALK. You are not alone. Also note, Sept. 4-10 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Check back for more info.
This post is linked up with WriteonEdge. This week’s RemembeRED prompt was to write a memory of myself with someone else.