The Beginning Of The End

In the chair that I am sitting in now to write, it was the same place that I received a text from one of my dearest friends and soul sister . . . can you talk?

I am having a hard time . . . and we talked and processed which we often did. Over the past 15 years, we processed about being mothers, yoga and mindfulness teachers and human in a messy world. We talked about our love of nature, walks, the sky, space and allowing life to unfold until we knew the next step. We shared about our insecurities, wishes for the future, dreams and those sticky places inside of us that are private only for a few dear ones to know and see. That was our friendship. 

It was a mixture of so many things over the past few years that played a part into her anxieties. Yet sometimes for a myriad of reasons something tricky sticks in our system for reasons that are unclear. 

We navigated the past couple of years together like friends do and I was grateful. 

When she called just a couple of months ago, things had gotten hard and then harder when a week later she got covid. She had brain fog, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, worry, fear, agitation, shame, etc. 

We talked daily for hours trying to figure out what was happening. She had other loved ones doing the same. She had a doctor. What was happening?

Nothing was clear and everything we all knew, researched and consulted on either made perfect sense or no sense at all . . . it could be a mental health condition, inflammation, long haul covid . . . it all fit. 

We waited day-by-day that led into a couple of months to see if medication or taking things off her plate would help. Nothing was helping.

She did everything she was supposed to . . . she walked, she let the sunlight bathe her face, she let her husband hold her, she did yoga, she stayed in close contact with loved ones, she was brutally honest about her dark thoughts, she prayed to God, she went to the beach, but most importantly she received loved. 

And she did the things she resisted most: take medication and succumb to the medical system. Second opinions, quick appointments with doctors, weeks of wait times, voicemails, missed calls, different opinions and changing dosages that made her mind and body feel strange and like someone she didn’t recognize was a part of her never ending cycle.

She would say to me . . . I just want my brain back . . . I just want to be normal again. . . I am scared. She tried so hard in the midst of so much suffering. And so we do what friends do, we show up and companion our loved ones until someday their light comes back. We are their hope merchant.

I had lost contact with her last Tuesday morning after our usual checkin. I never heard from her again. She passed away to suicide. 

I share this for many reasons . . . we need each other. If someone you know is struggling they are truly doing the best that they can. It is not easy navigating the medical system when you don’t feel well and your brain doesn’t work. It is hard to be vulnerable when we give accolades to being strong, resilient and together. It is hard when your bank account doesn’t have months of savings to take time off. It is hard when you have the bare minimum health insurance to keep family costs down. It is hard to suffer and let people see your imperfections and insecurities. 

I look back and realize, I was a companion to my dear soul sister. I couldn’t save her, but I could walk with her. And while I don’t know how this ending will lead into a new beginning, I know that being her friend during this time was a gift that she gave me even today as my heart breaks and tears run down my cheeks in the chair I was in when she called to say . . . can you talk?

And if you happen to be the one suffering . . . ask for help. People want to help and people want to love. It may be the most unlikely person, but trust whoever that is that comes to mind and let them know. 

We are meant to walk with each other. We are meant to be with each other. 

And while Janice doesn’t have her light back here on earth, I know she has it back in the afterlife.

If she could have stayed she would have. 

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