Fighting For Air

This time of year, I feel the grief of everyone I have lost through the years. Too many people. Some gone too soon. Others leaving a broken heart in their shadows as they walk away.

Tonight is one of those moments of intense grief. Memories drifting through my mind. The pain and hurt proving that I’m still alive and breathing. Even though I don’t want to be.

I wish I could scream out loud. Swear at the universe. Instead, I scream on the inside. Because I don’t have that voice that allows me to express these emotions in as powerful a way as I feel them on the inside. So they remain there. Where only I can hear them.

These waves of grief wash over me. Pulling me under. Drowning me. But I fight for the surface. I fight for that elusive air.

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Why

This is a letter I wrote a few years ago, for a friend of mine who ended his life when we were 19 years old. I’m hoping that sending this out into the universe will help me let go.

Dear M,

You were one of my closest friends that year.

Standing on the balcony, without looking at me, you told me that you were in love with me. I didn’t know what to say. I just didn’t feel the same way. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I knew I didn’t want to lie to you either. I told you the truth, and I could see the disappointment and hurt all over your face. When you walked away, I wanted to come after you, but I didn’t.

You were in the house right across from me. Before I fell asleep that night, I thought of you. I didn’t know that it would be your last night. Why didn’t I come see you? I should have come to you.

But I never got a second chance.

Why couldn’t I tell how you were feeling? I’m usually good at seeing beyond masks. So then why couldn’t I see past yours?

I’m so angry with you. Why didn’t you talk to me and tell me what was wrong? Why did you leave me behind? It’s not fair.

I had just been dealing with my dad’s suicide attempts. And then you went and succeeded. How was I supposed to feel when I had just lost a few of the most important people in my life over a 2 year period before meeting you, and had to deal with my dad, and then you?

But how can I be mad at you when I have been wanting to take my own life since I was a little girl? That makes me a hypocrite. But I never followed through. I stayed when every part of me wanted to leave this life. Why couldn’t you? Why did you have to leave? Sometimes I hate you.

I couldn’t even look your parents in their eyes at your funeral. How could I tell them that I was the reason you were gone? Because that’s how I felt at the time. That maybe I was the reason you finally gave up. Sometimes I still feel like that. It seems like the only explanation. I couldn’t bear to look at your picture. I just sat there. Numb. Empty.

I was so angry the day after you left, when they told us all that God had called you home. I wanted to stand up and yell at them. How dare they say that! That was the beginning of the end of my journey of faith. I know you would probably be disappointed, but I just can’t believe in a god that allows so much injustice and suffering.

Everyone else seemed to be over it after a few days, and carried on as if it had never happened. But I just couldn’t. Nothing felt real, and everything was a blur for the next few months. Life seemed to go on around me, people talking and laughing, my best friend didn’t even know how much I was struggling. I couldn’t talk about you. I wasn’t interested in anything. The voices all around me, seemed like they were miles away.

My heart is broken today.
Never again will I see your warm smile.
Never again will I hear your contagious laughter.

You were only 19. Your whole life was ahead of you.
You’ll never get to see another sunrise or sunset.
You’ll never get to feel the cool breeze on your skin.
You’ll never get to see the beauty of a baby being born.
You’ll never get to see the random acts of kindness that warm the soul.
You’ll never get to experience the love you deserved.

I’m so sorry for letting you down.

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.

You’ll always have a space in my heart.

Love,
Rayne

Don’t Tell Me

Don’t tell me it’s in the past, that I need to let it go.
Because the past has the sneaky habit of intruding on the present.

Don’t tell me what I feel is wrong.
Because what I feel is coming from a real place and there’s a reason for it.

Don’t tell me I need religion and God (your idea of God anyway).
Because religion fucked me up in more ways than one.

Don’t tell me that life will get better if I just have faith that it will.
Because you can’t see into my future.

Don’t tell me you understand exactly how I feel.
Because you couldn’t possibly know. You have no idea.

Don’t tell me I don’t need therapy.
Because therapy is helping me deal with deep seated pain and trauma.

Don’t tell me I don’t need medication.
Because that medication is helping to keep me relatively sane.

Don’t tell me I’m overreacting.
Because in that moment I can’t think straight.

Don’t tell me you love me.
Because you’re not capable of real love.

Just leave me alone.