I didn’t get it then. I was 13. A pre-teen who lived with my mother, step-father & sister Cindy a couple of months a year, due to being caught in the Custody battles between my Mother & real Dad. Cindy & I argued. She was 15. I was a little bratty sister who idolized her & would steal her cool clothes to wear them to school so I could feel cool too. We were best friends before we got torn apart by those custody battles. I idolized her. She was smart, pretty, funny-loved. I was always in trouble. The one who wanted acceptance like her. Cindy was my Mom’s favorite. My Mom didn’t accept me because I loved my Dad, & she hated him. Any time we got to spend together was precious. She’d hide my hamster on me. Kid stuff. We had fun together, until THAT day. The day I woke up lying next to my sister in her bed, & watched her eyes roll to the back of her head as she became unresponsive.
I have nightmares to this day, & can’t sleep through the night. My sister was taken to the hospital & put in ICU for 13 days & nights in a brain dead coma because my parents argued over life support. Cindy had decided 2 weeks prior to end her pain by taking a few pills daily over a 2 week period & was now in organ failure. They hadn’t even waited to turn off life support before my mother moved me into her bedroom & started painting the walls. They weren’t going to be sleeping in there, in that room, that bed. Sure-just cover the walls, cover it all up! Cover the guilt & shame in a new shade of lavender. At 13, I watched my Dad get escorted out of the ICU waiting room & told he is “not allowed back or able to attend her funeral because my mother was a Paralegal & could have any fancy documents printed up that she needed to fuel the fire in the insane custody battle that tore my life apart. My Dad was destroyed. My life & childhood was destroyed. My childhood ended at 4:18pm on March 31, 1984, the day the hospital called to let us know Cindy was gone. Gone because she was depressed. Gone because I didn’t live with her full-time & it was my fault according to my mother.
I never told my mother she was sad. NOW she wanted me around because I was the replacement kid. The void-filler. I missed 2 days of school. They whispered about me in the halls. Now I was the center of attention. Suicide. No one talked about that. Kids were cruel. “Was your sister crazy?”, & when I stated “I would have done it if she hadn’t, people now paid attention to the replacement kid & to the goings on in my Mother’s house. People should listen to kids. My mother blamed my Dad, my Dad blamed himself, I blamed my step-father but you know what?-everyone is to blame! Suicide is the silent Cancer that eats away everything you thought you knew. Cindy had planned this & when she finally confided in me what she had done, it was too late to save her.The secret Cancer was destroying her organs inside. I can still hear the sound of her hospital room & the vent breathing for her. I work in the ER now & always tense up when I see that long tube being used on a patient who can’t breathe for themselves. There I see my idol, my childhood, my sister as her organs shut down. In my heart I know why she did it, but she didn’t really want to die. She just wanted to end her pain & sadness. That’s what it’s all about right?
Losing my best friend at 13, forced me to grow up real fast. Her death opened my eyes & taught me so many things I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. I can’t stand seeing anyone unhappy. What if they are sad & have no one to talk to? I never want anyone to feel the way Cindy did. Hopeless.There is help. Be the Voice for them when they feel they don’t have one. Give back. Healing is hard, but it happens. Speak out. Join support groups. Raise awareness for Suicide prevention by walking in Out of the Darkness Walks. There’s no better therapy than being around hundreds of other people who “get it”. They took their own life; don’t let them take yours too. I get it all NOW.