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I promised [livejournal.com profile] omni_chan to tell my stories to her, and I figured why not tell everyone else. It can't hurt.

The first time I was affected by suicide was in high school. It was freshman year. A friend of mine, Sam, came to school and was so sleepy she barely made it to first period. She told me she had felt sick the day before and took some Nyquil and figured she took too much. All day I helped her, carrying some of her books, walking her to the next class, and the next one. When we had to do a "group" quiz with a partner, she was my partner and I did both parts of the quiz. I kept her awake during Sigl's class, and made sure she got on the bus after school. I also got her lunch and made sure she ate something. The next day she was down, and listening to Christmas music, it was the only happy music she had in her music collection. The next week she was regular old Sam again.

Jump ahead to Senior year and religion class. It was a small class, and we had one of the awesome teachers. Mrs. Beckett started talking about suicide and opened it to the class, vowing that whatever was spoken about in the class she would not report. (In Illinois it is against the law to attempt suicide, you even get jail time.) One student talked about how a sibling had attempted it, and another talked about how she attempted it herself, but her sister saved her. Then Sam raised her hand. For four years we had been friends. In that class I found out that her "sick day" freshman year had been her attempt at suicide. The night before, she had taken too much Nyquil, an entire bottle. Other than what it could do to you normally, she was also allergic to antihistamines. Sam said that one person had cared enough for her and took care of her that day, and that was why she didn't drink the second bottle of Nyquil when she got home from school. I was that person who cared enough, and I had no clue at the time. All I was doing was what i do anyways, helping a fellow student and friend.

Jump forward to April 19, 2000. Mom had a meeting to go that night, but she called me at my Grandfather's and told me to not go anywhere, she had to talk to me after dinner (in case you are wondering, Grandpa lived around the block and after Grandma died, I would make supper and everything after school when I didn't have rehearsals). I could tell by her face something was wrong,and she told me before dinner. Mom got a call form one of the ladies at church, who knew I was one of the class of 1993, one of my former classmates had committed suicide the night before. There was a mass that night.

I was numb when Mom told me who it was - Katie O'Neill. Katie was my BEST FRIEND. We had been the closest of friends since 2nd grade. The first sleepover I ever went to was at Katie's house. I would walk there after school and we would make popcorn, singing and dancing around the kitchen as we shook it up to get all the salt and butter on it just so. She was the type of friend you didn't need to see every day. Two months would go by (when she went to Michigan for college) and we connected and caught up as if we had seen each other the week before. I was supposed to call her that day to make plans to meet up during spring break. We never made those plans.

No one knows why she did it. She was a brilliant girl, scored a 32 on her ACT in her sophomore year of high school, ran clubs and student government. She wanted to be a missionary and help people, especially kids. She'll never do that now. Ten years later and i am still crying as I sit here typing this and telling you people about her. She had a funny sense of humor and got me. When all you have to say is "Idaho" to get each other cracking up, that is special.

I have been affected by suicide. The only good thing that has come out of it is that I remember to say "I Love you" to the people I care about. I will do anything in my power to help others - this is why I would contemplate running up to Wisconsin if I didn't hear back from someone, or call a friend in another country after midnight and damn the charges! I don't want to lose anyone else to this monster. It's not easy to commit suicide, but it's not easy to be the ones left behind.
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September 2012

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