With Easter approaching, I want to share with you the story of a friend I lost on Good Friday years ago. I don’t think I could tell her story any better now than I did in 2011, the year she passed away. I had already lost friends who had taken their own life, as well as my biological father whom I had never met. I’d lost family and friends to natural causes. Michelle’s passing was different, is different. If it could help just one person understand that this is the only life we have and we’re meant to live it, I know she would want her story, our story shared.
Beloved Friend – June 2, 2011
I’d been running my facebook support page for months. It had grown to the point where it needed multiple admins and to be checked multiple times a day instead of the once every few days back in the beginning. We had hundreds of members instead of the handful I expected. I guess I didn’t realize how many people there were like me, that couldn’t get to a face to face support group, or needed more when they were home.
I first noticed Michelle because her posts were a little hard to understand. She was using her phone to access the page, and her typos and missing words were always a part of the posts. She was very far down, there were no okay posts. Only down ones. She would say she couldn’t take it, she would say it hurt too much.
After a few weeks I was talking to her in inbox messages as well as on the page. We had added each other as friends. I read a note of hers that was titled “Read only if you are strong.” She never wanted to bring others down or put things on them that they couldn’t handle. She told me to make sure that I was doing good before reading it. It was a description of what she’d gone through recently. Her son has Dravet’s Syndrome – a child seizure disease. She was constantly overtired because he would have fits through the night as well as the day, and during the day there was no rest because her daughter was awake. She suffered multiple types of abuse by her ex husband, some worse than I want to remember reading, even after the divorce.
She only had one really close friend who would visit when she could, when she wasn’t working to help take care of Michelle’s son. Other than that, she was pretty much on her own. Even her family was not helping much regardless of her son’s health and her mental health.
She made a post one night when I was overtired. As I said before, sometimes her posts were hard to understand. It had something to do with finishing a handful, and I didn’t know what she meant. I am not even sure what I responded with but she said it was good that I didn’t understand her, and she deleted the comment. I realized that she was meaning to finish an overdose that she’d just been starting. I sent her messages in her inbox asking her not to, and begging her to call a crisis line, giving her the phone numbers (she was in the U.K. so I had to look them up, but I did as quickly as possible). I was pleading to a non-responsive screen.
The next day she apologized, she thanked me. She told me she flushed the rest of those pills. About a week later, we got a message that she overdosed and was in the hospital. She messaged us again when she was out of it, she left as soon as they took the needles out of her from the I.V. and left the room. She hated hospitals…
A week later I was messaging her again, I’d seen on her friends wall that she was “going to visit her friend for the last time.” I saw on her wall that her friend would be there soon. I asked her why this would be the last time. She messaged me back saying that she’d tell me the next day maybe. I assured her that I was doing good that Saturday morning, and that my boyfriend would be with me all day and all day the next day, so if I might need support, this was the best time to tell me.
She told me she was dealing with the consequences. I asked what that meant, and she said that her liver was failing. The two overdose attempts weren’t the first. The damage she’d done to her liver was irreversible and because of the reason for the damage, there was no chance of a transplant.
After a couple days, I finally got the courage to ask her friend how long she had, because through the conversation, Michelle gave no real indication. A couple weeks maybe… My heart sank. This woman suffered through so much between her ex husband, her mental state, her children’s health and she had tried to end it all, each time she’d lived she would ask God why, but say that he must have a reason. If she thought one of her friends was already depressed that day, she would inbox another friend with problems instead of posting where everyone could see. Even when she told me she was dying, her main concern was whether or not I was going to be okay with finding out. As the days passed, she would post things on the wall still of the support group. One stuck out in my mind the most.
“i wish i could turn back the clock but i cant”
Michelle English, mother of two, beloved friend, passed away on Good Friday less than one week after she told me she would pass. I’m not a Christian, but she was, so that is how I remember the day. The date was April 22, 2011.
Many people have attempted suicide. Myself included. Sometimes people plan it, sometimes it is done spontaneously. This is a woman that attempted, survived, and then had almost two weeks to come to terms with the fact that she WAS indeed dying. There was no passing out and not waking up, no immediate death. She had to come to terms with what dying really meant. Her response to it? “i wish i could turn back the clock.”
She is missed. She is loved. It took dying to make her want to live and by then it was too late. I hope anyone that reads this looks for what there is to live for, even if it’s just a single person they love, and holds onto it with all their strength until they feel that life is worth living again. We can’t turn back the clock.
~Brutally Honest Eccentric~
P.S. Please consider sharing Michelle’s story. This isn’t just about one life, it’s about all of us. It’s a reminder not to let the depression win.
Also consider commenting in honor of someone you’ve lost to depression.