“There is really nothing to say – except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how” – Toni Morrison.
Rumors swirl as your name leaves the lips of people who hadn’t even heard of you before this moment. Words of disbelief and complete and utter sadness will forever have links to you.
I never knew you, but I knew your mother. She was a co-worker, my supervisor and one of my biggest fans. Her belief in my ability to do more than the average high school worker provided me with the strength to step outside of my comfort zone. Her advocacy resulted in me being able to do the same job she did. The moment she told me that the world needed more people like me in it is a second in time I will never forget.
That’s the thing about death – it sometimes leads to forgetting.
The town will talk for a while, as it always does. Trying to pinpoint where it all went wrong, pointing fingers and finding scapegoats in any and all people who you came in contact with during your short life. But the crazy thing is, we will never truly no why. That’s mental illness for you – haunting, grueling and unpredictable.
There is one thing I am sure of though. Your mother loved and will always love you. You won’t be forgotten for you will live on in her memory.
I never knew you but I feel like I did. Every Sunday, at that end of her shift, your mom would say that she was going home to her boys. Between the steady beep of the scanner and the jingle of cash transactions, I heard stories about you going to camp or to Maine for the weekend. Excited voices sharing experiences about our times in England were where I really felt the connection to you. I too have my entire extended family living there and I also got to go on those summer trips to my second home.
I didn’t know you but my heart still aches. I am left with pieces of your life remembered in my head and salty tears that stain my cheeks.
I can’t and don’t understand why.
But I do know that mental illness can kill. And for now, I will take refuge in that how.