I lost a dear friend to suicide last week, and no, it wasn’t Robin Williams. It was Jeremiah Healy, a man I thought would live to 100.
Nobody can know the inner thoughts of anyone who suffers from depression. But some of us who have tasted a tiny portion of it in our lives know that when you are in that deep dark place, even the light at the top of the cave almost can’t get through.
I will tell you this: Life can get better. Life can be good. Maybe not perfect; never perfect. But good. Livable, lovable, and fun.
I lost my husband, Bob Swets, to cancer in February of 2004. Ten years ago. Yet there are times I look back and remember that deep dark place I lived in for years afterwards. None of my friends probably noticed. I kept on keeping on, as we southern women are wont to do. One foot in front of the other; working, singing, playing, writing, loving my son.
One day I woke up and the darkness had glints of light shining through it. And in that light, God reached down and took my hand and said, Let’s keep going, together. So I did.
Now I have a wonderful husband who knows all about the darkness and the pain I lived through. I can’t know what someone with clinical depression is feeling. But I do know there is a Light that shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehends it not.
I take each day step by step, minute by minute, hour by hour, and keep on keeping on. Reaching out to friends when they need me, taking their hands when they reach out to me. So if you’re hurting, and in pain, and don’t think there’s any way out, there is. The Light is waiting. All you have to do is reach out.
I know there will be some folks who respond to this with vituperation and anger, and will say angry things about and to me. I don’t care. I only know that I know.
My writing life will continue. My heart is broken because I lost a dear friend. But I will go on.