Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve.
Anyone else realize how much three words can weigh down your heart?
I don’t know how many times I’ve tired to sit down and write this. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked away. For some reason today, right now, it’s almost like my head wouldn’t let me do anything else. I feel compelled.
On October 3rd, it will be a year since my Mom committed suicide. On October 3rd, it’ll be a year since I haven’t had a Mom. It’s a pain and sadness I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words. It’s unjustifiable.
People say hind sight is 20/20. In some ways, I wholeheartedly agree. In others, I don’t. It’ s perplexing.
I was one of the last people my Mom called before deciding to jump off a bridge. I didn’t answer it. I watched it ring. I had a big test, and things had been so bad that I didn’t want to deal with it. You know, there are days that I wish I would have answered that phone call. There are days I’m glad I didn’t. More often than not, I try and stick with my overly-optimistic “everything happens for a reason” life philosophy.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not an emotional, pity-craving person. None of my family is. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate all the calls, letters, facebook posts, tweets, emails, texts. I did. So much. The thought of everyone’s support is insane, honestly. I am still amazed to this day how my town pulled together for three people. I’m amazed my friends drove from Baton Rouge, Texas, all over just to give me a hug. It was incredible.
It wasn’t at all that I was unappreciative. I was angry. And to be honest, I was angry for a long time. I still get angry. However, as days go by, I’m realizing I’ve reached that “acceptance” stage of tragedy.
It’s so sad. It’s been sad for my Mom’s friends, family. It’s been sad for my Dad and sister. It’s been sad for me. And while there is this undeniable sadness I feel for everyone affected in our situation, I can’t help but feel most sadness for her. I’m more upset for the person who loses the light.
Think about life. It surrounds you. It’s given and taken daily. It’s wonderful and just plain shitty all in the same week. It’ s fun and confusing and hard. So hard, and yet.. It’s beautiful. Life is beautiful. Life is a gift. Even on its absolute worst days, that beauty still exists in it. We all live in such a crazy, fast paced world these days. It doesn’t stop. It’s so easy to get caught up in the clutter.. in all the bad. I know this because I used to.
While I would never wish a tragedy on anyone, I do wish people could have the clarity that comes from a loss. The clarity that comes from being at your absolute lowest point, and realizing that even at your lowest point, there’s still so much good in life and in yourself. There is so much power in you.
In a year, I’ve been at my worst and my best. I’ve been the most angry, hateful, upset. I have been my most ignorant and most intelligent. I’m now at my happiest. It’s full-circle situation.
Main point, first off, no doubt, I hate to think where I would have been without God through all of this. I am by no means the holiest of examples. I’m still not. However, there is not a single doubt in my mind and in my heart that there is a “Big Man” up there. I follow him, and I know that his strength kept my head screwed on even when I was sure it would fly off. He’s the reason I didn’t completely lose it.
I also believe it was God who allowed me to venture into the darkest of places so I could realize my own strength. I was “allowed” to go into that slump so I could pull myself out of it.
Even before my Mom’s death, I wasn’t focused on the guts of life. I wasn’t focused on the right things. It’s so easy to get caught up in the game. I was. It’s so easy for us to be selfish creatures. I don’t believe it’s ever intentional, but it happens. It’s our nature. In everything we do, more than times than not the first thought is how this will benefit me, how will this push me to the top, what will I get out of it.
That’s really no way to live.
I’m very disappointed in how I acted the months following my Mom’s suicide. From the outside, I seemed fine. My friends actually would argue that I was too fine. In retrospect, I think the “me” mindset exploded during the months of October through December. In my head, I was only worried about myself. Again, looking at it now, I had been heading down this “looking out for number one” mentality for a while. I just don’t think I had been who I wanted to be for a long time, actually. Unfortunately, it took some time to realize that.
I hurt a lot of people. A lot. Nothing will ever justify that. It makes my stomach turn to think about it. In high school, my friends and I would snarl at the girls who “went through friends like toilet paper.” I.E. those girls who didn’t care how she would make the other people feel because she was too wrapped up in her own problems.
I became that girl. I was dark and cynical and so focused on myself. I didn’t take into consideration how I was making others feel. I was just so mad. I would think about it all..my mom, my life.. and I could just feel my skin start to boil.
There was this thought process of “how could this happen to me? Why did we have to become a spectacle?” My Mom knew how much I hated to be consoled, and she set me up for at least a solid lifetime of it.
Just read that. What? What was I thinking? Oh, that’s right. I was thinking about myself.
I focused my energies into my future. I focused on all the places I could go. I focused on getting the hell out of my hometown, and the state of Louisiana in general. I started looking for things no one can look for. I was on the adrenaline rush that comes with a tragedy. The go and do and go and make and take and do until you are literally too exhausted to have time to be anything near remorseful. I hid behind my goals. It was a downward spiral. That’s exactly what happened. I’m so sorry to everyone I hurt during it.
I hate, and almost feel guilty, that it has taken me this long to say how badly my heart breaks for my Mom every single day. I think about it constantly. It is always on the back burner. I know I am not the only one. My mom let herself get to where she couldn’t see the light.
As many of you know now, my Mom developed an addiction to prescription drugs. Simple prescriptions that most of you probably have in your cabinet. Medicines that alter feelings. While sometimes, they help. They can also hurt. They changed my Mom, and they took her to a place where she couldn’t see the brightness.. a place where she couldn’t see the point.
This is where I say hindsight is spot on. Looking back, I feel stupid for not doing something more than telling her she needed help. My Mom was loved by an entire community. My Mom played such an important role in so many people’s life. There was only one “Pammy.” How was she supposed to admit she had a problem that many people face?
Every time I think about it, there’s an ache I cannot explain. I think about major events to happen in the future for my sister, my Dad, my Mom’s friends, myself… She won’t be there. She wasn’t there when I graduated college last month. She won’t be there when MA graduates next year. Boyfriends, Weddings, Babies, she will not be there.
It’s not worth it. It’s not worth wondering if you could’ve done something. If you are worried about someone, tell them. Be there for them. Trust me.
I cannot begin to explain how strong and courageous I think people are for taking control of their life. Every one of us gets in bad situations. Whether you decide to speak with someone, take up a new hobby, or go through rehabilitation, you are the most brave of souls. I know for a fact everyone in this world is loved. I know that because, guess what, I love you. God loves you. I’m not going to try and get religious, but I want you to know that you are strong, and beautiful… You are a fighter. You are admired.
I never want another person to lose sight of the light like my Mom did. Your life was specifically written for you. None of us were put into situations we cannot handle. God doesn’t design you to leave on your own terms. You are worth something. You serve a purpose. You are loved. It makes me so sad to think that my Mom did not see it.
Leave it to Katy Perry’s song “Wide Awake” to wake me up. It made me realize that past the adrenaline, past the anger, past the rage, I was putting off accepting things for how they are. By accepting, I can let go. I am able to remember my Pammy for all the wonderful things.
I think I have the best Dad and sister a girl could ask for. I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. He has been there for me through thick and thin. I see a lot of him in me. I’m so happy he’s so happy. He deserves it. My little sister is one of the most goal-driven, hilarious, and beautiful people I know. I am so glad we are so close. Even at five years apart, all we can seem to fight about is clothes. That’s pretty lucky in my book. She will always be my best friend (and my other half of my closet).
I also can’t truly speak from my heart without mentioning Ryan. I don’t know how else to say it, but I feel like he’s been a gift, a prayer answered. He’s been somewhat of a martyr since the day I met him. The man is strong. He has a heart unlike any I’ve ever met. He also has the most amazing family who have graciously have taken me in. They’ve made me feel so at home. I feel so blessed God put him in my life. We are exactly alike and polar opposite at just the right things. He’s even somehow made me excited about running a half-marathon! No one has ever had my heart the way he does. I know I wouldn’t be at the point I am today without him. I am so happy and so content with my life. I know he has a huge part in that. I just wish my Mom could have met him. I know she would love him, just as I do.
I hope something can be learned from my Mom’s death. I hope you don’t let yourself lose the light. Realize that even in your darkest hour, that light is still shining. It will always shine. You just have to believe in it.
I know my sister and I wouldn’t be half the person we are if my Mom didn’t make us this way. I know I wouldn’t have my drive if my Mom had not ever allowed me to give up on my dreams. She taught me so much about myself. I will be forever thankful for the 21 years she was in my life.
Be a spokesperson for all you have to offer. You wouldn’t be who you are without all your accomplishments and all your mistakes. Nothing can grow without your growth. Know the amazing person you are.
Don’t let it take a tragedy to realize how truly blessed you are. There’s always a light. You just have to have the courage to find it. As I’ve said before, love YOUR life.. As it was specifically designed for you.
With so much Love.