Yes, I know how ominous my blog post title is. This might be my darkest blog post yet, and I would recommend that anyone who is triggered by the discussion of death and suicide to NOT read this.
Incidentally, I have, for a long time now, identified on some level with the Lana Del Rey song of the same name. At my worst, this song has given me a bitter and melancholic understanding that whether I live life happily or not, I die in the end anyway because that’s the rule of being human. No one can live forever, after all.
I don’t really know why I’m writing about this topic. I suppose because, in the darkest corner of my mind, death is a niggling thought that crosses my mind at times. Sometimes I do think, hey, maybe I’m not cut out for life after all. But then I feel an obligation to keep going because if I ended things willingly, I’d be hurting the people who care about me and leave them with a lifetime of pain and suffering because of my death. When I think about the things I would miss out on if I did die, at times this is enough to make me tuck that dark thought away until it rears its ugly head again some other time.
My first brush with death in my personal life was learning from my father that his mother had died. I was only perhaps nine or ten-years-old at the time. She died in her sleep halfway across the world in another country, so I processed her death in a way that I understood she was no longer living and would no longer visit during the summers anymore. However, I was very far removed from the potentially macabre part of seeing proof of her death (her body) because only my father took the plane trip to her funeral (it was an open casket funeral). I was asked by my parents to write a letter to her, though. I later learned one of my aunts read it at the funeral, and then the paper was burned to signify that my written words would be given to my grandmother in the afterlife.
The other time I have lost someone is a friend of mine. I considered myself close to her, although sometimes I wonder if I truly knew her. The friendship began when I was about sixteen and dealing with anxiety and a general distaste for life, including feeling misunderstood and that everyone at school was out to get me. I was an avid fan of anime and manga then, and I sometimes wrote fanfiction with my own characters inserted into pre-existing fictional universes. It was an escape so I could pretend to be someone else for a little bit. I don’t want to say her real name, but S had left a review on one of my posted story chapters. She felt empathetic to the character’s plight, and I felt gratified, partially because I had modeled the character after myself. There was an instant rapport between she and I from then. We exchanged emails and got to know each other even better by writing letters (yes, actual letters with envelopes and stamps that I mailed out). I got the sense we struggled with similar circumstances and problems. We even mailed each other birthday gifts and cards. Spoke on the phone with her once too, although I was quite shy. We were friends on Facebook. Later when I got a cellphone, I would text her. There was a point she stopped replying to my letters after she moved to another state for college, but we would still keep in touch on Facebook. She went MIA and didn’t respond later on for a period of some months. I didn’t know what happened, but after we reestablished contact, she alluded to having left school and moving back home. I suspected she was going through something in her life, but I was hesitant to ask. Whether by accident or deliberately, she had the habit of reading my messages but not responding for days or weeks. At this point in my life, she was one of the few people I felt I could talk to about my social anxiety problems. I depended on her so much, perhaps too much, even though she was someone I had never met in person before. I remember she was always kind and gave me positive advice all the time. She truly was a ray of light on many bad days that I had.
Last year in November, after I didn’t hear from her for weeks, she wrote to me about wanting to change her life and get out of the hole of depression that she was in. I gave her my full support, but a month later, I learned from her cousin that she has succeeded in taking her own life. To process S’s death was a confusing time for me. I felt guilty because I thought I didn’t do more to talk to S about whatever she was struggling with. For a brief time, I also felt angry at her too because I couldn’t believe she was actually gone and left me with just memories of her. I do still think about her sometimes. I still have the old letters and gifts she sent me. December 2nd was her death anniversary.
The eerie thing is, years ago before her death, I had assumed I would be the one to be gone rather than her. And for a brief instance, I wondered how it’d be on her end. Would she have heard about my passing in New York, while she would’ve been miles and miles away in Illinois? Would she wonder why I did it and if she could have stopped me? These are also the things I question about her since I’m still here and she is not. Maybe the fact I will never know, and that I’m still haunted by her death, is aggravating my own unhappiness with my life. In a way, there is a peace in death. S has the luxury of being forever frozen in time now, and being immortalized for who she was but not who she could’ve been.
I don’t know what will ever be enough for me to be truly happy. Yeah, I felt I was making progress with my social anxiety in some ways. In other ways, not so much. I am always in conflict with myself. There are days where I feel motivated to get things done and I do, and other days when I fall into a slump and feel like an utter waste of time and that everyone would be better off without me.