Today is my anniversary. You see, 6 years ago to the night, I tried to take my own life. In a way, today kind of feels like my 6th birthday. I decided to do something extra special this year to celebrate my “birthday” (and my boyfriend’s actual birthday tomorrow on the 3rd) by renting a cabin in the mountains. Complete with a hot tub on the enclosed porch overlooking the wooded mountains. Because life should be celebrated! Celebrated!
6 years is a long time and yet the blink of an eye. I remembered today as we drove here that 6 years ago today I was heading into work during my first week on the job as a Style Editor. I had no idea what was in store for me that particular night, even if it had been a thought in the wings for a decade.
But I don’t want to talk about the details of that night. I want to talk about what I’ve learned in the 6 years I continued to live.
1. My mother is my number one fan and best friend.
My sister’s been there, my cousin’s been there, my best friend’s been there, my boyfriend’s been there, but my mom has been there through it all with me. Save all but one hospitalization, she was there every day for visiting hours, usually bearing gifts – cookies, a Frappuccino she managed to sneak past the staff with her good intentions, new sweatpants. My mom and I had our ups and downs growing up, as most kids do, but as an adult she has always been there for me – for the good and the very, very bad.
2. Some things can’t be undone.
I cannot undo putting my sister through what I did when I tried to take my life. She carried the burden. Alone. For hours before she rang my parents in the morning with the news that I had tried to kill myself and that I was in Intensive Care, she sat alone. October 3rd was her 24th birthday. I live with that guilt and it is a guilt that has not lessened in time.
3. Love is unexpected.
9 months after my stay in a psych ward I said “I love you” to a man. He said it back. We’ve been together for over 5 years now. He’s seen the crazy. (Boy, has he seen the crazy). And yet, he loves every bit of me, even the crazy bits and the sad bits and the manic bits.
4. Nature will restore you.
Sometimes I go for walks around a local lake, just me and my iPod. The sun filters through the leaves and “Lucky” by Kat Edmonson will come on and I will smile and I will giggle to myself about how lucky I am that I made it through that terrible ordeal – and the ones that followed. There is something about the smell of leaves and the feel of dirt that transforms you. (Hence my mountain top getaway).
5. It’s never too late.
I have learned that it is never to late to change – to be the daughter or the sister or the granddaughter or the girlfriend or the cousin or the person you were meant to be. I am far from perfect. Far. But I am proud of the person I am today. I give and get respect. I love and am loved.
I shouldn’t have died October 2nd or 3rd of 2008. I know this. I know this because I am here to type this for you, dear reader. I hope in it you find some hope and I ask that tonight in your prayers or meditations or positive hippie vibes you thank your Higher Power for my life because I almost wasn’t here.