When I was in 5th grade, we started middle school in my town. It was a pretty day in September. Before school, we were all lined up outside of the doors of the school when one of the students began telling a story that broke my heart. Because her Dad was an EMT in town, she relayed the story that my friend NAngel’s Mom had died yesterday.
NAngel, her sister JAngel, my Sissy and I were inseparable, having been friends since we were in kindergarten. Although JAngel and Sissy were one year apart, they still played together like sisters ~ in fact, we all did, every weekend. We called their Mom, ‘Mom’ sometimes simply because we spent so much time with them. She was such a loving and sweet woman, the kind that had cookies after school that she had baked. A loving home with a dog and a cat and 4 children (add us it made 6) and a great big backyard with a playhouse that was a little girl’s dream.
Heatedly, I remember telling the girl to stop telling lies as she was saying that Mrs. R had taken her life, that she’d committed suicide. I just couldn’t’ fathom that my friend’s Mom whom I loved like a Mom had died, let alone killed herself! I remember being so upset that a teacher had to speak with me although I don’t remember who it was. I just remember that she told me that the student was telling the truth.
My Mom picked us up from school that day. I got in her car and quietly told my Mom that I heard the saddest story today. I told her what I had heard, that Mrs. R had died. My Mom confirmed the news and Sissy and I just sat in the car and cried. Our hearts were broken. How could that have happened?
That afternoon, my Mom drove us to Mrs. R’s house. I’ll never forget that she did that for we were able to be with our friends as they were mourning their Mom’s passing. I remember that Mrs. R’s Mom was there (the girls’ grandma) and we all just sat together and played with our dolls, talking a bit, but more than anything, just being together. I remember asking my Mom if the girls could sleep over because if my mind remembers correctly, it was already Friday. But they didn’t. We did sleep over their house though a few weeks later and I remember thinking that it was the last place Mom R was. Wow, I still get a bit choked up when I think of her.
Every September, I think of Mrs. R, even though it is more than 30 years later. In fact, when my elder child was in 5th grade, her smiling face and sweet nature haunted me. Because I was the age she had been, with children of the same ages. I tried multiple times to ‘get’ what she’d been enduring so much to take her life. But I couldn’t.
My Mom tells the story that Mrs. R visited her a few days beforehand ~ Mrs. R stopped by and they had a cup of coffee together, chatting like the friends they were. Mrs. R gave my Mom a ladybug figurine. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for them to enjoy a visit from time to time. But this time, it was different ~ it was a goodbye, although my Mom didn’t know it at the time.
I still remember as if it were yesterday. I think of Mrs. R often and I pray for her. As an adult, I think about her life differently, but there’s still that little girl inside of me who mourns ‘Mom R.’ For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to get over her passing away nor the fact that she took her own life.
It’s National Suicide Prevention Week so I wanted to honor Mom R. Oh how I wish that someone had heard the ‘unfine’ in your voice and been able to help you. You are missed. You are loved. You are always remembered. Rest in Peace.