I did not give your eulogy.
I did not talk to your brother. Nor your parents.
But as I left and I heard your friends asking the questions, "What could we have done?" "What signs did we miss?" "She's so selfish. How could she do this?" I found myself stopping. Someone had to explain, to defend you.
"Do you really want to know?" I asked them, the people viewing your funeral from the trees, those with so many theories on what could've, should've been. I want to ask if they ever talked to you, ever asked or tried to understand what you felt.
Because, of course, I would know.
And yes, I have put myself in other's shoes, with their diseases and ailments, trying to connect them to my own disease.
"You're sick," Dawn said to me today. It was the first time in 8 years she had to say the words to me.
"She needed you to understand," I tell your dumbfounded friends. "You said you loved her and would do whatever she needed. She was probably tired. She had held on for so long. Every day, it felt to her like she was hanging from a cliff holding on to life, to what resembles happiness in her checklist, to finding herself here, on this ledge she was always on, because she needed to hang on there for the people she loved her, who needed her to 'just hold on.' But she wanted to let go. At least once a day, even on the normal days, the good days, she wanted to let go.
And then there were the times, when I was trying to hold on, truly I was, but the wind was blowing down, pushing me, and my fingers were being stepped on, crushed, and gripping the edge would kill me, and somewhere, somehow a rope was tied around each ankle, pulling me down.
I just wanted to let go.
And I wanted to turn to my loved ones and say, please let me let go.
I meant SHE. She just wanted it all to stop."
Can they see through me?
"I think, if you'd walked a year in her shoes, if you'd been her for the last _ _ years, where 90% of the time she was only, with every breath, every blink of an eye, every heartbeat, every thought, every pulse point, every nightmare, and each dream,
she was only, ever, tearsandpainandemptinessheavinessandhollownessandsuffocatingandknivesonskinandchokinganddyinganddrowingindarkness
And her friends, you would say, 'we know this is a real thing, a real disease, not just something that she should try harder to fight.' And she appreciated that. Because twenty years ago, the comments would have been try harder; fight harder; it's not that bad; it's in your mind. But you- her friends- would say in support, 'it's like you have diabetes or asthma or hypothyroidism and we can handle this together. We will help.'
But: It. Is. Not. The. Same.
And it is not the same.
There. Is. Not. A. Fucking. Thing. That. Can. Be. Done.
NOT FOR ANYONE WHO IS IN THIS DARK PLACE.
There are no pills that can regulate this for me, I mean HER.
There is no chart to graph progress, or adjust doses, or wait for changes or patterns because every moment is inescapable. Every sigh, every fear, every bite of your lip, every toss of your hair, every word not spoken, and every touch mean tearsandpainandemptinessheavinessandhollownessandsuffocatingandknivesonskinandchokinganddyinganddrowingindarkness and it hurts my teeth, my hair, my head, my fingertips, my heart, my chest,
One day, one moment, one minute- things are good, okay, live-able. BUT the next morning when I open my eyes, or the next second, sitting at my desk when I take a breath, or I'm walking along and between each step
PUNCHES ME IN. THE. GUT. NO: PUNCHES. ME. IN. THE. FACE. NOT TO KNOCK ME OUT. BUT TO GET MY ATTENTION.
Everything I walk past, look at, consider, is a means, a weapon, something I can use to end it.
End your life? They say, aghast.
This. Is. Not. A. Life.
It is waiting, combined with a little hoping.
It is everyday opening my eyes, cringing, like there is a grenade on my chest, and the question is will it go off or not? Will I be able to breathe or not? Open my eyes with tears or without?
And I have a plan; you won't see anything. And you don't have to do anything, except say that you understand and you love me and you understand and you love me. And I will simply say goodbye.