It will be fifteen years ago today that Audrey passed away, so I am reposting this as a remembrance.
I met Audrey in 1998, as an inpatient during one of my countless hospital stays. Both of us were living and breathing pitch black depression. We grew very close, seated in the lounge daily, forever sipping our diet Cokes. Both of us were struggling though, both believing we were being swallowed up by quicksand. Everyday grew blacker, and there came a point where we wished family or friends wouldn’t visit.
The topic of suicide came up constantly, and as the days passed, those feelings grew stronger and stronger. At times, we both said “we could almost taste it”, and we “prayed for it”.
Audrey went home on an overnight pass, hugged me before leaving and said she’d be back by 10:00 a.m. the following day. I felt apprehensive and missed her company more than ever that evening. When morning came, there was a minor commotion around the nurse’s station, then suddenly the nurses were gathering all patients, including myself into the dining room. My psychiatrist was standing by the window and promptly announced that “Audrey passed away this morning”. They never said how she died, but I knew; from OD – because that’s the way she always said she would go.
So many emotions hit me. One of the nurses hugged me, recognizing that Audrey and I were close friends. I began to sob, yet unexpectedly stopped. Strangely, I selfishly felt infuriated and resentful at her for both abandoning me, and not saying good bye. My clinical black depressive state tumbled into an almost indescribable blacker depression. I spent every waking moment in the corner of my hospital room, my pdoc put me on suicide watch; the nursing staff handled me gently. I worked it through though with a therapist who deals specifically with grief.
Many years have passed, and I think of Audrey often. I still miss her, especially her slight smile when she could muster one. Writing poetry is not a strong point of mine, but I did compose this poem back in 1998, and well up with tears every time I read it. This is for you, sweet Audrey, I will never forget you:
I spoke to a woman once
Who shared some things with me
She told me of her troubled past
Nothing positive that she could see
I relayed to her some of my hurts
She empathized and said she understood
Two people both hurting
Together we’d end depression altogether if we could