Teach "no secrets" - Was I one of the reasons my friend killed herself?
I have been wanting to write this down but have been struggling to find the right words. I have procrastinated and re-written the words that I wanted to say in my head over a hundred times... some of my best work being in the shower, I might add!
Usually I can write a personal or opinion based blog in an hour, but this took me a long time.
I had to do it in parts because it upset me every time I sat down and the words formulated in my head and met the words on my laptop with pain.
I found out last week that my friend killed herself a long time ago.
This is the story of how I was one of the reasons...
I thought I had seen an old friend on the street, someone who over the years I had put in her name into Facebook trying to find... maybe she married... maybe she changed her name... maybe I was spelling her name wrong... where did she go? What was she doing with her life?
Did she end up being a teacher like she said she wanted to be when we were 12 underneath her half built tree house that her father promised to finish building if we could organise his nails and screws in his giant tool box... he never did really finish that stupid tree house!
Skye was lovely, she started school when we moved up north in the same year that I did. She had shortish hair, and she was a kid that knew a lot about life... because life kept throwing shitty things at her... including eventually myself... I would later find out.
Her house was neat, but everything inside was old and smelled of cigarette ash from the paua shell ashtrays that sat next to her baby sisters dummies on the coffee table.
She had no maternal mother in her life... at least none that I had met. But she had a dad and a step mum that was kind to me when I visited.
I was jealous of her double bed that we had to stuff with an old blanket down the middle so we wouldn't roll together in the middle of the night during sleepovers.
It was on one of these sleepovers that she told me a secret, something that she had told me when she was 12... That she had been abused by her uncle... She told me to promise never to tell a soul.
I held on to that secret and told no one... until last week.
I think maybe I didn't believe her? she was always telling me things that didn't make sense in my own head... things that would never happen to a 12 year old.
Keeping this secret will now haunt me for the rest of my life.
She moved away to Auckland when I was about 14, but we kept in touch and she came to visit me when I was 15..
We went to a party where therr was meant to be no alcohol... I remember hearing the conversation my mum had with the parents of the girl who's party we went to, mum probably asked about 3 times... and on the third time, I guess she was satisfied of the answer and we were allowed to go.
But there was alcohol brought by some older kid, and we drank it, and it was awesome at first, but then something happened... She said it was an asthma attack but looking back on it, it was a panic attack, she had all the same symptoms as I do now when I have one... chest pains, laboured breathing... and fear.
The local ambulance officer was called... who of course just happened to be my dad.
We were taken home and while the room turned on its axis, dad calmly and metaphorically told me about how alcohol is like a grenade... the more gunpowder you put in, the bigger the explosion... the gunpowder being the alcohol and the explosion being the hangover.
I didn't quite understand what he was talking about until the next day when my head exploded and throbbed from my first ever hangover.
I was tired... and hungover, I didn't want to talk to her, I blamed her for what happened.
She wrote me a letter in the morning on the back of a picture of a rainbow covered sky, while I took a long shower to try and shake off the headache... it would be the last words that she would ever write to me....
I found out last week that she had killed herself after I had messaged an old friend from primary school who broke the news to me.
I had also just finished watching the first episode of "13 reasons why"... the irony is not lost!
I found out from this friend from primary school that after she visited my house back in 95 she shortly after had a baby... I don't know if she was already pregnant when I saw her, did she tell me? but I was too drunk to remember?... was there some clue in her letter? Was the word written in stars supposed to be the word "baby"?
Was this baby why she never made contact after that day? Where did she go?
I am frustrated at myself for not telling everyone of her secret.
I hate it that we never made up.
I hate it that we fought.
I am confused at why I didn't try to make contact sooner.
I feel sad that in her last moments she thought that I hated her.
I am annoyed that no one thought to tell me back then that she had died... and I am annoyed that she did it.
Was I part of her reasons why?
Would she have been able to hold on if I hadn't have been so annoyed with her? Would she have been able to hold on if I had just shared her secret with an adult?
In all the years that I looked for her, searching her name on Facebook, I never once thought there would be no trace... because she never even made it to the land of social media... never made it to the time of Facebook...
We teach "no secrets" in our house, I think in part because I never want them to ever have to feel that they should ever hold on to a secret... But also because I want them to tell me everything, I couldn't handle it if they held on to something and felt they had no adult to talk to.
I cant imagine what she was going through in those last few months, I just wish that I could have been there to maybe help out... just a little.
Please, please, please, if you need help reach out and talk to someone, or contact lifeline NZ, or the local suicide help lifeline alternative in your country.
0800 543 354