In April 1999, my best friend, Marsha, died of a drug overdose. I remember that evening as clear as anything, it had been raining non-stop for hours. At two o’clock that afternoon, my mother told me what had happened and I remember feeling nothing. I didn’t cry, I just remained silent. I could see the compassion and sadness in my mother’s eyes as she pulled me close, but still I felt nothing at all.
It was so embarrassing because everyone was crying at the memorial service except me. I hadn’t got the inner strength to cry. Since the evening of her death, I was weak and unable to speak, unable to cry. I virtually stopped living that day, I felt as if I had gone to heaven with Marsha. Nothing in reality made sense anymore. Life was such a blur.
I felt so angry and confused with what had happened and I began to withdraw from everything around me. I didn’t go to school and I didn’t go out with my other friends. All I did was pray that one day I would wake up and realise that this was all a bad dream.
The harsh reality of it all was it wasn’t a bad dream, and the only way I could get out of it was to talk to someone about it. For a long time I had refused to talk to anyone. I always said that they would never understand what I was going through. My family continued to tell me that I didn’t have to go through all this alone and that they would help me.
Eventually I agreed to see a therapist twice weekly. It didn’t start out all that great but then I began to realise that I wasn’t the only one who really missed Marsha and I wasn’t the only one who questioned her death. Her family were also in emotional turmoil over her death but I was too full of self-pity to notice that. The therapist told me to ask myself if Marsha would have wanted me to stop living and grieve for her every day. Quite simply, the answer was no.
Marsha had problems, and because of these problems she gave up and killed herself, but I can honestly say that two years on I know in my heart that Marsha wouldn’t have wanted me to behave as I did. She would have wanted me to continue living my life as though she were still there.
I have now come to terms with Marsha’s death. Sometimes I still question why Marsha is gone. But Marsha isn’t gone forever because part of her lives on in every memory I have of the times we spent together.
So don’t keep something like this to yourself. You are not the only one who has to deal with a problem like this. Talk to someone who understands. Remember the old saying:
– Elizabeth Foley (age 15)