The words, like a knife, sliced through jagged and uneven. In it’s wake there was irreparable damage and the life I had know would never be the same. The memory of how I learned my cousin was dead is unclear but the word suicide stands out stark and bold. I wasn’t sure I would ever breath again as the wind was knocked out of me so cleanly and the pain began so quickly and sharply.
The memories, once fond, happy and full of life were rendered to a state of doubt and wondering “Did I miss something?” As time has passed I realized the innocence of our childhood was pure. We roamed our grandparents ranch in a pack of cousins bent on discovery and freedom that most kids could never imagine. We grew up together and apart; together so much during the summer at the ranch or at one another’s homes where our lives were “enchanted”; apart during the school year where we lived our “regular” lives.
As we became teenagers and the focus of our life lens changed and shifted to a different perspective. I still cherished our friendship, but after our grandparents died it lacked the enchantment that the ranch brought to us. Boys, friends, places and thrills beyond our age had us traveling down different paths.
Her path must have been so painful and unbearable and I had no idea. Great gaps of time would existed between the occasions we would see each other and then an extraordinary gap and then she was gone. I know I’m not unique in the belief that I could have made a difference, but I’ll never really know, at least not in this lifetime. I loved her and wish I had told her.
Almost thirty years later, the wound is easily opened and will bleed profusely when the surface is disturbed. It still hurts in a place so deep it’s beyond description. Things happen in my life and I wonder how her life would be if she had not chosen to leave. My kids grew and I watched them blossom and find their own lives. I became a grandmother and I get to watch them being kids and growing. I adore and revel in the uniqueness of my family but sometimes I wish she was here so we could share this beautiful time of life.
If I could go back and change it, I would find a way to save her. Somehow she would want to live because the anguish and heartbreak I, we, have endured is so unending. The weight of it bears down like a wet blanket, heavy and impossible to throw off.
The brightness I always see without fail though is her glorious smile. I imagine after all this time she is surely free and happy now and looks after all of us, praying from her place. I have to believe she’s at peace because I could not bear to believed she wasn’t. Those luminous glimmers make me smile.
RemembeRED writing prompt:
“We all have them. Memories that we wish we could forget…things that we wish we could banish from our minds. Imagine that writing down your worst memory will free you of it.
What is it? – Why does it haunt you? – What could you have done differently?”