When The Sunshine Is Gone

I hate Tuesdays. It’s a newfound hate. Like rain for some, Mondays for others, or certain holidays. Weeks ago I was awakened on a Tuesday morning with my daughters’ frantic voices coming from our living room. “Why are there 6 cop cars parked outside?” My blurry brained self was instantly awake.

I was shaking as I made the phone call, knowing whom I needed to call immediately. I knew the answer before it was said. I knew when the voice that answered the phone was covered in the sniffle of barely stopped tears. I knew my friend had taken his life.

There have been so many stories of depression around us. Suicide has become a common term tossed around in jest, or teasing, or bullying. And I know I am not the first person to lose a friend this way.

I bold faced lied to my daughters that morning while they were walking to school. See, I was with my friend, who will now forever be labeled a widow, as I sat with her lending strength. My babies walked by (thank goodness for spouses who pick up the pieces) and they were worried, my youngest was crying. I told them that our friends were robbed. I had to continue lying to convince them to keep going, but found some truth in my answers.

“Mommy, what did they take, was it a lot? Was it expensive.”

“It was irreplaceable”

“Will they be able to find the people who stole the stuff?”

“It’s not that easy, I am afraid this is something they will never get back”

They finally left. I breathed a sigh of relief, excused myself from the police, from my friend, walked into my house and melted into my spouses arms.

When I picked up my girls later that day, and had to tell them that our friend had passed away, I didn’t tell them how. I told them he was sick, and had been sick, and he was no longer with us. They asked for details of how he died, and I lied again and told them I didn’t know.

There is no script for these moments in life. And I am not even sure I have done them any favors in not telling the full truth.

I am watching my children grieve something for the first time and I feel so helpless (a word that has become a mantra). I will catch my youngest staring next door at a home that is empty, with tears in her eyes. I am sure she, like me, is remembering a happier time, one ripe with a little girl and bouncy blond hair followed by a loving father.

My oldest daughter has cried only once, at his memorial. She sobbed uncontrollable heart wrenching tears when the severity of his loss hit her.

I want to say that everything will be okay, but that’s a lie I’m not willing to make. My life has a void, my children’s lives have a void, and most of all, that amazing, witty, smart, funny bouncy blonde child, her life has a hole.

 Suicide is an answer for nothing, it is simply more questions.

 I read a book to my children, and have for a few years now, and it’s one that always makes me cry. The title is “Someday” by Alison Mcghee and Peter H. Reynolds. There is a line in the book about how “Someday, you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow.” And I feel like for the first time I am watching that happen to my children.

Children grieve wholeheartedly. No one has taught them to cry or not to cry at the appropriate times. For my girls it was real, they grieved hard and true, but it faded.

A few weeks have passed and they have moved on. I wish I could live that easily. They will forget my friend, and his daughter will remember him only through pictures. As adults though, we carry people always. A smell, a phrase, a haircut, may bring a memory back so poignant it’s as if you were reliving a moment. I will carry him always, and so a piece of him will live in me.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression, please reach out.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Diana has never strayed far from home. After growing up on the east side of Madison, she is now raising her family in Middleton. She is a firm believer in finding humor in the chaos, that anything she sees (anywhere) she can probably DIY, and that good food can cure just about anything. She shares her life with her two wonderful daughters. She embraces their modern mixed family that has grown around them, and all the adventure it brings.


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