A WICKED friend
By Melanie Gibson
In life it is not just about who we are, where we’ve been and what we’ve done, but more about the people who come into our lives to help shape us. They come in and we can be changed for the better. One of my favorite musicals, WICKED put it like this:
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Before my suicide attempt in Match 2011, I would consider myself friendly and outgoing, after that night, I did not allow myself to make friends for fear they would learn my secret. I had grown up in a house where threats of attempting suicide were commonplace. From my youth and into adulthood, there were always threats of “going to the beach, which really meant she wanted to leave the house and responsibilities. When my dad passes away in 1984, the threats increased in frequency, and it put a larger gap in our relationship. Overdosing that night, with the weight of some many failures on my shoulders, I decided I would not just throw empty threats out, but end my hurt.
That all changed the day I met Kerry, she has become my friend and confidant. The same day we met in Waikiki, we realized we both shared a love for WICKED, and we became fast friends. A few months later I saw a post about her stepson having committed suicide and that day would have been his 21st birthday, and that she was going to do a walk here on Oahu. I had no idea what that would entail, but I felt an even closer bond to her when I read that, thinking maybe this person can understand me, maybe she is in my life for a reason. So, I decided to do the walk, and when she was forming a committee, I signed up.
After the first meeting, I sent Kerry and text and shared with her about my overdose. She just assured me if I needed to, or wanted to share my story she would be there. I postponed meeting with her a few times, but eventually I sat down with her and shared my story. Kerry and her husband, Boz were the first new friends I had felt okay to open up to about my suicide attempt. The gravity of sharing such a dark secret was not something that I was taking for granted. Every part of me wanted to get up and run from the table. For me, I had so much shame from overdosing, not just for me, but my husband. He has over 20 years in the military. Not only does he belong to Uncle Sam, but it feels like we live in a fishbowl. When something goes wrong, a commander will generally find out, and that only added to the stress. Having his command find out that I had attempted to take my life was a burden I did not want him to have to bear. From the moment I first shared with her what I had done, she has only shown love and support. I think that finding a support system or friend after a suicide attempt is paramount to healing. One thing I know for certain is having met her, allowing myself to be open to sharing my story, knowing I have a friend to hold my hand as I walk through it, I know I have found a friend for life.
She certainly has left her hand print on my heart, and I am changed for the better.
Although I know she has seen the changes in me over the past six months, I don’t know if I can ever express in words what her friendship means to me. For me, having spent nearly three years isolating myself, and to have someone like Kerry come along and let me know its okay, and that she’ll be with me in this journey is priceless. Kerry has helped me grow. To my beautiful friend, inside and out…
Because I knew you… I have been changed for good…