This is the last installment in a four part series of the story of my friendship with P. and the ways she continues to affect and even haunt me, now that she is gone. Because her story is one of pain and sadness, I will protect her identity by simply calling her P. Here is Part One: Meeting and Becoming Friends with P and Part Two: Growing Up and Growing Apart and Part Three: A Shocking Discovery.
In the year since P.’s death, I have been depressed. She weighs heavily on my mind. I used to wait to dream about her, for her to come to me and explain something, but she eluded me. The few times I did dream about her, she was but a ghost in my dream, walking by me but never talking. The exception was one dream where the only thing she said was, “I did NOT kill myself.”
Trying to find closure over the last year, I talked to two of her friends as well as the friend that wrote on her Facebook wall on her birthday. None of them really knew what happened to her after 2008.
Out of desperation to completely understand what her last years were like, I reached out to her husband on Facebook (they never did divorce, just separated), and he called me.
Even though we have never met in person, we talked for over an hour. The conversation was natural and fluid, two people who loved her and missed her, keeping her memory alive. He knew about her last years, and I knew about her college years. We shared stories, happy and painful.
He recounted her multiple suicide attempts and the extent of her addiction. It was painful to listen to, and I know he left her because he had to; he couldn’t watch her destroy herself anymore. As hard as it was to hear about her pain, talking to her husband helped me find closure.
When she died, our shared history died. I would never have her to reminisce with. But when I spoke to her husband, I felt connected to her once again. It turns out that she had shared many of our experiences and stories with her husband, and he reminisced with me. We each told stories about P., and I was delighted to hear that many of the things she and I often did such as driving around, listening to song lyrics and watching movies were things that she and he did together.
Together, I felt that we built a bridge for one another. He misses her still, as do I.
Talking to her husband helped remind me of the good things about P. and our friendship. It gave me peace.
Finally, just a few nights ago, I dreamt of her, and even though I knew in the dream that she was dead, she was there talking to me and listening as I recounted the story of talking to those close to her during the last few years of her life to try to understand what she went through after I lost touch with her. She asked me questions to, and it was so good to talk to her. When she said she had to go, I knew I would not see her again, and that was okay.
I have talked to many of her friends and her husband in the year since her death. What is most clear to me is how much everyone loved and cared for her. She had so much love around her, but for whatever reason, she couldn’t feel that love, and she may not have loved herself. She was in so much pain, but there was so much support around her that she couldn’t access because of her addiction and depression.
I am finally at peace. Recognizing now that she is in a better place is not just a wooden phrase said to try to console myself. I truly believe it, and I am in a better place, too, now that I have learned about what her last years were like and grieved.Tweet