I didn’t know her personally. I’d see her in passing in the halls of the elementary school for Open Houses or the school Carnival. She seemed like an artistic soul. Tattoos, piercings, and a look in her eyes that said she saw things in a much different way than the rest of us. My wife on the other hand knew her from a nursing group back when our youngest was an infant. It was a support group for breastfeeding moms. I remember my wife telling me about “Lydia”, and that she was a very nice, younger gal. Very artistic. Not the typical mom you’d run into at a nursing group meeting(that’s a good thing). In a town filled with the drudgery of churches every 1000 feet and the cultural equivalent of a Circus in a National Guard Army, this young mom known to me as Lydia was a breath a fresh air. Someone who didn’t see the world through the same rose-colored glasses as everyone else. A fellow human fighting the battle of mundanity…
Sadly, Lydia was fighting more battles than I could’ve ever imagined. My wife called me Tuesday morning and told me Lydia took her own life. She left this world for somewhere else. She left four children and many, many people that cared for her very deeply wondering what they could’ve done. What could have they said that may have made a difference. “Could I have been a better friend?” “Could I have been a better sister?” “Why wasn’t I with her?” “Why?”
I can’t even begin to imagine the depths of despair this woman fell to. Not even the thought of her children growing up without a mom could keep her tethered to this world. It’s heartbreaking. We’ve all been low before. We’ve had our moments of doubt. But this? This is beyond anything I can fathom. She had the love of four children and many friends, yet none of that could redeem her. That’s the thing. As low as we can get, we still know we’re worthy of redemption. We’re worthy of a second chance. Regardless of how low things get, there’s still a spark of hope that keeps us going. Without that spark, it just remains dark. You’re lost and you have no idea which way is out, so you blow a hole through the wall of the universe and make your own escape. You see it as your only way out of the pain, loneliness, and defeat that seems to be your life.
Suicide has touched my life a few times in my nearly 40 years. It’s never easy to get through, let alone understand. But Lydia taking her own life has really made me think about things. Maybe because I’m a parent now. It’s that paternal instinct to protect my children at all cost. The idea of me not being here to make sure they’re taken care of and that their scrapes are cleaned and bandaged, and assured that they are loved and will always be loved no matter who they are or what they do. The thought of me not being here to be that grounding figure for them. The stable rock they can come to when they need to be comforted. Or need advice on taking the right classes, getting a car loan, taking a job, love and marriage, and raising their own children. That’s all the reason I need to keep me here. Keep me scrapping with the universe and flipping the bird to anyone who deserves it. It puts the fire in my belly and allows me to say “It could always be worse, and I can always make it better.” Lydia didn’t have that spark. Somewhere along the way it got put out and she never figured out how to light it again, and that’s so very sad to me.
Like I said before I didn’t know Lydia personally but I mourn her regardless. She was a parent like me. She was also a sister, aunt, daughter, and artist. I mourn for her children and her family. I hope she has found peace.
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