I am going to share something deeply personal, and even if it benefits only one reader, I will have accomplished my goal. Several months ago, I wrote the piece below for my friend Kimberly’s funeral. Kimberly had experienced a great deal of pain in the final years of her young life, and she decided to take matters into her own hands by ending it. Despite the highly personal nature of its content, I have chosen to share this here, at The Daily Doll, because I am certain at least one person who stumbles upon this will need its message. The purpose of this site is to encourage and motivate you, the reader, to become the very best version of yourself. As I neared completion of the piece, heart bleeding like a fountain while wiping my eyes and snotty nose through an hour of sobbing, I somehow felt oddly inspired despite being in a chokehold of grief.
My friend, who I had a best friendship with for well over a decade, and I had not been in communication for six years. When I learned of her suicide and shared it with others, many said to me, “Oh, well I’m sorry to hear that but you two weren’t in touch, so you are probably okay, right?” Responding to comments such as those were never easy. With my heart on the floor, I often dodged the question, for there were no words to properly express how “not okay” I felt. Only those who remember us together could have possibly understood.
Though the shock has begun to subside and the reality of it has gotten more bearable, my heart continues to experience grueling bouts of heaviness and aching. It always happens when the truth finds me in those random moments where suppressed memories surface upon deciding my happy heart and carefree mind may have forgotten. I am surrounded by an immense amount of love in my life, but there are days my heart wants just one more day with my friend. There remain moments when every fragment of my heart cries out for the ability to reach back in time and save her from all that tormented her.
Although there were undeniable ups and downs, as there are with all friendships, we shared an unforgettable bond. Year after year, we shared laughter, tears, frustrations, phobias, “what-if’s”, obstacles, pitfalls, accomplishments, pranks, “inside jokes” and each others’ most shameful skeletons. We dreamed and we schemed. We concocted future plans. We vowed to be the best aunt to each others’ children when we had them. We wondered who would be the first one to pass, and we often joked about who would better handle being left behind.
“We’re Still Be Best Friends, Even When We Are Senior Citizens!”
Interestingly, I found an old card from her just two weeks prior to her death. Inside she had written, “Let’s become little old ladies together one day. We will still be best friends, even when we are senior citizens!” Kimberly had fallen to depression and drug addiction in the years leading up to her death, and sadly our friendship had never recovered. I can assure you, reader; I never in my wildest dreams imagined that her life’s expiration date would have such elements of sadness and confusion attached to it. Because of the reality of not having been in contact for years prior to her passing, I learned a valuable lesson through this experience:
Once you deeply love someone, the love can never be gone. It does not die. It does not dissipate or cease to exist. It may be temporarily forgotten, it may go into hibernation, it may transcend, it may be tucked away in order to make room in your heart for new people to love, but it never dies. Never.
A couple of days after learning of Kimberly’s death, I sat alone in my living room, speaking to the air. I told her I was angry and I told her I was sorry for all she had gone through. Finally, I asked her, “What is it that you could not see?”. In my heart, I believe I was given an important message to share with all who are willing to listen. I somehow felt oddly inspired despite being in a chokehold of grief. With my heart bleeding like a fountain while wiping my eyes through an hour of sobbing, I vomited every shred of pain into the following words, which I would later read at her funeral. If you have stumbled upon this article, please do not consider it to be an accident.
There is so much beauty in this world, but it only exists if you actually see it. There is so much love to be felt, but it only exists if you know it is there. I’ve come to realize a lie has the ability to damage one’s life as though it were the truth. For example, one may believe they are not loved and may therefore make poor, destructive decisions based upon that belief. They may be the most loved and desired human being in the entire world, but if they do not possess the mental capability to feel it and know it, their life decisions are going to be made based upon that lie.
A few days ago, the beautiful, hilarious, loud-mouthed Kimberly took her own life. I believe in my heart this decision was made based upon her faulty belief that she was not as loved as she was. Let me assure you, she was one of the most admired, loved and celebrated people I have ever known. If you knew her, especially during her happiest times, she had a spirit so abundant it could fill an entire arena.
You know how in cartoons when they make character’s eyes sparkle and flash when they are happy, in love and full of life? Well, they must have drawn inspiration from people like Kimberly because those are the kind of eyes she had. When we were together, we were always laughing. She had the kind of charm and nerve to dare me to do anything, no matter how outrageous, and I had zero ability to ever tell her “no”.
Once upon a time, Kimberly oozed life. Every cell in her body was a celebration of life and laugher. She was my best friend, partner-in-crime, co-star, fellow prankster and sister. She often said, “Pinky swear we will be best friends, even when we are senior citizens!” It made me laugh every time she said it. As I’m writing this, my tears are falling down recalling it. I’m going to take a lesson from all of this with me, and I’m positive it is what Kimberly would want me to do:
In this life, there are forces good and bad. The bad forces have a tendency to create distractions so strong that good choices are no longer easily made. Distractions get in everyone’s way, but we wake each day with choices. It’s so powerful when you think about it. We make choices which then lead to other choices and if those choices are not good ones, we find ourselves in the belly of a deep black hole, completely and utterly blind to everything good around us. No one is immune, either.
I often hear words of advice and posts preaching the importance of showing love to other people. While I strongly agree with the importance of showing love, I realize the importance of receiving it, too. It’s important to not only treat others with love, but to also see, feel, and receive the love they are trying to give to you. Open your eyes and force yourself to recognize the love that is all around you. Stop looking for the bad in everyone and everything. Receive the love that is calling to sustain you.
Kimberly, you will always be the most magical, colorful and memorable piece of my childhood and youth. I’ll keep my end of the promise we made, even when I am a senior citizen.
If you have made it this far, you have likely read the piece I wrote for my friend’s funeral. Thank you for taking a glimpse inside of my heart by reading it. My hope is that it will not only inspire you to hug the ones you love a little tighter, but to also consider all the ways you make yourself available to love each day. Once a bond of love is formed, it doesn’t just disappear. It doesn’t spontaneously combust or cease to exist, regardless of what transpires over time. So, I challenge you: Be grateful for it. Accept the love that is there. I believe if Kimberly had fully realized how deeply loved she truly was (and is), she would not have ended her life. That love would have sustained her, had she allowed it to. Do not allow a bad situation to take you away from the most powerful and healing emotion which exists. See it, feel it, know it, breathe it in and receive it.
I’m just being honest.
©TheDailyDoll.com/Lacey Johnson 2014 / 2015