Mary Deem, 20, wrote this essay a year ago after the suicide deaths of two Lake Norman-area teenagers. It first appeared in the Lake Norman Citizen. Deem tried to take her own life in March 2010. It has been edited for space.
I wish I had known. I wish I had known that you hurt so badly. I would’ve told you that I know that pain, I know that ache.
I would have told you that, when I was 17, I wanted to die, and I tried to make it so. I would have told you that I swallowed as many pills as I could because I didn’t want to feel this anymore, I didn’t want to have to fight for every day.
I would have told you how scared I was that I would die alone, how I called my mom on her cell phone, even though she was right down the hall.
I would have told you about her face when I told her what I had done. I would have told you about the mix of confusion and fear and hurt in her eyes as she asked me the details.
I would have told you how my dad cried out when I tried to walk. I would have told you how that cry echoes in my mind every day.
I would have told you about the way my dad picked me up, how he carried me to the car. I would have told you how I felt him shaking, just as much as I was, just as scared as I was.
I would have told you about my mom putting her fingers on my neck, about how she kept them there, just to make sure that my heart was still beating inside me, that her heart was still beating.
I would’ve told you about the bright whiteness of the hospital, me again in my father’s arms. People everywhere, questions and questions and monitors and my mother’s face, your mother’s face. So scared and so hurt, because a part of her would die, too. A part of her had died.
I would have told you about the first image I remember seeing when I woke up. My family, my beautiful family, bent over my bed.
I would’ve told you about the tree that stood outside my window in the hospital, the only thing I could see. I would have told you that it was barren and leafless. It was lonely and sad, just like me, that tree.
I would have told you that on the day I got out of the hospital, as I walked out into the sunshine, that tree, that sad little tree, had blooms. Blooms that rained petals down on the ground and that smelled like life, like another day.
I would have told you about the battle back into the everyday world, about the fight that I still fight every day against my sadness and loneliness.
I would have told you about how, with counseling and the support of my family, it was a little easier, a little less hopeless every day.
I would have told you that you have hope. I would have told you I could be your hope. I would have told you that the people around you would miss you, that their hearts would break when you left, that they would never be the same.
I would have told you that you deserve to live. I would have told you that you are worth the fight.
I wish I had known that you hurt so badly ...
... because I would have told you.
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