I’ll never forget that day, there is just no way. It was December 14, 2006, the day after my best friend’s birthday. I was out in Brandon with my (now ex) boyfriend, meeting my dad, for dinner. The restaurant was a favorite of mine and Heather’s. As my boyfriend and I got to the restaurant my cell phone rang. I was told my best friend Heather, had been in an accident on her way to work. Since the restaurant was close to where she worked and she was supposed to be there within the half hour, I called her to let her know I’d delay dinner and take her the rest of the way if she needed. Heather didn’t answer my call. Or the next call. Or the one after that. I was starting to get annoyed, by this point we had arrived at the restaurant and were waiting for our table with my dad. She still hadn’t called me back. It wasn’t long before my annoyance wore off and my panic set in. Something wasn’t right, this wasn’t like Heather to ignore repeated calls from me. Maybe one or two if she was busy, but not this. So I ran outside and called her again. No answer. I gave up. Dinner was not happening tonight. Standing in the middle of the outdoor patio, crying my eyes out because I just knew this wasn’t good.
Running in, I apologized to my dad and said we had to go and while giving him a brief explanation, we were out the door. As we quickly ran back to my truck, I told my boyfriend to drive. I couldn’t see through my tears, had calls to make and on the whole he always had better composure under stress than I did. I tried Heather again with no luck. Then I called her mother… When her mom answered the gist was Heather had been in an accident, I needed to come home and we would go to the hospital together. I told Mary I had O positive blood and Heather could have anything form me she needed. Though as I hung up I thought it was odd that we’d go to the hospital together, from our houses when I was over half an hour away, I pushed the negativity away thinking that Heather must not be in too bad of shape then. I silenced the thought of why didn’t she answer the phone like one silences an assassination, but denial only works so long.
The next time the phone rang, I answered it. It was my mom calling and she was trying to find out if we were on our way home. I’ll never forget the screaming in the background. Never in my life have I heard my sister screaming from so much raw, emotional pain. It doesn’t haunt me in particular, but it tears at me that she had to suffer this. It was her screams, that forced me to see through everything. It was her screams that forced unwanted truth to shred me apart from the inside first. It was her screams that made me realize, my best friend and sister, were not at the hospital, but in fact dead. I hung up on my mom I think. I threw the phone and began screaming.
My chest was too heavy, I couldn’t breathe, the walls of the truck were closing in on me, so I did the only logical thing I could do. I jumped out of the truck while we were driving through an intersection into what I hoped was on coming traffic. To this day I don’t know how he knew, but my boyfriend got us pulled into a gas station just as I hit the ground. People in the store ran out, I vaguely remember and think they probably thought he was hurting me. Poor guy was trying to keep me alive as I was trying to stop the worst agony I’ve ever lived through.
It’s been 2,330 days since Heather died. I won’t say time heals all wounds, because that is bull shit. I’ve learned to live with the pain, I’ve acquired the desire to live again myself and I’ve learned the harshest thing about the world is that it stops spinning for no one. The first year was the hardest. Living in another country, I drank so much that hard liquor tasted like water. I slept through the days and partied every night. I over ate. I did drugs I never thought I’d even try. And I planned to commit suicide.
I failed to understand, that if I was going to kill myself I had to do it right then, I couldn’t plan the perfect time. I didn’t want to do it in Israel where I was living, I wanted to wait until I was in America. I was leaving Israel in early December 2007, I was MOH at a wedding in the end of the year and I joined the 22nd birthday dinner of Heather. After that, I was going to drive to North Florida and I was going to OD on every thing I could get my hands on. Simple and effective. None of my family had to find my body. Sure someone would have to identify me, but at least my sister, brother or mother wasn’t going to actually find me dead. And my friends would cope. No “friend” could possibly feel for me the way I felt for Heather.
Then I made a mistake. I moved to Orlando, I began playing rugby, I began working on campus, I began making friends. I kept procrastinating my suicide. I wanted to see what a semester at the university was like, I wanted to learn about rugby. As the years went by I continued to party. I drank and smoked pot for days on end, though I have huge issues with cigarette smoke and getting ill, I was a smoker (cloves were my favorite) and I made a lot of really poor choices and landed myself in a lot of bad situations. From accumulating debt, to being put on probation at school, to being too inebriated to defend myself in bad situations, “dating” scum bags, sabotaging my friendships, and really the list goes on, I’ve still got a lot of clean up work that I am doing. This is part of it.
Through all this, there has been friends, who have stayed by my side and others who have joined my side despite these decisions. So let’s start here with somethings I owe to people, who have never for once even asked me.
Matt C.- Thank you for your quick thinking. You saved my life that night. It’s taken me this long to be grateful for it. I’m so sorry for how I treated you when we broke up. I had every intention of making things easy, but I failed. I was mean, cold and a heartless bitch. I should have spoken kinder and been gentler. I was wrong to e-mail you a break up when we were so emotionally involved. You taught me what love was and what a man could be. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for this and wish you well. I’ve never been in love with you, but I have always loved you. You were a very good friend and I’m grateful for our time together.
Heather- If it’s possible that you are watching me or somehow know of all of this, please forgive me for using your death as an excuse to destroy myself. I love you so much and I miss you everyday. I know that while I feel guilty over some of my new found feelings, I know in my heart they would make you smile, because you would have never wanted me to be so miserable. I wouldn’t trade anything and everything in to have one more day with you, not anymore. It took me a while to become okay with this, but I’m getting there now.
To anyone who wants to kill them self and wonders why they haven’t done it already, pay close attention to the last part of this. I don’t know what made me hold on in the first place, but I understand now. There was a time, like I mentioned above, that I would have given up anything and everything to be with Heather again, that time has passed and so has the guilt of that feeling.
Yonkel- My adorable, sweet dog. You are the first reason I began to hang on. If I were to die, whose feet would you warm at night? Would you be sad? Would your new owner let you kiss their face? Would your new owner think that even your loud bark was a beautiful sound? I couldn’t risk you having a new owner who loved you less than me, even if there is a chance that someone could love you more.
To my friends new and old:
Ariel, Stephanie, Jennifer, Drew, Jennifer, Mush, Marci, Adam, Derina, Jennifer, Brooke, Stephen, Michael, Catu, Lexster, Nikki, Rebecca, Ryan, Carolina, Liat, Ilan, Josh, Shira and Alex- Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for teaching me to play rugby, for being a study buddy in college, giving me a job, skyping with me at all hours of the night and day, providing me with boxes to move, helping me move, holding my hand as I cry, laughing with me or sometimes even at me. Thank you for letting me confess my worries, insecurities, secrets and pains with you. Thank you for including me in your joy, especially during times where the only joy I had was being with you. Thank you for letting me have my opinion, even when it clashes with yours. Thank you for loving me, texting or calling me to say hello. Thank you for worrying about my whereabouts late at night, when I’m not home when I say I will be. Thank you for telling me I’m not going crazy, even when I knew certainly I was. Thank you for rides to and from work or the auto shop or wherever really. Thank you again for loving me. Thank each and everyone of you for making my life worth living. Thank you all for being the reason I could hold on during a dark time and being more reason to hang on during other dark times. If Heather were here today, she would thank you too. You all probably would have liked her a lot and I know the love you have shown me time and time again, she would appreciate too.
I miss Heather, really I do. It still hurts I miss her so much, but one thing is certain. I could never be happy trading in my experiences with all of you, for another day with her. No one will ever replace Heather, but I’ve learned the value of living once again, thanks you all of you.