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Pour Your Heart Out~The Night the World Stood Still

by Deborah Cruz

I have decided to write my first ever Pour Your Heart Out post. I am very open on my blog. I am very honest about what I write and the opinions and feelings that I have about any given subject. That being said, I write a Mommy blog. Every part of me that I ever was, am or will ever be is not relevant to my posts. So you don’t know every single thing about me. And that’s okay because I don’t know every single thing about you. Who really knows everything about everyone? We know what is pertinent and the rest is extraneous information, except for when it isn’t.

This morning,I found myself impulsively writing a post. It was one of those situations where the heart took over and my blog was where the feelings landed. Needless to say, I spent the day being attacked but that’s OK too because we are all entitled to our feelings and our opinions…that includes me. I heard your reactions and I took my lumps, like a big girl. But I realized that you don’t know things about me. I am going to share a part of my past that I don’t like to talk about or even recollect. I’ve not shared it up to this point because it was simply irrelevant. Today, it became relevant.

It was a bitter cold night in January 13 years ago.I was a senior in college and had been out at the bars with my friends and fiance,having the time of our lives. Not a care in the world. In fact, I was on top of the world. I had just newly gotten engaged and the whole world was in front of me. We were out celebrating our engagement with our closest friends. Life was finally looking promising.

This particular night, I had been out with my now husband and my best friend, who introduced us, and a few others close to us. My best friend had grown up with my fiance and he was like her brother. From the very beginning, she raved at how I had to meet him.Here we were, like any other night at college, drinking, talking, dancing, laughing and living.Living life so full and hard that sometimes it felt too good to be true.

This night, something was different. She seemed distant….removed. But when I asked she said that she had things on her mind. A little more drinking and a lot more probing and she told me that she was feeling like she was losing our friendship to the engagement. She felt left out. She felt angry. She felt sad. I hugged her, as best girlfriends do, and I assured her that no this was just the beginning to a very long friendship.I assumed that was it. The night proceeded as usual and then we parted ways. She dropped me off at my apartment and said she’d see me tomorrow and then drove home to her apartment on the opposite side of town.In retrospect, I should have known something was wrong since she hadn’t decided to just crash at my apartment, as she did on so many other nights.

Sometime a few hours later (I’m not really sure of the time as I was in a dead sleep when I received the phone call), she called me. She was half incoherent and she was mumbling. I could barely understand or hear her. She was speaking in a low, heavy whisper. All I remember hearing is “I love you and I wanted to say bye”. Then the phone went dead. My heart froze and my stomach dropped. I tried frantically to call her back as I was throwing on my clothes and searching for my keys. I called the police. I tried to call her again. No answer. The phone rang. It was her mother, frantic and scared sounding exactly the same way I felt. She had gotten the same call. I ran out the door half dressed because in those moments every single second was life or death. I jumped in my car, with no coat and snow pouring down, tears streaming down my cheeks and my heart beating out of my chest. My head was spinning.The car stalled. It wouldn’t start. I called my fiance to come and get me.I called the cops again. Time was moving so fast but so slow.It was like helplessly watching a train wreck in slow motion.Knowing everyone on board was going to die but you couldn’t stop it.

The dispatch ( knowing that I was frightened out of my mind) checked with the on scene police officers and told me that paramedics were at her apartment trying to resuscitate her. TRYING.TO.RESUSCITATE. HER!! Her mother called. My friend had taken sleeping pills and pain killers.Lots of them. Life was muffled and spinning so fast and far out of control that I could hardly breathe. I felt trapped in my own head.What was only 3 minutes felt like a lifetime.My fiance arrived, I jumped into his car, in the middle of that dark, freezing cold night in January and raced to the hospital. I was it. We were her family. Her parents were 2 hours away. So, we sat and we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, her mother arrived. Finally, the doctors let us know that she was going to be okay.

I have NEVER felt so helpless in my entire life. I am not a victim. I do not sit idly by and watch as life happens to me. I am engaged. I am involved. I make things happen. I keep the people that I love safe. Her act left me helpless and in a panic. All I could do was pray. She called me after the fact. She didn’t even give me a chance to help her. It infuriated me. It infuriates me to this day. When you kill yourself, or even try to kill yourself, the ones you leave behind are the ones who are left with the void and the pain.  Maybe that is why the events that took place this morning incited such a strong reaction within me. In fact, I am sure that my own personal experience is what caused my gut reaction. So, next time, you will know that I hate the helplessness, the situation…not the person or the illness.

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Kathy 2011/04/20 - 8:00 am

That must have been so scary! I can’t imagine being put in that situation and how helpless you must have felt. Thanks for pouring your heart out.

Irim 2011/04/20 - 8:42 am

(This is posted in fb comments, but not showing up here, so thought I’d cross-post)

Thank you for this. Like so many others – and as one who has both lost a friend to suicide and been suicidal herself, I was really upset by yesterday’s post, though I knew you had to have been triggered by either a suicide or an attempted suicide close to you. I think you could have avoided the rage directed your way if you’d opened up yesterday – people might not have agreed, but they would have understood.

And I think it is absolutely possible to hold that suicide is a selfish, angry act AND have deep compassion for someone who attempts/commits suicide. I certainly do – the way I reconcile it is that the first is objective, almost academic, but when in that place, that’s not what you’re thinking – you’re thinking the world is better off without you; you’re a burden; it’ll never get better, only worse; there’s no other way out. So from that subjective perspective, it’s selfless. And that’s what makes it possible to hold that tension, I think.

I’m not going to say anything about yesterday’s post, because as I read down the comments and your responses, I could see you were thinking about your position, perhaps nuancing it, and that was all anyone could ask. Just my opinion, but I think in future, it helps to know where you’re coming from when you write a post like that one with such intense emotion: in the first place, if we stop and say, ‘Wait, what’s going on with me here,’ it helps you – one of my favourite quotes is ‘Beneath anger is a pain so deep that it is easier to be angry at ourselves or someone else than to face that pain’. Second, it allows others to nuance their own responses and respond to you more authentically.

Thanks for opening up and being so vulnerable with us.


Dana K 2011/04/20 - 10:12 am

I have been left behind by suicide, also. It sucks and it is EXACTLY why I always react with anger. I have a friend who lost her mother to suicide as a child…she will never be the same. I live with major depressive disorder – mental illness is real and it does cause you to be self-centered, it’s the nature of the disease. When I am not medicated & in my lowest of lows, everything is about me. Everything. In retrospective clarity, I can see how my decisions that I thought were to help everyone else (disappearing, cutting people out of my life, etc) and keep them from suffering because of me were purely selfish. I know that it’s the disease speaking, but it doesn’t mean it’s a selfless act or decision or that I am not responsible for how I have hurt people I love.

Truthful Mommy 2011/04/20 - 10:35 am

Thank you for sharing such a intimate part of your life with us. I know that it must be awful to feel hopeless and have no strength to fight anymore. But you are aware of your lows and I really think that makes a difference. Also, the fact that you have been left behind probably has a lot to do with your view point, as does mine. I’m sorry you were left behind. But I am glad that you have left no one behind:)

Irim 2011/04/20 - 10:52 am

No, it doesn’t, but I believe that knowing the intention someone has/had DOES make a difference. It’s like I’ve always said, “If I get angry at my parents because they DIDN’T choose to love me,” and I knew they were capable of it, fine. But if I realise that they are damaged because of their past and get angry at them when they CAN’T love me because of how they were damaged and how it affected the choices they made because they suffered the horrors of Partition between Pakistan and India, didn’t have the resources to heal, then couldn’t see their way out of a disastrous arranged marriage – if I UNDERSTAND ALL THAT AND HOW IT CRIPPLED THEM, and I still choose to be angry and insist that they are horrible, selfish people – that’s very, very different. *I’m* the one with the awareness and choice at that moment, and it’s my responsibility to make it.

I choose to believe, from my experience, and those of others that I know in various capacities, both as a friend and therapist, that people in the depths of depression CAN’T. Even a traditional Catholic priest wouldn’t refer to suicide as a mortal sin: grave matter? Yes. Full knowledge? Doubtful. Full consent, which requires clarity of vision and a clear mind? No.

And if the Catholic Church, which can be so quick to judge and condemn on so many fronts, can have compassion here, who am I, who has been there and seen others there, to not have that same compassion?


P.S. – And yes, I know about the Church’s past on this and not burying them in hallowed ground, etc. But every priest I’ve known, conservative and liberal, when asked the question, gave that answer.

Perfecting Parenthood 2011/04/20 - 11:23 am

I can’t understand what drives a person to suicide, especially calling loved ones or leaving gifts behind. If they need to kill themselves then go on a trip, get close to your God, and do it. I just think that when they leave the notes behind they’re somehow trying to get in one last word that you can’t respond to. It does seem very selfish to do it that way.

Then again, if their personal pain is so great I can see how it might be an escape. In that case, it would almost be better if you did it with your loved ones there, like a terminal disease or euthanasia. My grandfather-in-law shot himself not long after losing his wife to disease. No warning to his family, no goodbyes. I don’t know which I would prefer.

Truthful Mommy 2011/04/20 - 12:18 pm

it all sucks. Any way you slice it. If someone is hurting that bad and feel that hopeless, it is tragic. For those left behind, tragic. In her case, I am glad that I could get the authorities and she could be saved.But I won’t lie, this episode changed the dynamic of our relationship forever.It changed my life and perspective forever.Goodbyes or no goodbye, either way it’s going to hurt the ones left behind.They will feel helpless, useless and play the what if game perpetually.

Shell 2011/04/20 - 11:31 am

I can’t imagine how that must have felt. 🙁 I’m just glad that she was okay.

Truthful Mommy 2011/04/20 - 12:15 pm

It was awful for everyone involved. I hope I never have to experience anything like that again.

Polish Mama on the Prairie 2011/04/20 - 1:03 pm

I won’t share the exact details how but suicide attempts have affected my life as well. Let’s just say, there was a baby involved with one. And that person I pray for because I could never do that. And can never understand how, WHY, someone could do that. No, I wasn’t the person who attempted suicide but it will always affect me emotionally.

Depression? I’ve been there, done that. And it runs deep in me. I still love living, breathing, my children, I still hope. And I would not want to ever leave anyone feeling the way your friend left you feeling that day.

Glad she was alright after.

Praying for Summer and her whole family, who started this whole discussion. And wanting to say, if anyone feels this way, get help right away.

There is NO shame in getting professional help.

Anne 2011/04/20 - 3:22 pm

While I know you hate the situation it created – not the person or the illness – as you said, just keep in mind that (and I am not trying to be cruel or criticizing by saying this)… it isn’t about you… and it shouldn’t be about you or how you hated the helplessness it created in you… it is about your friend… or Summer… it is about THEM…

Not that you weren’t suffering in your own helplessness, but they felt so hopeless that they tried to take their lives. Yes, there are biproducts of that for their loved ones – family & friends – but we should not fault or judge them or the situation because of what it has done TO US.

Know what I mean?

If anything, Summer’s post yesterday has started many relevent conversations to raise awareness and to, hopefully, get help for those who need it.

the white words

Truthful Mommy 2011/04/21 - 8:53 am

Thank you for your insight and I appreciate your candor. I understand that suicide is not about me. I know that a person who is in that much pain is not considering the collateral damage or ripple effect they will cause in the world. From the person trying to commit suicide, I understand they are in the grips of the disease and they can’t see past the fog of depression…emotionally. With my situation, it was a little about me…the minute my friend drug me into it.She ‘s the one who chose to bring me into her business. I didn’t ask to be made responsible for her life. In the case of Summer, she has children. She chose to have them. They are her responsibility. She made it about them when she gave birth. She brought them into her world. I am sorry that she is going through such an horribly dark period in her life but the bottom line, for me, is that she is responsible for those children. She owes them a mother. As for me? Myself and anybody else on Twitter, who actually care about people, she brought us into it too when she posted her suicide note to the internet and then had it tweeted out. That is not the important part if this situation but it is a fact , none the less. I hope that she is getting the help that she needs.

Jess@Straight Talk 2011/04/20 - 4:43 pm

What a helpless, horrible and scary place to be. I’m sorry that people attacked you yesterday. People are all entitled to their opinions and what gives some people the thought that their opinions are any more valuable than someone else’s is beyond me. We are adults that should be able to share an open dialogue.

You’re awesome Deb.

Truthful Mommy 2011/04/21 - 8:32 am

Thanks mama! I really appreciate your kind words. It’s ok. They are perfectly entitled to their opinions, as I am to mine. I did not discount any of my commentors feelings or reactions to the situation, I simply had my own reaction. it was independent of anyone else. But we are all different and all come from different places. Emotions were running high on all accounts. I’m glad there are people like you who can have an open dialogue and respect others feelings even if they are not your own.

Adrienne 2011/04/20 - 6:52 pm

That sounds like such an awful thing to do through. I’m glad she was ok. Do you still remian friends today?

I went back and read that post you linked. So sad. I agree. selfish.

Stopping by from PYHO.

Truthful Mommy 2011/04/21 - 8:28 am

We are still friends but the situation did change the relationship. It suffered irreparable damage.There was a broken trust and our entire dynamic has changed. Do we still get together occasionally ? Yes. Is she the “sister’like” type she once was? No.

parenting ad absurdum 2011/04/21 - 12:35 pm

This is incredibly moving, Debi – depression is so tough, and untreated can be a fatal disease. It was in the case of my father, and it’s something that I still fight, with therpay and medication. Hence, I’m terrified that I might see signs of it in my children. I know It also drags down family and friends like no other. The more we talk about it, I believe, the better. I appreciate you adding your open, honest and vulnerable take to the discussion.

Mommy Nani Booboo 2011/04/21 - 12:43 pm

What an awful situation to be put in.
I do not disagree with the reaction you had the other day… but now I do understand it better.
A side effect of depression is selfishness and self centered- ness. The people on the sidelines are hurt just as much and have every right to be angry.


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