Loss is a hard thing to describe. Today I’ve been thinking about the last conversation I had with my cousin and saying good bye. I remember the call from my dad telling me to come down to the hospital, feeling like it was not possible that her light would be put out. 2 years ago, I walked into a room and saw my cousin connected to a machine that was keeping her alive. It helped her breathe while the staff worked to get her body clean of toxins.
I remember that we had family in town to see my grandmother after she suffered a stroke. It was actually surprising that we had so many people there is a time that felt surreal. The feeling I remember more than anything was that I had to be strong. My parents had spent the night at the hospital with my aunt and uncle, trying to keep another set of parents strong through a horrifying event. I picked up my siblings and thought, we need to be there. As I arrived at a lobby full of family, friends, and tears, I knew it was going to be the hardest day.
I walked into Annie’s room and honestly, I saw every memory I’ve had of her in the past year. She had been troubled and slowly in the past few years, she became less present in my life. I was worried about her but busy with life. I remember watching her be amazing with her son some days and then be completely out of control of her own emotions. I knew in my heart that I had loved her but it felt like we had watched her drown.
As a child, she was the sweetest little girl with a huge heart. She was the other little girl that was always around at our house. She was the other half to my little brother and full of life. She was the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen and didn’t know it. She loved to cook and sometimes had weird fashion ideas. She loved to make people feel special and smile. She would do little things for you even if she didn’t have any money. She was kind when others weren’t.
It’s always the people that love so hard that struggle giving it to themselves. That lack of love led to me having a very hard conversation with a young woman I believed was strong enough to beat her struggles. Before I left to San Diego for a work trip, I told her that she could go if she needed to, because I knew she didn’t have peace in this world. I let her know that we would watch over her little boy and I loved her.
It sounds weird but I knew she was gone. I felt it. The girl I knew had left us to shine down on us in other ways. I see her in moments I didn’t expect and when good things happen in our family. A few months after she was gone, I found a voicemail where she called me and said, “Hi Gaby, it’s Annie. I love you and I miss you. Bye!”
It’s crazy, such a little thing, a voicemail can mean so much to you. She left letters for some of the family and she left memories for all of us to be a little kinder and love more.
Suicide is a sad thing fore the whole family and even worse because you feel like you missed signs. Remember to check in with those you love and even those who seem fine. Our minds can be full of dark thoughts but together we can get back to light and love.