image: Uncle Todd + My Mom, Christmas 1994
I got an email yesterday from a dear friend that said her niece's friend committed suicide. She was 14. Her name was Abby. I can't imagine what that sweet girl must have been going through. The darkness and pain that she must have felt to make the decision to end it. I can't imagine what her parents and friends and family are feeling... but then again I sort of can.
I was 15 when my uncle Todd died of a heroine overdose. It was a week before my birthday. The news ripped through my family like a tornado. Everything was sucked up into the vortex and then left strewn across what felt like three states. The events of the day we found out are blurs stitched together by sobs and disbelief.
I was home sick. My step-dad woke me and told me to go pick up Kayla from school. I could tell something serious had happened. He was firm, intentional, somber. I picked up Kayla and we assumed it was Papa. He'd been living with cancer for years now and it was the logical answer.
I'll never forget the look on my mom's face when we got home. She was folding towels. When she finished she started again folding the same pile over and over utterly helpless to do anything else. I remember being immediately confused... Papa had been sick, I knew it would be sad when he passed... we all knew it was coming but this... this felt so different.
When they told us it was Uncle Todd I sat in silence trying to process. Kayla immediately ran into the backyard screaming. The next days and weeks would go by so slowly almost as if time had stopped. The rest of the world seemed to be moving at warp speed. How could they just keep on going like nothing happened?
That year I learned about the grief process. I learned about the strength of my family. Naturally, I developed some strong opinions about drugs. I learned a lot about what's important in life. I learned about healing, friendship + I learned the meaning of "I'm sorry for your loss."
Uncle Todd + Little Lacy, Spring 1983
We still talk about him. Celebrate him. Miss him. I'm 34 now and I don't think about that day very often. When I think of my Uncle Todd I think of his laugh. He had the BEST laugh. I see him playing with the dogs, playing with us and cracking up.
Today I am thinking about Abby's family. I am sending you all my love. I may not know you but I feel you. As the world is whooshing by so very quickly I am standing still with you. I am truly sorry for your loss.
With love, Lacy