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To the Friend Who Saved My Life When I Attempted Suicide

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I have been trying to find the right words to say in this letter for so many years. If I’m being honest, I still don’t believe I’ve found them, but I’m going to try anyway.

I realized a little over a year ago that other people have died from suicide attempts with less of the exact same means than what I used. I always knew I shouldn’t have survived that night but that made it even more real.

A lot of people knew I was struggling. A lot of people knew I wasn’t OK. But you were the person who made the phone call. You were the person who stepped in. You were the person who cared enough to do something. You are the reason I didn’t die that night. You are also one of many reasons I’m still alive today.

I know that couldn’t have been easy. I know that date is cemented in your mind just as much as it is cemented in my own. I know that took more courage and strength than words can express.

In trying to find the right words to say in this letter, I didn’t know if I should start with “I’m sorry” or “thank you” — so I’m saying both.

I’m sorry I put you in the position where you had to do that. I’m sorry I didn’t acknowledge it directly sooner. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve tried to move on like it never happened without acknowledging your side of it.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for not walking away. Thank you for being there, even in the times when I’m sure it pained you in ways I will never understand. Thank you for being a friend who I know I can count on, for always taking the time to love so deeply and fully and for not being
afraid to ask hard questions when something doesn’t seem quite right.

Sweet friend, your friendship is invaluable for so many reasons — and it has been long before that night. You are an incredible person in so many ways. I am beyond blessed to know you and far more blessed to call you my friend. I am so thankful for the person you are and the blessing
you are in the lives of so many.

In the midst of all the times I haven’t addressed this, through all of the moments I avoided allowing the topic to enter conversation, I hope you know it was purely because I had not found the right words. I hope you realize it was because I know I will never understand what that night was like for you beyond the fact that it must have been incredibly difficult. I was afraid I would say the wrong thing at the wrong time or reopen the wrong wound. I realize now that in not addressing it, I probably invalidated your experience in a way — and I’m sorry for that.

When I think about our friendship, I remember so many different things and so much more than that one night (while that night is also
something I could never forget). To me, that night involved so many people and circumstances that when I remember it, there really isn’t any one person I think of. But for you, I realize you never saw all the other pieces.

You weren’t there when the police showed up, when the paramedics took the bottle out of my pocket, when my family asked if going to the hospital was “really necessary” or when the nurse stayed in my room to talk to me for hours. You weren’t there when the things happened that led up to it, when I had flashbacks that no one addressed or when I told countless professionals I wasn’t OK — only to be dismissed over and over again.

And it wasn’t that you wouldn’t have been there for me — you have proven over and over again that you are always there. But at the time, I refused to let you in — and I’m sorry for that.

I realized tonight you are still affected by that night — that it’s still something you think about and remember. I won’t pretend to know how often or what that’s like for you, but I felt it was time for me to address it directly.

I love you times infinity to the infinity. Always.

Getty Images: william87

Originally published: November 14, 2019
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