The death of a friend

I found out yesterday that a dear friend died of an overdose of alcohol and valium a couple of weeks ago. She was a sweet lady who was like a mother/big sister to me, especially after the loss of my own mother. When I was sick, I knew that she would be sending chicken soup to my rescue via her husband. When I needed to talk about how cruel life was, she was there to listen. When my computer wouldn’t boot up, she diagnosed it for free and replaced the motherboard. She was talented, funny, compassionate, and brilliant. She was someone I counted as a close friend.

In recent years, menepause threw her for a loop. Her mood swings were severe and she began using a combination of alcohol and other drugs to, I don’t know exactly, to numb her feelings, I assume. She became severly depressed and sometimes impossible to live with. She tried to wrestle with her demons, going to AA meetings three times a week, and trying to get a grip on her problems.

I am so angry and saddened. I don’t know if I could have helped her but I would have tried had I known how serious things were. I am sad that last Thanksgiving was the last time that I would taste her delicious cooking. I am angry that it all had to turn out this way. I am angry because I don’t think she intended to die. She left no note. She appeared to have tried to make it to the bathroom while vomiting. This sounds like a gross error in judgement while trying to lessen her pain, not a desire to end her life.

And now the rest of us are left with nothing but questions. How did it get this far? Why couldn’t it be prevented? What could I have done differently?

Sadly, they are questions that will never be answered. But I will still ponder them for a long time to come. I love you and miss you, my friend. I hope you have found peace and rest easy.

I’m truly sorry for your loss.

Thanks, MrVisible,

It’s appreciated.

I’m sorry as well. Depression is a horrible thing, and it sounds like that was at least part of what she was fighting due to those hormonal changes. If she was self-medicating, it’s possible that she didn’t want anyone to know how serious it really was - or was minimizing the effects - as she probably wasn’t seeing a doctor for it or not telling him or her what was really going on. So please don’t put so much blame on yourself.

Find a way to honor her this Thanksgiving, perhaps, even if it’s only with some soup. Maybe you can carry on some of the good parts of her in you, without her pain.

Ferret Herder,

Yes, you are correct about depression. I have some experience with it as it was one of the factors that led to my mother’s death. It’s such a horrible condition and one that is very poorly understood by many. So many people have the opinion of “Why can’t you just get over it” or “why can’t you just be happy”, not understanding that if these people could “just get over it”, they would.

It’s not so much that I put blame on myself. I doubt that there is really much I could have done. She needed professional help. But the fact that she wasn’t able to get it, really upsets me. Her husband tried and tried but the more he tried the angrier she got at him. She turned into a very mean person, to the point that, after a while, he decided to seperate from her. It wasn’t an easy decision but he had really exhausted all of his options. She was making business decisions that were illegal and got her in a lot of trouble. She was constantly belittling him and telling him he was worthless. I don’t blame him for his decision because there is only so much a person can take, especially when the person who is suffering refuses to get help.

I’m just angry that it had to come to this. This woman was not a bad person. She helped everyone she possibly could. She just was better at helping others than herself. And her mind betrayed her into thinking that she was awful and that there was no hope. I know that there were probably 100 people that would have jumped in and helped her at a moments notice because everyone thought the world of her. Many tried too but we were all met with anger. She was intensly private and thought she could handle it herself. She was mistaken.

I think the main source of my anger is that there are no answers. There is nobody to blame but herself and even that is a stretch, because she obviously wasn’t thinking clearly. That there wasn’t a viable solution, bothers me greatly.

I am also mad at people who don’t think that depression is a serious thing. It is very serious, very real, and very dangerous. It can kill, as I have seen twice in my life now. More understanding is needed as to why it happens and what can be done to both prevent and treat it. We lose too many wonderful people to depression, people that have everything going for them, but just are not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel when things get bad.

And, Ferret Herder, I appreciate your advice. The pain and sadness will diminish over time. I’m not looking forward to Thanksgiving this year at all because there will be many memories of the past holidays but that will change with time and I will get to a point where I focus on the good, rather than the bad. I think the best way I can honor her is to try to remember her kindness, her compassion, and her intense desire to help others, and try to better incorporate those ideals into my own life.

Thanks for your response.

I share your anger, music guy. All I can do is offer you a shoulder to cry on and someone to yell at if you need one. It’s not right, it’s not fair and it shouldn’t have happened to her or you, especially considering how many total assholes are still sucking down oxygen. If you want or need it, my e-mail address is in my profile. I am very sorry this happened.


music guy, I am sorry for your loss and I too share your frustration at not being able to find answers. I have read that valium can add to depression and, of course, alcohol does. It is the wrong way to feel better.

Your taking the time to express your grief and indignation here may help to convince someone else to seek help.

That would be a wonderful thing, indeed. I also would be pleased if it caused someone to realize that depression is a real and serious danger. If you know someone that is depressed, try to get them some professional help. Being down for a couple of days is one thing, but if someone remains in a depressed state for a significant amount of time, it is something that they may not be able to tackle on their own. Telling someone to “cheer up” isn’t enough. Nor is “Things will get better”. To a depressed person, that is a foreign concept and does not apply to them. And, take a few moments and try to educate yourself on what to do if someone is depressed. That knowledge might help save a life.

Lastly, if you are depressed, find a professional that you can talk to. Do not be ashamed or allow ego to play a part. There is help available and you don’t have to handle it alone.