There was this woman who was about as beautiful as anyone can be. She was thin, and elegant, and she had high cheekbones and large doe-like eyes. I should have remembered that her hurdles were no lower than mine, that her loveliness did not spare her from psychic pain any more than my ordinary looks spare me. Instead, I assumed that her life was cushioned in ways mine is not, and, if I felt anything, I felt envy.
There was this woman who could write devilishly funny, and sad, but mostly funny, because that's where she staked her claim. I laughed, and because I laughed, and the world felt just fine while I was laughing, I decided that her world must feel just fine.
There was this woman who was alive, but now is not. And while I was a friend of hers, I was never a close friend -- so although I missed many of her distress calls, I will not take that on, because I had not communicated with her in a long time, and because God knows she would not want me to take that on.
But. I will be more careful with those I love. I will try to read between the lines they speak and read into the lines written in their faces. I will probe for sadness, check to see if its flames are licking at the bottoms of curtains. No longer will I stop at "I'm fine." I will reject the stock answer.
And my taking an extra step, or ten? Stacy, that is on you. Because if you could fall between the cracks, surely anyone can.
I can't bring you back, but maybe I can help someone else stay here a little longer. Maybe I can remember not to assume anything about anyone, especially when the content of the assumption concerns the private places and spaces where sadness takes root.
I think you'd like that.
Stacy Lyn Campbell, 6/22/77-9/16/15
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1-800-SUICIDE