Every time someone I love is upset, and doesn’t answer the phone, I panic. I worry that if I don’t reach them, somehow, right now, through a friend or colleague or someone at home, there is a chance that I will never see them again. It happened once, and I will not let it happen again. I didn’t pay enough attention the last time and I lost someone forever. And I don’t think I can live with myself if I ever let it happen again.
Since last year, all of us have been walking on a ticking time bomb of ‘what ifs’. What if we had called before? What if I just sent her a text? What if we’d just listened some more? What did we do wrong that we should have done right?
The answer to that, I’ve found out throughout the months, is nothing.
There was absolutely nothing that you could have done to change what happened. No decision, phone call or angel, would have changed the course of her destiny.
So I’m tired of aunties asking us “Do you know what happened? Did she tell you anything at all? Were there signs? You were her friends, no?” I want to slap them on their confused-ass face and tell them, “No, I don’t know what happened. I didn’t live her life, I don’t know what made her do what she did. I don’t know what it feels like to go through what she did and say ‘oh, if it were me, I would not have done such a stupid thing’. I couldn’t have possibly told you what would make someone normal, like you or me, someone who was just texting us the night before asking to see us the next day for lunch, do something as crazy as jump in front of a train.”
The thing with people is that, no two are the same. The way I react when something happens to me, will not be the same way that you react when the same thing happens to you. If someone as sane and normal and fun and amazing as she, could do something so incredibly out-of-this-world, I do not, for one millisecond, doubt that someone normal, like you or me, can do something just as outrageous.
Since then, I’ve tried to understand why someone would do something that is considered out of their normal behaviour. I’ve run over that thought over and over again; the same way that I’ve run my tongue over and over again on the place where a wisdom tooth is emerging, rupturing the gum underneath. And I’ve searched and searched and searched, and ended up with nothing, except the annoying feeling of an unwanted wisdom tooth. There is no right or wrong way that someone will act in a situation that shatters their world. There is no telling what you or I would do if we were cornered into a cavern where we could see no escape.
So you have no right to say that what she did was wrong, unless you have done the same.
When someone is going through a shit-storm, they just need you to listen to them and tell them that it is going to be okay. Not how if it were you, how you would do it differently. Or how stupid they’ve been or how they’re going to be in trouble.
You just need someone to tell you that it is okay.
No matter what has happened, regardless of what you have done, it will be okay.
Just that one phrase. “It will be okay.”
I wish I had said it to her enough. I wish I had told her some more.
I wish she had had someone to say it to her.
Just that one phrase.
It will be okay.