The Moment When Everything Changed

“Things will never be the same” is such a cliché, but when someone you love dearly—a close friend or a family member—almost successfully commits suicide, it is an undeniable truth.

You know that time does indeed heal all wounds and that eventually you will stop bursting into tears at inopportune times and in inappropriate places. (Note to self: tears streaming down your face while seated in the emergency exit row appears to elicit concern in other passengers.)

It also seems likely that at some point your brain will stop reviewing at freeze-frame speed your every interaction from childhood to the present, searching for signs you think must have been more glaring than they probably were when experienced in real-time.

But what is hard to predict is whether or not you will ever be able to look at her without having the attempt come to the forefront of your mind. And how unfair it will be if you can’t.
  • When she takes a vitamin will the thought of the pills immediately appear?
  • When she prepares dinner using a sharp knife will you not wonder about its other uses?
  • What will you now hear when she merely responds “OK” to your inquiry about how her day is going?
Will you ever again be able to completely see her as the wonderful person she is without this one action as the Scarlet Letter on her identity?

And then you realize how selfish such thoughts are compared to the questions she, too, will probably forever be asking.

Some things one day may again be the same (as if that is even the gold standard worth considering) but I doubt I ever will be.

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