My Snow Flower
It was a Tuesday, it was a hot summer day, it was my second day in a practicum course I was taking to complete my masters degree, and it turned out to be a day that changed my life forever.
Minutes after arriving back to class after a quick lunch at the local pizzeria with my husband, my cell phone rang. It was my husband, I was sure he wanted to tell me something silly like he was headed to Lowes and might not be home when I got home, or that the dog had thrown up…yet again on our white carpet, but what he said instead was “My brother’s dead, he shot himself in his storage unit.” Without even thinking, I told him I was on my way home, but as I started to stand to gather my things, my body began to shake, my legs and arms didn’t seem to remember how to work. Before I could panic and lose control, my friend Heather was right there next to me, packing up my books, shielding me from the staring eyes of those around me, telling me it was going to be ok, that she would drive me home to be with Adam.
I don’t remember much about those first few moments, but what I do remember is screaming that this was all my fault, that I should have done more for Ty, that I should have taken better care of him while he had been staying with us this summer. Heather’s voice was calm as she repeated over and over again, “This is not your fault.” At the time, her words didn’t sink in, all I could hear was “My brother shot himself” those three words, spinning through my mind over and over again. But in the many long days, weeks, and months that followed, Heather continued to be calm and reassuring, and her words began to resonate with me. She walked with me each day and listened as I shared my darkest thoughts and fears, she guided me step by step through each lecture and assignment that I missed, she hugged me daily, and never got offended no matter how distant and vacant I was. It was Heather’s encouragement and compassion that gave me the strength to finish my masters program, to face a new school year, to leave my husband alone for more than two hours, and most importantly, to allow myself to grieve, to heal, and to begin to believe that Ty’s death was not my fault.
I believe in friendship. I believe in the power of a friend to go shopping with, to take classes with, to get pedicures with, but most importantly to celebrate the good times with, and to lean on during the bad. I believe with friends, anything is possible.
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