Since childhood, I’ve had a very hard time making friends, especially friends of my age, and even harder, finding reliable female friends. It didn’t get easier over time, and it’s quite critical at this point I put my trust in someone other than St.
During my Spring break, I visited the mother of myfriend M. M took her life away back in the Summer of 2021. I saw M’s mother last year at the end of April, and had the energy, and time to meet her last Thursday. On my first visit, I didn’t cry while talking to her. I was startled by the news even if I found out many months later, and was seeking understanding of what happened. I cried profusely right after I left as I walked back on the streets, and paths I used so many times back in the days of my friendship with M.
M, was my best friend for about 5 years till I walked away from the friendship as it became extremely toxic. M’s mother didn’t blame me since all her friends followed the same partner. M suffered from mental illness, and she refused to seek treatment. We all asked her to get help for years, her mother tried as much as she could to support her. Alas, on that tragic 2021 Summer night, M took her own life.
Since, this tragedy paces in the back of my mind. Last year, the very next day after talking to M’s mother, I reconnected with St. A whirlwind of events followed, and now that I’ve settled in my new life, deeper emotions are emerging. Because I suffered more regularly, and more severely from depression, I technically should have been more at risk of suicide. Ideation was present throughout my life, more intensely in my youth, but a clear choice on staying alive in my thirties has put to rest this issue. I still mentally suffer a lot during downs, but I chose to push through the pain.
On this second meeting with M’s mother, she opened up on her own mental health struggles. After living for two decades in an emotional hostage situation with her daughter, she had to witness in person the passing of her child as she hanged in front of her lifeless. It was M’s boyfriend that found her in the basement of the multi-generational house. He came upstairs, and cried for help, but it was too late, and M’s parents could only try to revive her in vain.
M’s mom lived the absolute worst nightmare of a mother. She slowly witnessed the self-destruction of her child, helpless as her daughter refused treatment. Incapable to bring any reason to her since M was intensely defiant. I walked away from that friendship for those very reasons. It was agonising to watch someone with loving caring parents, great friends, amazing talent, great career success, and great physical health slowly self-destruct with toxic relationships, and drugs. I had to console her time and time again, while she refused any of my advice or help. M also had a child that ended up with no mother, and a dysfunctional father. M’s daughter is under the legal care of her grandmother, but the legal battle to obtain custody was another trauma for the family.
Really, what M’s mother lived is atrocious. Obviously, she’s been seeing a psychologist since, and has been under medication for depression, and PTSD. Her healing is difficult, understandably. In our conversation, I did openly talk of my mental illness, and she felt relieved that I too, had to take medication ongoingly for the rest of my life. She also felt at ease to reveal that all M’s closest friends had mental health issues, me included. I conquered. M only revealed her demons to those she felt wouldn’t abandon or judge her.
M and I had a lot in common, we were best friends for a long time. The difference is that I proactively tried to improve my life. I was stubborn, and didn’t think I was suffering from mental illness for many years. My understanding of psychology was very tinted by my mother’s views. I was “normal”. Luckily, in my many personal growth explorations I came to realise that there was something wrong with me, and I needed help. That’s what eventually split us apart, M and I: I didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes over, and over.
I will be reaching out to M’s mother more regularly. In the past, I enjoyed having conversations with her. She’s a wonderful woman with a rich life experience. Her compassion, and kindness amazed me, and still does today. I hope we can bring each other support for what we lived. Having both been emotional hostages of M, and having a deep understanding of who she was, we can share our experiences. Mine is at a lesser degree, but close enough to be able to fully empathise with M’s mom. Maybe we could build an ongoing friendship over time. Tragedies do bring people closer together.