This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

An unexpected memorial

I just received one of those calls you just never want to recieve. It's one where you know immediately the news is not going to be good. You can hear it in the tone of voice. Sadness cannot shield itself from the ears, if you're listening, if you're aware. If I were present with this person, I would have seen it in her eyes. I wish it were not so.

This person was the daughter of a good friend of mine from when I first moved to Phoenix back in 1987, as a college student, finishing up my last semester with an internship. This woman was one of the first neighbors I met at our apartment complex. We quickly grew close, as close as a person will let you. Her daughter played with my daughter. We became companions and friends who kept in contact with each other off an on throughout these past years--except for in the last three or four. We lost touch, as friends sometimes do. I never stopped thinking about her, but I lost touch. And I never reconnected, even though I thought about it many times.

Now I won't have the opportunity. That opportunity is lost. My friend's daughter called to tell me her mom had committed suicide. She'd been hurting, she'd been in pain, she was bi-polar, my friend's daughter said. After all these years, I never knew that. I knew she'd lived with an illness for many years that kept her with very little energy. I knew she was in pain most of the time. And I knew she'd survived breast cancer. I knew all of that. But I never knew she was bi-polar. It wouldn't have made a difference. She was a woman with a big heart, just not big enough for herself. She is the woman I'll remember as being there for me as best she could. I knew that. She is the woman I'll remember as being the person who always was the first to send out her holiday greeting cards. For nearly 20 years, hers was always the first to arrive in my mailbox. Believe me, I noticed when they stopped. But, you know, I didn't call. I just accepted that she needed a break. She's also the woman I knew couldn't accept what she gave. There was a hesitancy when you reached out to hug her, and she didn't know how to ask you for anything. Maybe she thought you'd say no, but you wouldn't have, if given the chance.

There are a lot of should'ves I could be reciting right now. Her daughter and I spoke on the phone for as long as she could. It was hard. I'm numb. My friend kept a lot to herself. She revealed things that were painful, but only on the surface. She couldn't go deep enough. I know now that's because she didn't know herself well enough. She didn't trust herself well enough. She didn't have the strength, at least she wasn't aware that she did. Because she had all of what I speak about here at the BIKE blog. She was capable. She just didn't know. My friend is a good example of what happens when we're not aware of our gifts. We get lost. We get lost in the pain.

I've missed my friend these past years. But more importantly, like her daughter, I'm sorry I didn't know she needed more than just to be missed. A hug wouldn't have cured her depression, I know. Letting her talk wouldn't have been enough. She had issues with her parents that were never resolved. I couldn't have helped her with that. How do you reach a person to help them find a way to help themselves, to become whole, to fill the soul with the inner peace and love we all deserve. My BIKE helped me, of course, but I wasn't lost in the sense that I could never be found.

I feel like that's exactly what my friend was. She was lost and never had the chance to find herself. She never knew she could have found herself. If you know what it's like to feel like that even for an instant--and I do--but then to think what it would be like to feel this way all the time, with no end in sight, because you can't see it, that's the kind of pain I now realize my friend suffered daily.

If you believe in heaven, as I do, then you know that's where my friend is now, getting that love she never quite felt here. Not because the people around her were incapable of giving it, but because she was incapable of receiving it. Not because she didn't want to, but just because she didn't know how. Now, I can understand why she was so free to give me advice and to praise me. She did that all the time. I didn't need the praise, but she was free to give it. What she really needed, though, was to turn that praise around and bestow it on herself. I'd like to believe she's doing that now, that she's getting the love she's always deserved.

For us here on earth, that's something we'll have to believe. I don't want to think anything else.

So this is for you, Micki. I'm proud to have been your friend. I wish I could have been more.

There is love,


Beth Terry said...

Jackie - I'm so sorry for your loss. There are no words. The best advice I can give you is this: be there for the daughter. Don't allow people to wallow in the 'woulda coulda shoulda' conversation. Encourage them to tell funny stories and remember great, warm moments. None of us knows the pain of anyone else. And if someone refuses to share it, we can't blame ourselves.

Just make sure going forward that you hug the people you care about, check in with friends more often, and continue to be the amazing friend you are to all of us.

The only thing we can do for those who have gone on ahead of us is to live every day with joy, and use all the possibilities and potential we have to make the rest of our stay a good one.

Info said...

Jackie, your memorial to your friend is so moving. She sounds so giving that I am sure she would have appreciated that through you, her death somehow touched people she didn't even know and made us stop to think about our loved ones and how important it is to care for ourselves.


The BIKE Lady said...

Thank you, both of you.


Mimi Meredith said...

What a sad day for you, Jackie. My heart aches for you and Mickey's daughter. Suicide is often more difficult to process than a loss to cancer or a car accident because we think we could have intervened. Through shining the light on Mickey's life and your friendship, perhaps someone will recognize the warning signs in his or her own life and get help.

Peace to you,

Michelle Rafter said...

Jackie, I'm so sorry. I have never experienced anything like this, so I can't even say I understand what you're going through because I don't. Your words are a lasting memorial to your friend, however. And made me realize how important it is to put oneself out there for family and friends. You never know when you could make a difference, even a small one.

Michelle Rafter

Claudine M. Jalajas said...

This is so hard. I've been on the periphery of suicide a few times. It's terrible to think of the pain someone must be in to hurt themselves in that way, and yet, it's hardest on those left behind while they sit and wonder how they could have foreseen or prevented. Neither of which is always possible.

I hope you find peace with this. Claudine

The BIKE Lady said...

I will find peace, thank you all. It's my friend's daughter I'm worried about. It really was just the two of them. They just had each other. Years ago, Mick asked me to be the legal guardian for her daughter should something happen to her. Her daugher's of legal age now, so that's not an issue anymore. But it's crossed my mind a hundred times today.


Stanley said...


I had a similar event 5 years ago when I heard a former girlfriend committed suicide.

It is NOT an easy thing. Our thoughts are with you.

Stanley Bronstein

Bad Apple Polisher said...

Jackie, when I read this memorial, I could empathize with you. For several months, I had been thinking about a close friend whom I had not heard from for a year. After many attempts to reach her by email, I googled her name and found the usual references to her writings, but nothing more. For some reason, I googled her name again the next day, and her obituary came up. She had died three days earlier of pancreatic cancer! I was shocked. It hurt in the "pit of my stomach" for days. I had waited too long to try reaching her.