I remember the first time I met Vicki. We were assigned to share a computer in science class, and we began writing notes back and forth on our computer. She was in two of my classes, and we often walked to class together. As time went by, we hung out together at school and became pretty good friends.
One day Vicki (not her real name) told me she had a few problems that she didn't tell many people about. They included alcohol abuse and smoking. Her brother was in trouble with the law and tended to get her in trouble too. She never tried to influence me to do the things she was doing, and I respected her for that. I think she really didn't like her dysfunctional family life and didn't want to do some of the things she did.
The day she told me about the trouble she was in, she seemed afraid to confide in me, but it seemed she needed to talk to someone about it. It was hard to believe that such a sweet girl with such a pleasant and easy-to-like personality could get herself into so much trouble.
I know her family life played a big part in her problems. Vicki's parents divorced when she was 3. She lived with her dad, but they didn't get along. She said she missed her mother. Her home life was anything but happy. To me she seemed more like a victim, not a culprit.
14 is too young
As time passed, we remained friends, but I sort of forgot about what she had told me because she never talked about it again.
Then, when I came back to school after spring break, I heard the horrible news. Vicki had committed suicide.
At first I thought the story about her death was some kind of cruel joke that couldn't possibly be true. I didn't want to believe it even when our science teacher announced her death to the class.
I could think of nothing else for the rest of the day. My friend Vicki was dead. Fourteen is too young to die.
Rumors began to fly, some true, some not. Questions remain unanswered that even Vicki's suicide note couldn't explain. Some evidence seemed to indicate that she had changed her mind about committing suicide but too late to save herself. Maybe her actions were only a desperate cry for help, and now it was too late.
For the next few days, all kinds of questions raced through my mind. Why did she do it? Was Vicki's life so unbearable that she saw no other way out of her problems? Maybe I should have talked to her more. Was there something I could have done?
All my life I had taken my friends for granted. I had never known what it was like to lose one. Dealing with the loss of a friend is almost unbearable, as is coping with the feelings of denial, blame and fear. Sometimes I still blame myself. Could I have called someone or taken some other action? Those feelings just won't go away.
I've talked to people about Vicki's suicide: my friends and especially my parents. Although they have helped me to see that Vicki's death was not my fault, it still hurts.
Needed to talk
Talking to my parents and surrounding myself with my friends has helped me the most, but sometimes I can't help feeling that tomorrow I may lose another friend.
I ask myself if there is anything in my friendship with Vicki I could have done differently. Could I have spent more time with her or maybe talked to her about her problems? I should have advised her to talk to a counselor at school since she couldn't talk to her father.
But, even through the pain of losing my friend, my parents have helped me see that there is a brighter day ahead for Vicki. I look forward to the time when there will be a resurrection of the dead, to a time when I can be there to help Vicki overcome her problems in a world that will be free of the pain of today's society.
I'm glad Vicki-and numerous others whose lives were cut off prematurely-will live again in a much happier time.
I've learned one things for sure from this experience: Don't take your friends for granted. You never know when they might be gone.