The following was written by Mary Deem, 19, of Huntersville, in response to reports that two Lake Norman-area teenaged girls had recently taken their own life.
I wish I had known. I wish I had known that you hurt so badly. I would’ve told you that I know that pain, I know that ache.
I know what it feels like to have everything in you scream that you don’t belong to this world. I know how it feels to give up.
I would have told you that, when I was 17, I wanted to die, and I tried to make it so. I would have told you that I swallowed as many pills as I could, that I took so much, so much because I didn’t want to feel this anymore, I didn’t want to have to fight for every day. I was so tired. I know you were so tired.
I would have told you how scared I was that I would die alone, how I felt my body giving up as it absorbed the drugs. I called my mom on her cell phone, even though she was right down the hall. I needed her there. I didn’t want to be alone.
I would have told you about her face when I told her what I had done. I would have told you about the mix of confusion and fear and hurt in her eyes as she asked me the details. She called my dad into my room — terrified but her composure still intact — and asked him to take me to the bathroom. She wanted me to try and get it out, all of that evilness I had put inside me.
I would have told you about how my dad cried out when I tried to walk out of my room. I would have told you how that cry echoes in my mind every day, about the way my legs were like jelly and I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t move, my body was ready to go, it was just my mind still fighting.
I would have told you about the way my dad picked me up, carrying me like I was still the infant he held in his arms years ago, his baby girl; how he carried me to the car. I would have told you how I felt him shaking, just as much as I was, just as scared as I was.
They put me in the car, my mother crawling in the back seat behind me and my dad driving, driving to save me. I would have told you about my mom putting her fingers on my neck, about how she kept them there, just to make sure that my heart was still beating inside me, that her heart was still beating.
I would’ve told you about the bright whiteness of the hospital, me again in my father’s arms. People everywhere, questions and questions and monitors and my mother’s face, your mother’sface. So scared and so hurt, because a part of her would die, too. A part of her had died.
I would’ve told you about how my memory goes away here and how the next two days are something you will never know of, except in stories.
I would’ve told you about waking up in a different hospital, of being restrained because I was fighting, fighting so hard for my life and fighting the demons that played in my head.
I would have told you about the first image I remember seeing when I woke up. My family, my beautiful family, bent over my bed, asking if I knew where I was. I would have told you how happy I felt to not have died, to see the people I love so much in front of me.
I would have told you how grateful I felt to have made it through the night, to be able to wake up again. I would’ve told you about the tree that stood outside my window in the hospital, the only thing I could see. I would have told you that it was barren and leafless. It was lonely and sad, just like me, that tree.
I would have told you that on the day I got out of the hospital, as I walked out into the sunshine, that tree, that sad little tree, had blooms. Blooms that rained petals down on the ground and that smelled like life, like another day. I would have told you about the uphill battle back into the everyday world, about the fight that I still had to fight every day against my sadness and loneliness.
I would have told you about how, with counseling and the support of my family, it was a little easier, a little less hopeless every day. I would’ve told you about that thought in the back of my head — every time I felt the wind on my face, every time I kissed my puppy, as I watched my sister walk down the aisle at her wedding— that I almost gave this up.
I was so ready to die, so ready to never live again, and then I was so ready to live, to feel the things I knew I deserved to feel.
I would have told you about happiness. I would have told you what it feels like to know the value of each day, to love this life even if it knocks me down. I would have told you about me now, about how incredible I feel every day, about knowing that even though it hurts so badly sometimes, it does get better.
I got better.
I would have told you that you have hope. I would have told you I could be your hope. I would have told you that the people around you would miss you, that their hearts would break when you left, that they would never be the same.
I would have told you that the world keeps turning, things keep changing, and this, too, shall pass. I would have told you that you deserve to live, that you deserve to feel what I feel. I would have told you how beautiful you are, and how much you have to look forward to. I would have told you that you are worth the fight.
I wish I had known.
I wish I had known that you hurt so badly …
… because I would have told you.