Today is National Suicide Awareness Day. It also marks the two year anniversary of the death of my cat Georgia. In one of those horrible cosmic twisty, timey-whimey moments, the two events overlap. My friend Brittany was the one to drive Georgia and I to the vet for that last visit. The following year, Brittany looked into the abyss and couldn’t walk away. The hurt was too much, and she killed herself.

Both losses were devastating in different ways. I miss both of them every day, and both of them have left lasting marks on my life. Two lessons are on my mind today.

  1. Don’t be afraid to love, full throttle, with both arms wrapped around that love. It doesn’t matter if it’s animal or human. Love hard, and love without the fear of being hurt. It’s amazingly worth it.
  2. Never be afraid to let someone know how much they mean to you. I made sure to tell Brittany how much I valued her friendship and presence in my life regularly. Suicide is complicated, and the reasons why someone decides to end things are varied. Once the decision is made, those around the suicide victim live with the lingering questions, the what ifs. I am eternally glad that my what if’s with Britt don’t include wondering if she knew that I loved her. In that moment, she may have not seen it, but I know I did everything I could to make sure she knew. That’s all I can do and I did my best.

Life isn’t lived in memes, tweets, or soundbites. Its a heck of a lot messier and harder on all of us. Don’t be afraid to get messy along the way.