Loss and Lesson…
“ENABLING IS a heavy responsibility,” she said aloud to herself in her apartment that now seemed uncomfortable with the realization of her acknowledgement.
An acknowledgement whose imprint upended her world, the world she thought she’d made impervious to the many ‘dangers’ that oftentimes cloak themselves in facades.
Knowing that she could not stay in her room, her home, much longer, she left in a daze.
At just 26, Leah Isaacs had accomplished much more than others her age.
She was a writer for an esteemed magazine, ‘Explore’, and was up for a promotion to assistant editor.
She owned an apartment in a good part of town, which placed her close to work, and she had a great social life.
Added to that, she was a petite beauty, and was proud of the chic dress sense she boasted, something for which she was always complimented.
She was what anyone would call happy.
But was she?
“Hmm!” she sighed, as she continued walking away from her apartment building towards no particular direction.
She sighed again, recalling that it was this very question that pushed her into accepting the challenge that sought to change her ‘safe’ view of life.
“Cynicism is easy, but developing confidence in another is an entirely differently ballgame.”
That was what she was once told, and the question of whether or not she was truly happy was pushed to the forefront of her mind for serious contemplation.
This was the very question that incited her to try a new outlook, to make a change, to open life to a new friend.
The same friend that had breezed her way into Leah’s life, annoyingly at first, with her cheeriness, then slowly, bit by bit, endearingly.
The same ‘friend’ that today turned her world topsy-turvy with one smooth, quick blow.
Melissa Garraway was a whirlwind that created a ruckus (in a good way) everywhere she went, and it was no different when she started working with ‘Explore’.
She was a 21-year-old whirling dervish that enamored everyone who crossed her path with the uncanny panache she possessed.
However, despite the age difference between them, after some time, Leah and Melissa became each other’s confidante.
Leah, the precocious one with a kind of candor that made people stay out of her way, and Melissa, a mix of everything, from thoughtful and loud-mouthed to eccentric and impossible.
Yet, they had fast become friends.
They were independent of each other, could function without the other, yet there was a certain something in their friendship that made them undividable.
And so they continued, each looking out for the other as each built and absorbed a little something from the other’s strength.
Where Melissa was too naïve, Leah showed her reason, and taught her to be more practical.
And likewise, where Leah was too practical, unwilling to see the good that was there, Melissa opened up a new world to her.
They both gave as much as they took from that friendship, and things went along just fine.
Until, the demons of the past ghosted their way to the present.
“…I think about choosing never to wake up from my dream but that is what my reality is. It is but a dream or should I call it a fantastic fantasy. But then it hits me and I know that I must rise from this surreal milieu. Yet, my feet drag because I know my actions will throw those close to me into a nightmare of suffering….”
These were the words that Leah read from Melissa’s journal, which she found by her door, a tiny bulge in an oversized paper bag, one morning.
The same Saturday morning that Melissa had gone missing.
Leah had gone frantic and for months, there had been no leads that the authorities could follow.
It was as if she’d fallen off the planet or something.
And in that time, Leah was slowly making her way back into a black whole that was nothing but void.
Her world that was filled with faces and laughter and fun, yes, but void because when she went to bed at nights, there was an emptiness that hung over her.
And then it came.
The telephone rang, another Saturday morning, five months to the date since Melissa had gone missing.
“Hello, Ms. Isaacs,” came a cold voice from the other end.
“Yes, this is she.”
“Hello, miss, this is Sergeant Jacobs, and I am afraid I called to tell you that we found your friend. She is dead. She overdosed herself on morphine at a small mental facility in the countryside that she apparently checked into. She was a depression case, it seems. I am sorry,” and the line went dead.
His words, brutally frank, swam around in her mind, not making sense for a while but, along with those words swam another few.
“…I have problems; maybe I should get checked into a psych ward. It won’t be the first time, but maybe this time they can cure me. My meds are not working as well as they used to. I need more to numb the pain. I want to be happy, but the pain is too much. The strain of having to live is too much to bear at times. But at least I have found my own ‘morphine’, my friend, Leah, who has enabled me to live through the pain. I have her now, so the meds can wait. I just hope I can hold on long enough. No one knows of my mental illness, and no one ever will….”
“Enabling is a heavy responsibility,” Leah repeated as she sat down on a bench that was placed along the path she paced.
Leah blamed herself a little, thinking that maybe if she and Melissa had stayed out of each other’s life, things might have been different.
But would she have really been better if she had not seen the world that Melissa showed her.
The innocent outlook that would make your heart break at a child’s tear, or cause you to smile at the old couple still holding hands after decades of being together.
Melissa had taught her that human nature is as such that one should not make assumptions because of the few wrongs that have been thrown your way.
People are bad, yes, but they are just as good.
“Lies, lies, all lies!” Leah shouted at the empty air.
And the tears began to trickle their way down her cheeks while she resolved to return to the existence that was not so painful. The existence that was empty, yes, but at least her heart would not be breaking for the best friend she had loved and lost.
Loss, a powerful word, and an even more powerful feeling.
And in that moment, Leah’s firm resolve undid many a thing both she and Melissa had worked hard to bring to light.
They were always there, Leah’s heart that was as big as the ocean, and her passion that would fill the air and her ability to love; something that was hidden because of the fear of hurt.
“Melissa,” Leah whispered.
It was sad.
More so, because Leah never looked back at Melissa’s journal.
If only she had continued reading, she would have seen that in the very journal, her friend bared her soul, showing her that everyone was imperfect and everyone had flaws but life could be managed.
While managing for Melissa was complicated by her sever depression, life was manageable and more than ever Melissa fought to do just that.
But her disease overcame her.
Yet, that was not reason enough to give up on humanity or even reason enough to give up on the emotions that make up who we are; love, loss, pain, comfort, fear, strength, courage, success, failure; it all makes us who we are.
“…I have issues as everyone does, maybe a tad bit more, but I choose to present a happy effect for those I meet because mulling over what I cannot change will do me no good. So instead I pray for the strength to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and knowledge to know the difference….”
You must learn day by day
Year by year, to broaden your horizons.
The more things you love,
The more you are interested in,
The more you enjoy,
The more you are indignant about-
The more you have when anything happens,
The more you have when Life, happens. (Anonymous)