I spent this afternoon organizing a lot of old cards and letters that have been given to me over the years from family and friends. While organizing, I re-read a lot of the messages and was brought to tears. Some messages were for congratulations and thanks, while others were for birthdays and Christmases where my friends had realized exactly how long our friendships have lasted. My longest friendships have endured for over 16 years now. That’s how long it’s been since Ed first tried to end his life.
No one in my circle of friends knows me pre Ed’s first attempt. You could even say that no one in my family ever understood me pre Ed’s attempt and post. Yet somehow, I’ve managed to keep most of my thoughts around his and our family’s situation at bay and wear this mask as though I have always had it together. Then I’m sure people think, wow, it must be hard to go through something so difficult like this now. The truth is that it’s been difficult for over 16 years, and no one else has realized how difficult it has been until he decided to leave us in the dramatic way that he did. No one else will ever really know the full truth, and frankly, most people probably don’t want to know. No one enjoys pain.
I also found the gift note that Ed wrote when he had flowers delivered for my 21st birthday. “Yvonne, Happy 21st birthday! You’re officially an adult now. -Ed.” He always was a man of few words.