Friday, August 16, 2013

My Friend Bonnie

Bonnie was an older woman that I was friends with back when I lived on the East Coast. She had some eating disorders and was very, very thin.  Many of the other neighbors on our street really didn't talk to her because of the way she looked and acted.  She was extremely introverted. Bonnie didn't have a husband/significant other or any children. She had few friends on our street, basically myself and a neighbor I'll call "T."  Bonnie and I used to walk at a park near our neighborhood.  We walked for a few years and got to know each other pretty well and shared quite a bit.  One day when we were supposed to be getting together, she didn't show up.  I noticed that the windows were open at her house and given that she was so private, I decided to ask her through her window if everything was okay. She answered back that she was fine, so I took her at her word.  When another day or two went by and I still hadn't seen or heard from her, I alerted her neighbor "T" and told him that we should investigate to make sure she was okay.  We decided since we didn't 100% know for sure what was going on, he and I decided to call the police.  They came and went into her townhouse for a bit and then came back out.  When they came out, I asked them if she was in there.  They responded, "yes."  I then asked, "is she okay?"  They responded back with "no, she isn't."  Sadly, she had taken her own life. I was stunned.  I had absolutely no idea, talk about the guilt.  The policemen wanted to talk to both "T" and I since we were the last ones to see her before she passed away.  I remember taking Lauren to another neighbor's house, because she was very young and didn't really need to hear all that the policeman and I were going to be talking about. A week or so later after she died, her family came to town to clean out her house and get it ready to sell.  One evening, they showed up at my front door and wanted to talk to me.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  They kept asking me if I had any indication that she would do something like she did.  It was so sad.  I was unable to attend her services because they were not local. Even to this day, a part of me still feels guilty. How could I have not known? how come I didn't do more?  It is something I don't think I will ever get over. I think about Bonnie's family and how they are doing. The only way I have found to cope with the guilt has been to say a special prayer for her every week in church. My dear sweet friend Bonnie. You are gone, but not forgotten.

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