Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Keep Fighting.

I lost a friend over the weekend. Her death is hitting me harder than I might have imagined. I hadn't seen her in person since probably 1999, but we were in a lot of activities together in high school and sat next to each other in a few classes, and we'd reconnected on facebook in recent years. She was brilliant and hilarious and totally marched to the beat of her own drum. She also openly battled depression and addiction, and had recently gotten out of a decade-long abusive marriage to a narcissist. No one has all of the facts, but according to posts from those closest to her, she was found unresponsive last week and taken off life support on Friday.

She was one of the strongest people I'd ever met. The things she'd been through were things I can't even imagine, and she was a survivor in the truest sense of the word. Her vulnerability and openness inspired everyone around her to open up to her and share our secrets.

I realized tonight that that's why her passing is weighing on me so heavily: Emily was the first person I told about the darkness inside my marriage. She had been posting things on facebook a few years back about dealing with her husband's abuse and the depression she felt as a result, and I messaged her privately to say "I'm dealing with the same and also trying to figure out how to leave." I hadn't told anyone up to that point. Even my family and very best friends didn't know how bad things were. But I confided in Emily because she was there, too. I wanted her to know she wasn't alone, and her willingness to share made me realize that I might not be alone, either.

Because she allowed me to share what I was afraid to admit, even to myself, she helped spur me to action. I knew once I told her that I had to do something about my marriage. Even after I messaged her, I stayed in my marriage, trying to fix it, for another year. My messages to her held me accountable to myself. I kept thinking back to how I'd told someone how bad it was, and yet here I was, still in it.

I eventually got out. She did, too, in January of this year, and I was so proud of her. I felt like we were part of a club that only those who'd also been through it could understand. I was convinced that life was going to get better for her, and she just needed to sit with the pain, breathe and cry through it and keep healing. She won custody and moved into her own house with her two young boys, she'd just gotten a new job--I thought that things were finally on the upswing and I was so happy for her. But instead, we lost a beautiful, talented, loving, witty, brilliant member of the club.

Emily allowed us all to be our truest selves. She never judged, because no matter what it was, she'd been there, and even if she hadn't, she had empathy. She epitomized what I think is all of our mission in life: to share openly and vulnerably and to help others realize that they are not alone.

Thank you for holding a space for me, beautiful. You helped me get out of my marriage, more than I even realized until tonight. I'd like to think I helped you, too, but I don't think I did enough. I wish I could have done more. Your light went out way too soon, but I hope that your two gorgeous sons grow up to be just like you.

To anyone reading this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many of us have been through it. Your life makes a difference. Keep fighting.


  1. Omg, I'm crying! You have no idea how this resonates with me. I havent actually seen her for 10 years, but somehow now i feel so alone. From talking to everyone since her death im realizing so many people reached out to her for help, but she didnt reach out herself. I wish i would have done more, realized more, reached out for her. Let's remember to always be strong together. I know I won't be as much help as Emily, but you can message me anytime. ♡

  2. Emily also helped me through a really rough time a few months ago and was there for me even thought we hadn't seen each other in years.. I didn't realize I would be so affected by her passing but I think about her often. She had a true impact on everyone she came across ��

  3. Big hugs to you both, Elle and Elise. Em made a huge impact on everyone she met. And I had a dream with her in it the other night...she was wearing a pink camo jumpsuit and rocking it (unfortunately that's all I remember). <3