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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Holly's story

My baby sister was born February 14, 1975 to a middle class Cape Cod family. We didn't grow up with an abundance but we had the beach and life was safe. She loved and looked up to me and I can remmeber trying to get her to leave me and my friends alone during the summer months. I wish now that I had not been so selfish. I think this is why it bothers me terribly now when my kids are not getting along. She was the baby of the family and was considered the baby for years. I remember the day I yelled at mum asking when she would no longer be the baby anymore. I just did not understand motherhood or the feelings associated with the last child. I do now. When I think about it, she was my baby too. I would often get up and change her in the morning, playing until mum woke. Yes, she was the baby.

Like all babies, she grew and grew. The funniest memory I have was when Heather and I tried to tackle her and she has us both pinned. We were both laughing so hard we could not fight back. This was when we reached our teens and although I am 6 years older, we all became great friends. God, I miss that time. I moved out and had two babies. Holly was always there, babysitting, and being a companion to me--she was my best friend. But I went away to school and she went away for drinking--when she came home, she hated me. I am sure there is much more to it but we were never close again. Marriages followed and then her divorce from the love of her life. He was relentless in torturing her, taking her into court at least 11 times to take her kids from her. The day before he was to succeed, she hung herself. Sadly, not even a year had passed since she found her new husband hanging in the garage three weeks after they married. I now know one person every 13 minutes dies from suicide and there are 8-25 attempts per death. Staggering.

I found out she was gone by those very words uttered by my husband. "Heidi, Holly is gone." Since she had four previous attemtps since the death of her husband, my brain clicked to rapid realization. I wish there was some confusion and it was really a mistake. Depression is rampant in my family as is alcohol abuse. Coupled they are lethal. Having barely survived an attempt on my own life I have just realized this is when she started hating me. The pain of the one that wants to die is far reaching and so many are affected. How have I survived the death of my sister when there was so much unfinished between us? I blog. I research. I try to involve myself in support groups but I am not there yet. I have to deal with this pain doing what I am doing now. And I cry. I cry for what is lost and I cry for what could have been. Always maudlin and dealing with her birthday yesterday makes me very vulnerable right now. I don't share the pain enough, I suppose and I thought I was doing well. Today, not so much. I am grieveing and it is a process. Next will be activism.

You are missed, dear sister.



***** This is a post to be submstted for publication. Anything found in error, please let me know




Facts About Suicide and Depression
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the year 2010.

General

Over 38,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
In 2010 (latest available data), there were 38,364 reported suicide deaths.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years in the United States.
Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
A person dies by suicide about every 13.7 minutes in the United States.
Every day, approximately 105 Americans take their own life.
Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.
There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for every suicide death.