‘I woke up with a numb pain in my chest, as memories flooded into my conscious mind, the pain intensified. Now, a stinging pain, like daggers. I say that but I wouldn’t know what daggers stabbed into the chest actually feel like. It feels bad enough anyway, daggers or not. I wondered how I’d always known this was not physically concerning. How did I know that this was anxiety and if I waited it out it would eventually pass? Now that I see it all, I realise how much of it all was anxiety, the stomach pains, the body aches, the twitching, the hypnotic jerks, the panic attacks.
Painful memories have been revisiting me in my dreams, triggering many other memories to resurface in my awake, conscious mind. I know this is all a process, I have much healing to do. I will get there but in the meantime, night sweats and stinging chest pain, pervasive thoughts and negative self-beliefs are omnipresent. I have learnt to sweep them aside during parts of the day, urging them to reappear in the helpless state of sleep, tricking my mind into dealing with these memories I don’t want to remember anymore.
The mind knows what it needs to heal and it tries so hard to find its way. I am grateful it has stayed true to me, always whispered words of courage quietly but consistently against the raging voices of inadequacy and insecurity. I am also thankful, I listened to this voice. Now I need to strengthen it, pay more attention to it, listen more carefully.’
The journal entry ends. She seemed to be recovering then, things seem better, then what happenned? She had been missing for 3 weeks, nobody knew where she was, her parents were terrified, her partner seemed to think it was a trick she was playing to annoy him. He didn’t seem worried. She’ll come back, she’s lived all over the world in conflict zones this woman. She probably just wanted a break and everyone looking for her must be amusing her wherever she is. Its just like her to not care about us, he said. She’s always been that way. Just thinking of herself. Nothing could happen to her here in Canada. He said.
They had moved to Canada about a year ago. She was working as a psychologist in a school. She had been thrilled about that, she sounded excited, she was back in her happy place, she said. I had spoken to her on the phone a day before she disappeared. She had sounded distant. Are the demons back to haunt you? I asked her. No, no, I am fine. Just had a bad day at school. One of the kids I work with is being asked to leave. I have only started working with him, he’s wonderful but they won’t give him another chance. She said.
I knew this upset her deeply, but she swept it aside and said, tell me how are you? How is the book coming along? I said I was getting tired of my editor and just wanted to abandon it all. NO! she said vehemently, it’s a book that deserves to be out there, so many people need to read it, she said. It validates so much that is denied to women as their experience. Keep at it! You’ll get there. She said.
I had flown in from LA yesterday, to try to help find her. I reached their apartment and looked for her journal right away. I would never do this in any other circumstance T but you keep so much of your suffering to yourself, I just had to. There was nothing in it. She had not come back from school one day, three weeks ago. For the first 48 hours her partner didn’t even report it to the police. She’ll be back he had said carelessly. The police had been notified since, they were searching for her.
I sat in her room, surrounded by her art, her books and notes from children all over the world, saying good bye and We’ll miss you. Tears flowed down my cheeks. I knew what had happened. I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I knew she was gone. Our beloved T, she left this world that had always seemed unfair to her, that had never treated her right, though she’d probably say its only because she needed to be a better person. If she’d left a note, she’d probably have said how she could not get herself to be a better person anymore, so she didn’t see any other choice but to leave for good. She’d left quietly, no note, no phone call, no cry for help at all!
I woke up to the phone ringing. I opened my eyes and squinted at the sunlight streaming into the window. It had stopped snowing, it was all blue sky and bright sunshine. I reached for the phone. It was the police. Some picnickers had found her body when they were swimming in the lake. We had to go over to the police station to sign some papers and we coukd take her back with us. I hung up and sunk into her chair. T, you could have called me. Hell! You could have come to see me in LA instead. I sobbed uncontrollably. I was angry, the sun was shining, it was a horrible day. For me. But I hope she was in peace.