For Jo

Chris Barber Photography

February 25, 2014

jo by chris barber

This isn’t something I ever thought I’d write about on this blog. In fact I toyed with the idea of whether or not I should actually post this for ages. But instead of trying to think about it too much I just started typing to see where it would go… writing is cathartic for me and I really just felt like I wanted to get this all out of my head. I’d decide whether to publish it or not later.

On Sunday, my friend Jo committed suicide.

Just writing those words feels unreal, like I’m in some kind of dream world or alternate reality. Dealing with death is fucking hard, dealing with death when someone has taken their own life is utterly devastating. There are just so many unanswered questions.

But I’m not writing this because I want any kind of “Oh I hope you’re OK” comments. As much as I appreciate them this is not about me. It’s about a far from being about me as anything I’ve ever written.

Jo suffered from depression. I knew she had low self esteem, and we’d spoken about it many times, but I really genuinely didn’t know how rough it was for her. And that makes me feel terrible. Like I was a totally awful friend for not knowing more, doing more, asking more.

I keep going over all our conversations in my head, wondering if I could have done anything differently or said something more helpful. I feel so guilty.

I wanted to write this today to try, in whatever small way I can, to reach out to any of you that might also be suffering. I want to encourage you to talk to people, and to never give up. Life is precious, life is short, life is worth fighting for.

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Depression is not some kind of comfort blanket that you need to hold on to. It does not define you. Life is so amazing when you finally fight to save yourself, when you come out the other side.

You have┬ápeople that love and care for you. However low you feel, you are never alone. I don’t know if Jo knew how much I, and so many of her other friends, loved her. She was the life and soul of us and we just can’t believe she’s gone, that we’re never going to hear that laugh of hers again.

There was a time when I wanted to end it all too. When I tried, and failed, to take my own life. I am thankful everyday that I was unsuccessful. You never know what’s waiting for you just around the corner.

If I can help just one person with these words, then goodness, it’s been a worthwhile thing to publish. I know not everyone will be wanting or expecting to read this on a wedding blog, and I hope you’ll forgive my deviation from my regularly scheduled programming today, but this is something I just had to write.

To Chris, her boyfriend, and to all her close friends and family, my endless love and support is with you now and forever. I wish I could do more to help but all I can say is that I’m thinking of you all and sending as much love as I possibly can.

Jo, you were the most beautiful creature. I wish I could have done more.

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