I'm hurting and I'm angry. Why did you throw it all away?
(In the mountains)
They say, "Don't speak ill of the dead." "They say, "She's not here to defend herself now." But it's your own doing that you're not here. And I need to talk. So I'm finally talking. I'll leave names out, for the sake of the kids' privacy. But I'm talking this through, now, lumps and all. For my own sake.
You were my friend, once. You had it all - loving husband, two young daughters, big old house out in the country, acres of property. But you were in denial about having issues, and you were using marijuana; float off in a mellow haze and avoid looking at what was stressing you. Why did you do something that threw away all the good that you had? Because you got into that car one day and killed yourself. And I saw it coming, but nothing I tried, and I tried a lot, would get you to quit driving that way.
I never knew what caused your recklessness. The weed? Something emotional? It's too late to find out why, now. But this is what: Although physically you were in your 30s, it's like you were an eternal teenager - locked into a stage of defiance and permanent rebellion. You expressed that with your crazy driving - pulling out to pass when there was no room, and scaring other drivers badly with your close scrapes. You seemed to get a thrill out of the risk. You loved the rush of acceleration. It got so I refused to ride with you any more. And I told you up front, I would not keep any secrets for you that risked someone else's safety.
"Oh, I want to change!" you said. "Help me!" So I did - found out about treatment programs and support groups. Offered to drive you there, and bring you back. But you didn't really want to change, did you? You wouldn't work any of the programs. You talked about changing, but you kept on doing the same dangerous things with that car.
One day, you were driving crazy like that with your 2 kids and a friend's kid in the car. It is very much against my beliefs to put kids at risk of harm. I told the friend about how you were driving, for the sake of her daughter, and I told your husband about it, for the sake of your own two kids. You and your women friends were furious with me for "ratting to the patriarchy" - meaning your husband. I said, "They're his kids too. He needs to know, so he can keep them safe."
My bottom line is this - kids are our future. I cannot cover up for you if what you are doing could hurt them. And I'd told you that from the start. Those actions of yours had to change.
We had such a bad fight about this - you physically assaulted me, grabbing me so hard that you left bruises on my arms, even though I had on my heavy winter coat. And your judgment was so poor, you dragged your six year old along into that fight. You're screaming and shaking me and I'm fighting my way loose, and calling the cops, and she's standing in the doorway shivering, saying, "Mommy, can we go now? Mommy, can we go now?" Heaven help your kids. Because you did wrong by them.
Yes, you're dead. And I still have to say that - you did wrong. What kind of a memory of you is that, to leave your daughter with? It's terrible!
I could not deal with that, so I left the community and moved west of there.
Before going, I talked with your husband. He wanted to get you into therapy, but also keep it quiet, "because of our standing in the community." I told him, "Covering this up will not solve the problem. If she doesn't make some changes soon, some day she'll do something so damaging that you won't be able to hide it any more. And what will happen to your standing in the community then?" I also urged him to become the primary driver for the kids, instead of you.
He was never comfortable with confrontations. So he tried to hush it all up. He wanted so desperately to believe you, when you said you'd change. So he believed your words, and denied what his eyes were seeing.
And you bailed out of the therapy after that time too, didn't you? Yeah, I heard about that.
Why did you have to go and make me right? Why did you brush off the therapy and go back to speeding again?
Why, oh why, did you barrel into the opposite lane, on a 2 lane road in the mountains, with no room to dodge?
The poor guy in the truck did his utmost to try to miss you. He managed not to hit your 16 year old passenger. But he did hit you.
You died on the side of that road, with your head in your teenage passenger's lap. It wasn't bad enough that your risk taking took your own life. The guy in the truck was in his own lane! You were the one entirely at fault in this! And yet he is stuck with the pain of being involved in your death, for the rest of his life.
And I hate to think about what that teenage friend goes through every night now, when she tries to sleep, after watching you die in her lap.
Your kids have no Mom now. Your husband has no wife. Your place in the community is empty. And it is all your own doing.
The one thing I am grateful for is that your daughters were not with you in the car that day. It's a damn shame that the teenage neighbor was. Heaven bless her, may she heal somehow, and the poor guy in the truck, too.
Blast it all, why did you throw it all away? You even threw away yourself! It's such a horrible waste.
I tried everything I could think of. My therapist says I did my best. She tells me that sometimes we can be doing all the right things, and the person we care about will still go ahead and kill herself. And you did.
I was angry at you for a long time. None of us deserved the grief you dropped us into, with that crash. You acted like a stupid, immature, frustrating idiot. And look where it got us all! Missing you, that's where.
It does not give me any satisfaction to be right about what you were doing. I would give up big significant things from my life if that tragedy could have been prevented. But life does not work that way.
Yeah, we had a fight. Yeah, I never wanted to see you again, at that time. But I didn't want you to be dead, either.
And now, I never will see you again. And despite everything - I miss you.
Despite everything, I wish that your soul may find peace now. And I hope to work my own way through to some peace, too.
It's complicated. So that's why I needed to talk. This feels like a good place to do that.