The tears had run dry. The months of torture, grief – pain that was so deep – she ceased to function as a woman and a mother. She ached every day over the loss of her son, Eric. She did stop crying – eventually – but then only to spend countless hours staring into space; often pulling out her most treasured photo of him and remembering what a wonderful boy he was. 19, so young, it had become her mantra.
When her best friend told her she needed something to do, other than what she couldn’t change, she was adamant that she couldn’t; that she herself might need a way out. Then Debbie insisted that she meet with Steve, because Steve had also been down that same road and had created a helpful path to assist with recovery. Debbie was sure that Steve could pull Jackie up.
A year after Eric’s suicide, Debbie came over with biscuits and to make coffee – as she always did on a Saturday morning. “Honey, it’s time. I know you’re going to say no, but please listen. I love you like a sister, we’ve been friends far too long for me to leave you like this. I’ve arranged for Steve to come over and talk to you…” Jackie cut her off. She shook her head and her tangled, blonde hair, reminded Debbie that her insistence was necessary. “I can’t, you don’t understand it. You don’t know.”
Debbie nodded and conceded that she didn’t know; she couldn’t know. But she did know that Jackie needed help.
When Steve arrived an hour later, Jackie was frosty and barely acknowledged him to begin with. Steve was accustomed to this; he’d seen it too many times in past years.
“I know exactly what you’re going through Jackie, I’ve been there. I lost my partner – John – for similar reasons, though he was a little older. I miss him every day. The best way I can help myself is to help others to avoid the same fate. That’s why I started ‘Life-Line’. We save so many; it makes it easier to move forward. We still lose some, but in some ways, that adds to the healing process. Join us, we could use you.”
Something in the way Steve, a 40-something and good looking man spoke to her heart, made her listen. After much discussion and what felt to her like an intervention, she finally agreed. She would join the group and try and save as many as she could.
Within months, Jackie realised that both Debbie and Steve had been right; the healing process was tenfold.
She could never forget Eric, but if she saved others, then she had a reason to live.