Lizzie’s story…

Have you felt grief? Do you know what it feels like? It feels like a burning hot poker being driven slowly through your heart. It’s a thousand pinpricks in your eyeballs. A fire that rises in your throat as you scream uncontrollably.

Lizzie's story about grief and mental health. Grief is that burning hot anger. It feels like a burning hot poker being driven slowly through your heart. It's a thousand pinpricks in your eyeballs. A fire that rises in your throat as you scream uncontrollably.

On March 25, 2017, this is how my day started. And how my day will end. It’s the silence of a heart no longer beating, a hand not there to hold. There’s a hole in my heart, in my soul. My throat aches and my chest hurts. My best friend isn’t here to make me feel better.

Have you ever had a police officer show up at your home to tell you a loved one has died? I have. It’s painful. Almost a surreal dream. I’m still not sure I actually woke today, I feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare.

And then there are the people messaging me, saying “I know how you feel”.  And while you appreciate the sentiment you know that really, they don’t have a f-ing clue.

Grief is that burning hot anger. -Lizzie

The “why the hell has this happened?” The waves of pain that hit you randomly, like an ax in the shoulder, a knife to the heart. The wish of “why hadn’t I made him stay” like you could have stopped it from happening.

Grief is knowing that you will never get to tell someone you love them ever again, or hold their hand, or tell them to roll their window up because you’re cold. It’s knowing that you can never sing High School Musical songs in the car with him ever again, or watch him hold your son when your son’s asleep.

Grief is the loss of part of your being, the wish of being able to have that hug one last time, to hold him just a little while longer.

Grief is the relief of knowing the death was instant, that no pain was felt. Grief is the friend of death, an acquaintance of pain, and it knows forever.

He’ll always be gone but he’ll always be loved. He was everything to his friends, his family, and to me and Harvey. He was Harvey’s friend, step-dad. My best friend and partner in crime. My heart breaks knowing I’ll be burying my soulmate but I know now the only thing I can do is grieve for the man I knew and loved, and be there for his family. He will never be forgotten.

January 18, 2018… They say home is where the heart is, and by God, he will always be my home. It’s been 9 months, but it still feels like yesterday. I still want to text him, call him.

My heart feels empty.

Every night I climb into bed and pray to God to keep my son safe. I pray for Joe’s soul to be protected for eternity. I still cry. They say time is a healer. But is it?? I don’t feel like I’m healing at all.

Over Christmas, I lost another of my best friends to mental health. He was a happy-go-lucky kind-hearted soul, the life of the party.

When Joe died, it was Timmy who helped me most. He encouraged me to be free with my thoughts, open with my feelings and supported me through the nights where I felt like I couldn’t cope. He taught me the importance of platonic love; he cared for me through my darkest moments and never once took advantage, and to this day it’s my biggest regret I wasn’t able to return the favor. Unfortunately, when someone decides that they can’t breathe anymore, there isn’t anything anyone can do or say that will stop the sensation of drowning. Sometimes, they have the courage to speak up before it’s too late, but sadly for others, sometimes they just don’t feel the tidal wave coming.

And that’s why it was. A tidal wave took Timmy away from his family, his friends. His emotions.

It’s a common misconception to those with mental health issues that they are alone. The fact is, you are never alone. -Lizzie

There is always someone who loves you and will worship the ground you walk on. If any of us could have predicted this would happen, we’d have all been by his side. We would have made him know how loved he is, and how each of our lives would drastically change without him.

The sad part is, Timmy will never know that the church was packed full to the rafters of people mourning him. Thousands of tears were shed that day, by hundreds of people who knew and loved him. His graveside will never be empty; his name never forgotten. But he will never know how one-act, caused a tidal wave of emotion, has devastated hundreds of lives.

I know tonight, I tucked my son into bed, kissed him and cuddled him just a little bit more than usual. I took a moment to appreciate him just a little bit more. Losing two of my closest friends in 2017 has taught me that the world is cruel, but your heart can be kind. Joe and Timmy had the kindest hearts I’ve ever known. No matter what life threw at them.

So today as you get up out of bed, think to yourself, “How can I appreciate my life today?” Smile. Love your life, love everything around you. Take a second to appreciate your loved ones. It can all be fone too soon.

If it’s an emergency in which you or someone you know is suicidal, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room. If you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone. There are many supports, services and treatment options that may help. Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). The NAMI Helpline can be reached Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm ET.