I just spoke with a friend of mine. We've known each other for about 12 years. She's had a life of extreme ups and downs both emotionally and financially. She was the type of friend where we could pick up a pizza, a bottle of wine, rent a movie, and spend the evening enjoying each others' company.

About 4 years into our relationship, she had made the decision to return to her country of origin although she had spent most of her life in the States.

She had been sold a bill of goods by her family telling her how wonderful it would be and how they would make sure she would have a job and be able to support herself. It was all a lie. Within a short time, the depression set in and she was broke, jobless, and 5,000 miles away from all of her stateside friends.

Because of her finances and the country's telephone service, her only way to communicate with her friends became a sometime thing.

I tried calling her, sending her emails, sending her family emails, looking up her family members on Facebook, anything I could think of to try and find out where and how she was. I had no way to reach her. I never gave up and I would occasionally send an email to the only address I had and I would send an e-card on different occasions, but I still got no answer.

The day before yesterday, I finally got a message on Facebook through her sister that she was still around and it included a new email address and phone number. I immediately sent off an email to the address her sister supplied and replied to her sister since I didn't want to take any chances.

Yesterday morning, we were finally able to talk to each other. We spent 3 hours on the phone catching up on what's been happening over the last 3 years. She's now living on welfare, her health has deteriorated, and, although she has a boyfriend, she feels very alone.

You're probably wondering what all this is leading to. I learned that about 3 or 4 months ago, her depression reached an all-time low and she tried to kill herself by overdosing on pills. She felt so hopeless, helpless, and alone that the only comfort she could find was death. She didn't leave a note. She just took a bunch of pills and hoped for the eternal sleep.

Luckily, she failed at her attempt and yesterday, we reconnected and talked. I have since given her every email address and phone number I have, plus my family members' phone numbers just so that she knows she is not alone. We will not lose contact again if I can help it.

I guess my point in all this is not to do anything that can't be undone. There are people who love you and care for you even when you're feeling tired, unworthy, or like a burden. They love you for who you are and, if given the chance, they will tell you. I've been lucky enough to tell her.

Her death would have caused a ripple half-way around the world and, aside from being my friend, she is no different from you or me. A tragedy has been averted, but the symptoms remain. I just hope I will be able to tell her many more times how much she means to me and that she is loved.


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