Tracy, my friend who took her own life in February, had made posts on Facebook and her Dreamwidth blog: first about passing along special items of hers which she wanted to have good homes, then about how she was about to get veterinary help putting down her last surviving pet, and then about transitions and endings: a meme based on the elves of The Lord of the Rings traveling into the west, which was Tolkien's metaphor for passing on, and an image of an owl paired with a poem about "fly[ing] away." What may have been her last post ever was on Facebook: a meme that I saw, maybe while she was still alive and still around, and which I thought she'd posted to be funny.
I gave the post a Facebook Like.
I didn't realize or even sense the truer meaning of what Tracy had posted. I didn't know. I didn't know until that Friday, through a mutual friend posting about the loss of Tracy.
There were signs and I didn't see that they were signs.
What if I had? What if I'd gotten concerned enough to do something, even something as simple as a Messenger message? People had, metaphorically speaking, talked her off the ledge before in other episodes she'd had, as many have done with many others dealing with depression; what if I had? At least talked to her? But I didn't, and I've been sitting with that, wondering if I could have diverted her from the course she ultimately took.
(One post-death thing I did: went to that final Facebook post of hers and changed my Like to a Heart. Trying to mark this with fondness and love, something she deserved more of. And keeping that post marked with a thumb felt wrong.)
I don't know what might have happened had I reached out to her. I don't know if she might still be here had I done so. I don't know. I am trying to accept that. And trying to better see any possible signs of anyone else I know possibly going through similarly troubled times.
I can only control what I do from now on. Keep thinking of Tracy, obviously. Maybe write more about her. Part of me wants to write a poem about her, but a bigger part of me then goes "Making this about yourself, are we?" Which is a hazard of doing poetry. What will be the good ways of marking and honoring her memory? I'm still working on that. I may be working on that for a while.
At least I can say that I don't know. But that I hope to know.
Thinking of you, Tracy.