Her Dad: "When can I call you? I want to know about Maria's nightmares."
Me: "I think I will be okay to talk about it right before my therapy session. If it is too hard, I know I can take care of it in my session."
Trying to be strong for him as I shared painful information of how my best friend and his daughter suffered with postpartum depression and psychosis, my chin trembled and I choked back my tears. My right hand began to numb and cramp.
I assume a parent would never see "closure" in their future after losing a child. We will always miss her. We will always wish we could have, that we pursued the "should haves" and could experience time travel. Through EMDR, I feel as close to resolve as I've felt since the day Maria died 3 years ago this Sunday, September 8th.
Maria's last words to me were, "I think I need to take a break from you for a little bit. I don't know how long it will be but I think it could be good for us!"
I couldn't understand. Especially after such unconditional love by Maria. This was out of character.
I closed my eyes and was in a room. I imagined Maria beyond the door in that room. When I went to open the door I saw her, glowing and beautiful. She wore a long sleeve and floor length white dress. Her long dark hair was curled and laying on her shoulders. Her porcelain skin was beautiful and her freckles and brown eyes were mesmerizing. She glowed!
I wanted to see only good, but I couldn't. I went in and out of thought during this imagination, from seeing blood all over her dress to focusing on her eyes, her freckles and her smile. This was hard. I couldn't focus.
I was encouraged to talk with her and ask her any questions I wanted to. I imagine I could have found resolve for her death by suicide but I was too interrupted with the "what ifs", the "should haves," the "would haves," and blame. I blamed her husband again, I blamed the people she worked for at the hospital, I blamed the counselor she met with twice. I blamed my friends for not taking my concern seriously and then I blamed myself for not telling her parents first.
My right hand was beginning to numb and cramp again. I was finding it hard to breathe. Like the first night I attempted to sleep after learning she was dead. I could only see blood, a knife and I could only feel it on my chest.
My therapist was very intuitive and aware of me. He did not expect the reality of my visions. In and out of the power of imagination, he called me. He helped me to refocus and reprocess these memories.
Back at the door, talking with Maria, I remembered her as healthy. Then I began to laugh at the memory of Maria being healthy...I lived with Maria and her parents. I was gong to drop out of beauty school because I just couldn't do it. I couldn't afford rent, I couldn't keep living with my insane roommate (at the time, that girl was also best friends with Maria and is currently mine) and I couldn't live in poverty anymore. Maria told her Mom immediately and they took me in so I could carry-on in school at the technical college she studied nursing in.
Maria had a bunk bed, but we still slept in the same bed. We would laugh ourselves to sleep and Maria would scare me awake with this stuffed animal from Dr. Suess called, "The Wocket". She placed him all over the house to creep me out. In the mornings, she's place him above my head, with his wide eyes staring at me. I always freaked out of course. That cute, pink and orange character was scary!
We spent much our time scaring each other. We turned it into our version of tag. When we'd come home from school, I'd help myself to my bowl of salad with fruits and veggies on the side while Maria filled her plate with fried foods like jalapeño poppers and corn dogs. Her Mom would always look at us from the kitchen with a tilted head and curious face.
Maria's skin was beautiful, her figure looked healthy and she was the happiest most considerate friend, daughter, sister and more. How could she eat like that and still look so beautiful? Maria the mystery!
My thoughts returned to bitterness and anger. Why couldn't anyone help? Why couldn't the knife have been taken from her? I had to imagine the shock of the event. I had to consider how paralyzing that is.
Randomly, I heard Maria's voice telling me that managing this is challenging. This was her response after I sent her a video chat, complaining about the management at the school I'd worked at. I had only filth to say about the situation and every other Para Professional could agree with me! Maria always looked from another angle and called me higher. She reminded me that it is difficult to manage too and though I thought I could do a better job, I had to remember how hard it can be to care for so many people and appease every one of them.
As I pursue Birdie's Travel Spa, I hear her voice reminding me all the time. The blood was leaving my imagination now. My anger was beginning to soothe. My hand was still numb and breathing was hard but I was coming to simply focus on Maria's eyes, her freckles and her smile. She said to me, "Everything is going to be okay."
Maria is more than a memory, more than a sad story to inspire my business; Maria is more than a statistic for Postpartum Depression and Psychosis. Maria is my best friend and I will never forget her and I will continue to have these beautiful conversations with her, without seeing the trauma of the event now. Now, I see her as she is, leaning into the arms of Jesus, smiling and resting in peace.