When the phone rings late at night, there are really only two options. Disaster or butt dial.
When I answered my phone late last night, I was hoping for the latter, only to be greeted by quiet sobs instead of the muffled sounds of his back pocket.
The worst part is when he said who it was, her first name, my mind went momentarily blank with confusion. Wait, Stacy? Which Stacy? I know more than one Stacy. And none of those Stacys made any sense in this context, in this particular sentence:
Stacy killed herself.
And then the wires connected and the lightbulb switched on. Oh my God. STACY. NO.
I've spent all day trying to write about, well, anything else. Sponsored post draft was due, then some dry-as-hell copywriting, tweaking of some landing page headlines and scouring through campaign analytics to find room for improvement. Blah, blah, blah. Let the people who were closer to her tell their stories -- not people like me, who foolishly allowed her to vanish from the Internet without following. People like me, who have such a cluttered mess of a social media life that I'd be all but guaranteed to miss any posted cries for help.
People like me, who roomed with her one glorious BlogHer weekend, the last weekend I could ever legitimately claim I had actual fun at a blogging conference, thanks to her beautiful, hilarious, nutball presence, as she sang made-up obscene song lyrics about COKE KITTEH and boobs and sausages at the top of her lungs to drown out the wheezing sound of my breast pump, while I sat hunched in the corner laughing until tears poured down my face, begging her to stop because I just needed to pump and THAT WASN'T HELPING.
I've spent all day thinking about that story, and her writing, and how wickedly smart and funny she was, and another thing she did one time that cracked me up and made me love her. I stared at her contact info on my phone (Name: Anastacia Campbell, Company: COKE KITTEH) and berated myself over the "Send Message" option that I could have used, but didn't, and can't for the life of me figure out why. I went back through hundreds of emails and group threads from the Mamapop days until I cried, until the pressure of the words and the sadness and the waste built up and up and up until trying to write about anything else WASN'T HELPING.
It's a weird quirk of the human ego to worry that there was something you could have done to help. That somehow, having you, IN ALL YOUR DEPRESSION-FIGHTING SUPERHERO CAPACITY (lol), around in a closer/better/more intimate capacity could have changed the course of events. Even though, at least in Stacy's case, I know she was surrounded by friends near and far who adored her. Who cared deeply for her and were unwavering in their belief that she was awesome and talented and deserving of every good thing.
In the end, it still wasn't enough. Depression won, that terrible thieving bastard. And now the rest of us are left knowing we'll never have enough her. Trying to wrap our heads and hearts around idea that our friend -- a woman so magnetic and alive that I can still hear her voice coming through a years-old email thread -- is gone.
I shared Elan's simple yet perfect post on Facebook earlier, while still too numb to come up with anything myself. You should read it. You should also, please -- oh please oh please -- call any of the numbers and organizations she provided if you need help, if you need to talk, if you need to find another way out from the grips of your lows.
Look, I'll put them here, too:
- United States: US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Canada: Canadian Crisis Centres
- International: International Association for Suicide Prevention
- Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: Crisis Text Line
- LGBTQ: The Trevor Project
- Transgender: Trans Lifeline
They'll always answer late at night. So will I. But hopefully next time...it'll just be a butt dial.