For Stacy, In the Event That It Is Too Late
September 17, 2015
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.
She is someone who can never be equaled or replaced, and I promise that next time I have to call you, it's for good news, like I have extra chocolate I can't eat or that I'm going to be in town to visit. I love this post, and she would have rolled her eyes at the praise and laughed at the memories too. <3
Posted by: Avitable | September 17, 2015 at 03:59 PM
I am so sorry honey. I also grapple with depression and write posts about it. I am glad for your sweet memories and my heart breaks for her and the family and friends left to grieve. Bee
Posted by: The bee | September 17, 2015 at 04:06 PM
I am sorry, Amy. So very sorry.
Posted by: Annie B | September 17, 2015 at 04:20 PM
I am so sorry for your loss...
I am so fortunate to never have lost someone to suicide and for that I am so grateful...
It must be unbearable. I hope you may find some comfort in the memories you have...
Posted by: Hanne | September 17, 2015 at 04:27 PM
Depression sucks. We had a scary time with my teenaged daughter this past winter and spring. She's leveled out with meds that seem to be working, and lots of support from us. But depression is one of those things that can creep back in quietly, and even be kept from loved ones for a long time. And then one day it's too late. I pray that my daughter can stay healthy, and that she never goes through a time dark enough to end her own life. And I'm really, truly sorry that it happened with your friend. I can't say anything else, except that depression sucks. :(
Posted by: Christy | September 17, 2015 at 04:32 PM
Amy I am so sorry for you and everyone who loved her. I always enjoyed her writing on MamaPop and missed everyone when that ended.
Posted by: Ally | September 17, 2015 at 04:33 PM
Just a reader, but so so very sorry for your loss.
Posted by: Tracy | September 17, 2015 at 04:36 PM
Depression is so good with its lies, so cunning.
Posted by: Arnebya | September 17, 2015 at 04:36 PM
i am so sorry. All there is left is talk about it. Make people aware. thank you for doing that.
Posted by: joyce | September 17, 2015 at 04:49 PM
I am so terribly sorry for your loss and the loss of everyone who knew her, or anyone who has committed suicide.
Posted by: Lora | September 17, 2015 at 04:51 PM
Amy, I'm so sorry, for everyone who loved her.
This post punched me in the face today. Today is my husband's grandfather's birthday. He would have been 79. He committed suicide last October. He was a wonderful, warm-hearted, funny, loving man. We miss him dearly. We were with him before he did it - he stayed at our house for a few days with us. The next day we got our phone call. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon.
We had no idea. As I'm sure Stacy's friends and family will do, we agonizingly went over every little thing he said and did. We looked and looked for something we missed. We tried to convince ourselves that we missed something.
I wish I could hug him today, on his birthday, and tell him how much I love him.
My heart goes out to everyone who is grappling with Stacy's loss.
Posted by: Lindsay | September 17, 2015 at 04:58 PM
Oh I am sorry.
We lost someone to suicide this year, and there are just no good words.
Posted by: SarahB | September 17, 2015 at 05:01 PM
I've been reading memories of and odes to her all day. It's amazing that one person could have such a varying array of people who loved her - some were so close they could feel her heart beat, and others never met her in person or spoke on the phone, but all still absolutely fucking ADORED her - and everything in between. She was so talented, and so hilarious, and so beautiful, and so, and so, and so.
The tinniest, most hollow words are all I can think of: I'm so damn sorry for your loss, Amy. For the people who knew her like the breath in their own lungs, and the people with the in-passing funny stories, and the people who admired her from across a crowded internet. I'm so sorry for all of our loss.
Posted by: Amanda | September 17, 2015 at 05:08 PM
This is a beautiful tribute. Thank you for writing this.
Posted by: jodi | September 17, 2015 at 05:09 PM
I'm so very sorry for your loss. Depression is a big, bad, ugly thing and seems to prey on very special people.
Posted by: Lindsey | September 17, 2015 at 05:15 PM
So very, very sorry.
Posted by: Tonya | September 17, 2015 at 05:32 PM
Amy, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I wanted to be a fly on the wall when you shared that room with Stacy. Or, even better, a third roommate. My two favorite Internet women together! LIVE AND IN PERSON!
I am so happy I finally got to meet you and so sad I never got to meet her. Stacy and I connected more personally through her work on Jurgen Nation. But her dark humor on MamaPop and beyond will never be forgotten. Hugs to ALL OF US.
Posted by: Suzy Q | September 17, 2015 at 05:55 PM
So very sorry for the loss of your friend.
Posted by: Sue W. | September 17, 2015 at 07:02 PM
So many of you are hurting today and there aren't any words. May her memory be a blessing.
Posted by: Ashley | September 17, 2015 at 07:27 PM
Amy, I am so sorry for your loss. This was a lovely tribute to her.
Posted by: Joy | September 17, 2015 at 08:11 PM
Oh my god...I remember her. Haven't thought of her in years...you know how the internet is when people stop writing (at least I thought she'd stopped writing -- I lost touch with her years ago). I used to email with her, and I met her at a BlogHer conference, and I contributed to Indie Bloggers back in the day.
Very sad. Thanks for letting us know. How positively awful.
Posted by: Zandria | September 17, 2015 at 08:42 PM
I lost my cousin to suicide after his lifelong battle with depression. Eighteen years later and it is still hard. Remember her work, remember her voice. I am holding you and all the others who loved her in the Light.
Posted by: Sarah | September 17, 2015 at 09:06 PM
My heart is so sick right now. I just wish I could hug her. Right now. Right this second.
Posted by: Kerri Anne | September 18, 2015 at 01:31 AM
Posted by: MariaV | September 18, 2015 at 05:31 AM
It's the worst. She was the best. I don't even know what to say anymore.
Posted by: Baltimoregal | September 18, 2015 at 08:36 AM
Seconding the vote for butt-dials. I'd happily take twenty years of butt-dials over this.
Posted by: Ben | September 18, 2015 at 08:58 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. I have been where you are and its is so hard to understand and believe that the person is really gone, let alone that they took their own life. My prayers and best wishes are with you and all of Stacy's friends and family.
Posted by: Jennifer | September 18, 2015 at 09:00 AM
Amy, I'm so sorry. Thank you ever so much for posting; this is important.
Posted by: Heather | September 18, 2015 at 01:45 PM
I'm so sorry. Please, anyone who suffers and feels there's no way out, know that feeling is a symptom of this horrendous disease. I've been there--my heart bleeds for Stacy--there is help, always. Always.
Posted by: Amy A | September 18, 2015 at 04:19 PM
So sorry to hear such terrible news. Depression sucks big time.
Posted by: skroll63 | September 18, 2015 at 07:30 PM
I shared your post on Facebook, I'm so sick of people being lost to this terrible disease. Awareness needs to be spread. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Posted by: Lisa | September 18, 2015 at 08:07 PM
I had not heard. I am shaking. She was a dear internet pal from way back. Eight years. This breaks my heart.
Posted by: Lauren | September 19, 2015 at 08:55 AM