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Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 9th, 2001...

10 years ago.

I can't believe that much time has passed.

It seems like only yesterday was the worst day of my life and one that changed the course of my life forever, and helped me become such a stronger person.

Let me take you back to that Tuesday day. I was a senior in high school. School that day was a blur, but I had work experience for the last 2 periods of the day, so I always went home at lunch. I had conditioning for basketball after school, but for some reason I didn't feel like going.

My 2 best friends. Desiree and Heather, also had these periods off. It was normal for us to talk throughout the day. That day, Heather called me a lot. Her real mom sent her a letter pretty much saying that she didn't want Heather in her life anymore. 

But Heather's mood felt real strange to me over the phone. She had told me that she had a bbgun, and shot holes into her clothing basket and one into the banister. I freaked out and told her that I was going to come over. She told me not to, and if I did she was "going to do something stupid."

 Those words still haunt me until this day.

Heather had to get off the phone, so I immediately called my best friend Desiree. She had her little sister with her, and I told her that I was worried about Heather. She took her sister home, and then came to my house to pick me up. 
I told her about the things that were said in my phone calls to Heather. We both agreed that suicide was not a thing that Heather would do. 

We parked around the corner from her house, so she wouldn't see us. Her door was always unlocked and were always welcome into her home. So we walked in and called for her. There was no answer. The house had such a weird silence to it. 
We went to her room and we could see her lying on the bed. We yelled at her to get up and it was such a sick joke. But she didn't move. Then I could see some blood in her top ear. The phone was right next to her, and as I reached for it, Desiree yelled at me not to touch her. All I could say was, "The phone."

She grabbed it and we ran outside to the driveway and called 911. After she told that what had happened, they asked if she still had a pulse. She refused to go back into the room, so I had to. 

I can never forget that image of her. There. With the blood.

Luckily the bullet never left, so there was not as much blood as you would expect.

All I can remember after that is being interview by the police, and calling my coaches and a few close friends with the news.

The next day I went to school. It also happens to be my mom's birthday. Not many students knew what had happened. I can't forget overhearing a student saying, "She could've at least waited until after homecoming." Or others saying after seeing people cry, "Did someone die that we don't know about?"

It wasn't until the 2nd period of the day that they called in the counselors. I remember people asking questions like who found her and other rumors that they heard and I had to speak up at that point. I can't believe the looks that I got and the questions floored in. All I can remember saying is that "I'm glad that I found her and not her parents. They should never have to see that."

We found out later that Heather was on anti-depressants, but she stopped taking them and the number 1 side affect of sudden with draw is suicide.
And for you all thinking, "Why did they have a gun?" If someone wants to kill themselves, they will do it, no matter what!

So now 10 years later, I have spoken to a few high schools and reached out to some kids that were on the verge of this same fate. And I pray that if anyone out there is going through any hard situation, just remember that you can make it through it, even though I know that you don't feel like it.  Also, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

So today, as I celebrate some birthday's with my family, I will have that fake smile on. No matter how much time has passed I still miss her and it doesn't get any easier.

4 comments:

Stacey said...

I can't even imagine how you felt that day, and I'm sorry you have to have that image in your head now everyday.. I think it's great that you speak to schools and kids about suicide awareness.. Thank you for sharing this story, and I hope you can try to enjoy your day! xoxo

Erika said...

Aw Ash I had no idea you found her. I'm SO sorry you lost your best friend & had to find her that way. I too think it's wonderful that you can get out there & speak to kids who are hurting. I can't imagine anything being that awful & it's sad to think that it is for some. *HUGS* to you! XOXO

Sandy said...

Ashleigh thank you for sharing this. I never knew what happened, and I always wanted to know, but didn't want to participate in the rumor-mill. I think about Heather all the time, and I regret that we weren't as close our senior year as we were freshman year, she was my best friend. I still remember when I first heard, and then when it was confirmed. God, I can't believe it's been 10 years. I still have birthday cards, notes, pictures from her, and the newspaper article from when it happened, I read them from time to time. I think it's good to reminisce of the good times. She was a great girl. I miss her and will never forget her. xoxo

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