When Steph’s mom called me on Sunday morning (right after I’d posted that chippy post about sleeping through the night that I’d really wanted to take down, because it then seemed so wildly inappropriate) to tell me that her daughter was dead, she asked me to call all of the old crew and let them know what happened.
One of the guys I called (and one of my best friends) said something that I haven’t been able to shake no matter how hard I try. He said that he only wished that he were surprised.
Because I was surprised. I was shocked.
Last I’d heard from Steph, she’d been going into rehab and had been attempting to turn her life around.
I knew that she hadn’t been doing exactly well in the last couple of years, and that was the reason that all of us had distanced ourselves from her. Alcohol seemed innocuous until she drank it, and when she did, she became a different person. The type who makes you somewhat nervous because you never knew what she’d do next. That sort of volatility is more fun and freeing when you are much younger, and when you deal with it first hand as more of an adult, it makes you somewhat embarrassed.
But, like Kristin, I wanted to believe that she would come around. I wanted to believe that she would eventually see that she was worth something, even without the alcohol, and that she would take steps in that direction.
I knew that there was nothing I could really do for her until she decided to do something for herself. That’s the kicker about addicts: you can watch them spiral downward and you can try to throw them a lifeboat, but it’s completely up to them whether or not they choose to climb aboard. It’s heartbreaking.
But I believed in my heart of hearts that she would come around.
She never did.
She died in her sleep after popping her prescriptions and washing them down with alcohol. I’m choosing to believe that it was accidental (there was nothing to say otherwise), and I’m choosing to believe that she died just as she was gearing up to fight her demons. Her mom told me that she’d been planning to call me this week or next so that we could spend some much-needed catch up over a cup of coffee or thirteen.
God, how I wished she’d called me.
Maybe, just maybe then we wouldn’t be hatching plans to carpool to her funeral together on Friday.
Just maybe I wouldn’t have to spend hours and hours pouring over floral arrangements to send to her parents, because what precisely says “I’m sorry that your daughter is dead. I loved her very much.” Is it the roses? Or the tulips? Or the multitude of hideously arranged flowers with such stupid names as “Forever Yours” or “A Loving Wish?”
I know that if Steph were here with me, she’d totally make fun of the traditional funeral arrangements, calling them tacky and ugly. We’d probably make fun of the names that the flower people came up with because seriously, what a crappy job that must be. I’d have named them something goofy like “To My Concubine” or “It Sucks That You’re Dead,” and not something so drab and ineffectual. I mean, death is sad enough without having to thumb through stupidly named floral arrangements (I am putting it in my will that only beautiful flowers be allowed at my funeral. And absolutely no plastic ones.).
I can’t seem to make a decision about the flowers, though, no matter that I’ve memorized the layout of the page with my scrutiny. I’ve been looking since Sunday, and have gotten no closer to ordering a thing.
What the hell sort of flowers are you supposed to order for someone who isn’t supposed to be dead yet?