Rough night. I found distraction by creating a safety plan and reading about resources for suicide loss and suicide attempt survivors. Crisis averted tonight. I listened to my “Upside Down” playlist and found quite a bit of encouragement in the song Even If. I’m adding it to this post. Breakdowns are exhausting and it’s after midnight, so I’m going to sleep. Tomorrow HAS to be better! Goodnight yall.
They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Well good thing a little faith is all I have right now. But God, when You choose to leave mountains unmovable, give me the strength to be able to sing, “It is well with my soul.”
I fucking miss her so much. Who knew my heart could break so much for a kid who isn’t even my own? I should have said yes to the sleepover. She would have been at my house instead of hanging from a tree in the woods for 6 hours. I should have fucking said yes. Even if she would have left my house to go do it anyway, at least we could have had one last sleepover with her. I feel crazy for looking out the window, expecting to see her walk out of the woods or wake up at 5:30, expecting her to knock on my door. I look outside in the middle of the night and my porch chairs are empty. She should be there. She shouldn’t be ashes in an urn. She should be alive and giving the world hell.
It has been 6 weeks since I have been in therapy. My insurance coverage ended and I am in the process of trying to have it reinstated, but that is a long process. Life has proved that it is an asshole, waiting until I am without necessary mental health services, to knock me on my ass. The past 6 weeks have been absolute hell.
My ex husband’s wife contacted me for help to leave him. He was abusing her and she wanted to apologize for not believing me when she was warned. She needed my story to help her leave. She needed help. I lived through it and I couldn’t tell her no. So I helped her. This ended with my ex husband becoming furious with me. He harassed me on social media, making threats that scared the shit out of me, until I had to get another order of protection for my family.
My son’s health has deteriorated and he has required more services. He had a seizure at school, which indicated his seizures were changing. He had another MRI yesterday because his neurologist is concerned about progressive deterioration. We will have results on Monday. All I can do is wake up every day and pray he isn’t going to have another seizure or lose function of something else. He has a 504 plan at school now because he needs many accommodations to get through the day. His grades are suffering and he has such a significant cognitive decline that all of his teachers have contacted me to express their concern.
Yesterday, we had to drop $280 on car repairs and I was stranded with my son in Little Rock for 4 hours. That was stressful.
As if the world had not shit on us enough, we faced a tragedy that left us heartbroken and devastated. Elizabeth has not left my thoughts since her death. She struggled with BPD too and was dealing with a lot of overwhelming social issues.
All of this while I am uninsured and without access to mental health services. Luckily, it should be reinstated within two weeks. Hopefully because I am not okay.
Name: Elizabeth Fay
Age: 13 years, 7 months
Cause of death: Suicide
The day I met Lizzie was the first time she had a sleepover at our house. Astrid brought her home and BEGGED me to let her friend stay the night. One night turned into two and the next thing I know, it’s weeks later and Elizabeth has all but moved in. Half her clothes are in my house and it’s like I have weekend custody of the kid. She was cooking and cleaning and acting like she lived at my house. She helped with everything. She would ask if we could just talk her mom into letting us adopt her. Goofy kid. She called me “Mama.” No one could be sad or angry for long when she was around. She was hell on wheels, but she was a fucking beacon of light. She brought out the kid in everyone.
Underneath it all was a girl struggling with mental illness. She had a history of hospitalizations for mental health. She would self harm. She talked about suicide sometimes, but never attempted. She was me as a 13 year old. I saw myself in her. I was just like her. Everything about her reminded me of me at her age. I felt like I was staring into a time machine and watching myself at 13. I loved her even more for it. I knew her pain. We shared a diagnosis. Elizabeth was also BPD.
Lizzie would knock on my door every morning on her way to the bus stop, just to say good morning. She would walk up with Astrid and walk home with Astrid. Often, she would give Declan piggyback rides down from the bus stop because he would get tired. We would have sleepovers where we would have dance parties, roller skate through my house at midnight, make up crazy recipes and eat them while watching movies in a blanket fort. She was so loved.
These past few weeks were difficult. She had been facing a lot of obstacles and was self harming again. Her mom tried hard to get her help, but it seemed like no one could giver her the help she needed. On Sunday, October 28, 2018, Lizzie knocked on my door before church, just like every Sunday. I felt bad because the previous night I told her no sleepover because I needed sleep. We had been at a fall festival at church and she rode home with us, begging us for a sleepover because she just couldn’t go home that night. I told her to go home. I didn’t get to the door in time Sunday morning, so I thought I will see her later this afternoon. She never came. That was a good sign because when she was feeling low or she was fighting with her mom, she would come to my house. She didn’t come, so I thought she was having a good day. Later that evening, Josh told me to look out the window. I was reluctant, but he made me look. Police were everywhere in front of her house. I walked down there when I found out Lizzie was missing. I took Astrid so she could tell the police where she might have gone. Astrid described a place in the woods that she liked to hang out. It turns out, Lizzie left a note for her mom that said she would find her at the front of their woods, in the exact place Astrid described. The police would not let anyone in the woods until the search dogs from the state prison arrived. It took hours. The dogs were in the woods for about 20 minutes when the officers brought them back out, with no Elizabeth. That was when it hit me. I knew in that moment what the night had in store for us.
Not long after, the police told Elizabeth’s mom that they found Elizabeth’s body in the woods. She had committed suicide. The sound Sarah made in that moment was the most heart wrenching, unforgettable roar I have ever heard. I will never forget the sound. If the most painful emotion in existence had a sound, that would be it. I fell apart. All I could say was, “I told her no last night. I told her no. She tried to reach out and I told her no.” As it turns out, everyone who interacted with her these past few days has questioned what they could have done differently to help her. She tried to steal a door prize at a fall festival for me, but it was claimed before she could get it. I told her not to do it, but I look back and smile because on our last night together, she was willing to get in trouble to give me a gift that would make me happy. She loved everyone but herself. We loved her so much, but it wasn’t ever going to be enough.
This morning, we took our kids to meet with their mental health teams so we could tell them. They are devastated. We all are. I just don’t like to think of this world as a world without Elizabeth in it. It isn’t fair. 13 is too young to feel that pain. I just want to push rewind and take her pain so I could carry it for her.
I loved Elizabeth from the first time I met her and I will love her for the rest of my life.
I lie in your orchard, staring at your trees,
Your boughs dance freely to unchained melodies.
Inhaling your aroma, an offering from the breeze,
Craving to taste you, oh fruit so saccharine.
Pining to drown in the nectar you seep,
Coveting to touch you, you’re just out of reach.
My forbidden fruit, my surreptitious peach.
“The weight of what you’re going through is bigger than your will to change.”
So much fucking truth in that lyric.
I can’t get better.
I’m hurting today. My heart’s beating and I just need his to beat again. I need to feel his weight in my empty arms. I find myself pleading with God, bargaining my life away in exchange for one night of life in his tiny body. Breath in the unexpanded lungs. Why can’t I just have one night? That’s all I ask.
Empty aching has blanketed my shattered remnants of what was life before loss.
I need him here with me.
Growing up, I have always been told a story about how my mom abducted me and my big brother. She took off to Texas with another man and took us with them. The police couldn’t find us and no one knew if we were safe for a few days. My mom called my dad to tell him we were in Dallas, but she might have to take me to the hospital because I was sick. She later changed her mind. I was in and out of the hospital my first two years of life due to severe dairy allergies, so a hospital trip was common. My uncle and Grandma went to Texas to get us. We had been badly abused.
This story comes from my dad’s side. It sounded too much like a movie plot to be true. I’ve always been bothered by this, but no one will talk about it. It’s too painful for my dad and my mom just refuses to give me any answers about anything.
Tonight, I found the truth. I found court records, while looking for my parents divorce decree.
Read through these pages. You will see the answers she has refused me all these years.
Here is the story of the parental abduction of me and my brother:
My stepdad, Kenneth Shank, existed and I loved him. He committed suicide on August 16, 2006. Every concrete memory I had of him was lost in my divorce. They were in a special box that belonged to my ex husband where we kept things like that safe. I haven’t seen them in years. All I have is a driver’s license picture now.
He loved AC/DC and we bonded over the band. I had met him a few times during visitations as a teenager, but when my biological mom signed us away to my real mom, the visits stopped. When I turned 18, the first thing I did was contact them. Ken and I grew close. He was a great role model, loved by many. He was a career custodian at the former St Joseph’s Hospital in Hot Springs. He did his job with love too. He knew his job was important and he was passionate about it. He would tell me stories of the joy and pain he witnessed in the hallways there. Some moments never leave you.
We went on vacation to Blanchard Springs and the Buffalo River that summer. Even when the car started overheating, it was still such a fun adventure. I remember going to the lake and getting a severe sunburn all over my body. Ken showed up late at night when I got home and brought me a sunburn survival kit. It helped ease the misery.
Ken volunteered at the Oasis, handing out food to the less fortunate. He gave his time and his energy to help others. I remember about two weeks before his death, I went up there. He was taking me to buy new shoes because I was 19, had no car, and walking to work just to be on my feet all through my shift. There was a man there who was having a hard time mentally and Ken had stepped aside to talk with him after the food service was over. That man left with a happier demeanor. Then we went shoe shopping.
He was going through a lot with his boys but he never let his personal battles prioritize over someone else’s.
I never knew he was struggling that way. He was always so happy and gave the world such joy.
He called me Rocker and I called him Pops. He knew I had the best dad anyone could have had and he never tried to force the father figure on me. It came naturally, but it was different than I expected. I was angry with my parents at the time and Ken would always remind me of how much they loved me. He would say things about tomorrow not being promised and encouraged me to mend things as soon as I was ready. Little did I know that tomorrow really wasn’t promised.
On the evening of August 15, 2006, I was at work at No Clothes downtown Hot Springs. He called me there. We were busy so I rushed him off the phone. He called again two more times. I told him I would call him after work. I was so exhausted after walking home from my shift that I went to sleep.
The very next phone call I received was the call from my grandmother, telling me that he had shot himself in his bathtub.