Thursday, September 27, 2012


For the thousandth time that week, I turned around from the thousand and one things I did every day and found myself thinking about Shauna.

Though we'd graduated from the same high school, even in the same graduating class, we went to a big school and had never met. Then, the summer just before I turned twenty-one, we met through a mutual friend (well, my friend, her boyfriend), and bonded over Bull Durham (if you don't know that movie and won't look it up, I can't know you). Shauna quickly broke up with my friend (Psshht! I could have told her he was a playa), but we developed a deep friendship. We spent pretty much any time that we weren't in classes together; she eventually even got a job at the same government agency for which I worked, so we carpooled. I have no sisters, and have always had an easier time making friends with guys than with girls, so having someone to be girly with was a revelation. Shauna was with me the first time I tried an illegal substance (yes, I was kind of behind in this respect), and she was with me the night I met the guy who would become my husband a few years later--in fact, on our first double date, he was her date.

Time passed, my relationship with The Man got more intense, and Shauna and I became less close, though she was in my wedding and I was in her first. I became a mom and decided to make that position full-time, she became fabulously proficient in her chosen career... and soon calls were seasonal. Then they ended. I heard through the grapevine that her first marriage failed, and then a few years later that her second was struggling, but daily life with three small kids and a major home remodel seemed overwhelming.

In the spring of 2002, that little voice started whispering, wondering how Shauna was doing.

Then it talked.

Then it yelled.

Finally tired of shouty brain, I decided to give her a call. Easter was coming up, and that seemed like a great time for a good long catch-up.

I never got that chance.

A week before Easter of that year, my beautiful friend decided to end her own life.

Friends later pieced together some things: her parents were having financial troubles; she was under tremendous stress at work; she'd returned to the religion of her youth, one wherein one divorce was barely tolerable and two was shameful to the extreme. All conjecture, of course, because she was serious when she decided: there was no note, and no way anyone could have stopped her.

I wish I'd made that call the first time that little voice started nudging me. Before anyone gets crazy, telling me it's not my fault, rest assured that I know that. But everyone needs to know that they are not alone and that someone cares about them. No matter what. And know that I never ignore that little voice that tells me to check on someone anymore.

I'm telling y'all this because I want you to understand why I'm so passionate about the fundraiser and giveaway that's being hosted by my fellow Omnific writer and terrific person, Justine Dell. Together with YA author Sarah Fine and a host of other authors, editors, and literary agents, Justine is raising money and awareness for Out Of The Darkness, a suicide prevention giveaway and fundraiser.

If you're a reader, this giveaway is heaven. There are dozens upon dozens of books that will be given away, from so many authors and in so many genres that I can't list them all. There is a truckful of 'swag', as well. For authors, there are many opportunities for agent and editor critique of your works in progress--folks, this is invaluable. All it takes for your opportunity to win is an entry to the contest and a donation. I can't even get into the auctions! SO MUCH STUFF TO WIN.

Please, please take a look at Justine's link.

Make a donation.

Listen to your little voices.

And let whoever is close to you know that they are loved.

No matter what.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story and spreading the word about the Out the The Darkness Walk.


  2. This is so, so heartbreaking. It's amazing that the connection you had with her was strong enough that you felt her during that time. I'm sure she felt you too, and maybe that helped ease her pain, just a little bit, to remember something good in this life.

    Justine & crew are doing a great thing.