Before you read tonight's post, there are a couple of things you should know. Other than this opening paragraph, I didn't write the words you'll read. I found them one night while I was browsing through emails, and I've wrestled with whether I should post them. You should know they're not easy words to read and that they're even less easy to get them out of your brain once you do. I wish I could believe that it was only by chance or coincidence that I just happened to open that particular email, but I don't. I believe I was meant to read this young man's words, and I believe I am meant to carry his words with me forever. It was no accident that I opened his email, and it's no accident that I now have the peace I needed to have before I could share them with you. I would ask that you read the young man's words with a spirit of compassion and grace ... I would ask that you be kind to one another always ... I would ask that you never take even one moment for granted.
Dear Mrs. Johnson,
I'm Mark and I'm writing to you because I know if you read this you'll help me get other people to read it to. I don't read your blogs much but my friend does and she told me to read the one you wrote back a while about it being easier to die and some others you wrote about being depressed. And when I did she told me I should write to you and you maybe would read it and get other people to read it and here's why. My friend Olivia died 8 days ago on her birthday after she hung herself in her room and she text me right before she did and said "fade to black". I thought she was joking and didn't mean it because she used to say that a lot. Like she would say when she was way down that she wanted to fade to black like the last scene in a movie. Olivia liked movies better than most things except for her little brother Hal. I thought she loved him enough that she would be ok and be able to keep coming out of the depression but not even that was more than her sadness was.
I can't sleep much since Olivia died because I think I should have done something to help her or been a better friend and kept in touch with her more than I did after I got a new job at the mall. I cared so much about her but it wasn't easy sometimes to be her friend because of the depression she had. When she was in a good place she was the best and so much fun to be around. But it was like I knew even in those times that the sadness was still there and just waiting to get her down again. And when that happened so many times that the depression made her hate herself so much it was hard to keep watching it and I guess I got tired and stopped talking to her as much and told myself she'd be ok in the long run. And now she's dead and I can't sleep because she trusted me and I wasn't there. And I keep reading the text she sent me all the time when she said fade to black.
Why I'm sending you this letter Mrs. Johnson is because my friend says you're a real good person that wants to help lots of people and maybe my letter can help keep someone else from killing themselves. My friend Olivia was 17 years old the day she hung herself and it was Hal her little brother that found her and he is only 11 years old. I hope by a miracle you read my letter and put it in your blog if you want to and I hope it helps other people. Thank you.