This little guy was part of my life for 15 years. We moved from the Park house into a temp house and he started to deteriorate. I was avoiding this because losing him was the last thing I wanted in my life. He had been with me through every transition, boyfriend, tear shed, and now another move.
He managed to give me 3 more months of his wonderful loving time here, maybe he thought I was ok. It was another loss and I tried so hard to keep it together.
I jumped on my bike and rode for hours into the night and kept riding…
I remember moving my bed solo at 7 p.m. in a rain storm and driving 2 hours to my new home. I would start my job in less than 10 hours and begin a new (temporary) life. It would be temporary because my goal was to travel and both my parents suggested stability at this point. They thought a job would keep me grounded. Looking back I needed something to hold me down or move me forward, out of my situation.
Anxiety was part of my everyday, work was distraction, and I was filled to the top with loss and depression. Each day I put a huge smile on my face and tried to bring the best Starr to my office everyday. Figuring out pretty quickly that my office was not a happy place and I was the only one with that mission every day. Did I mention, I was taking a pill every day that was supposed to help me with depression, have normal thought processes, and unfortunately this pill was having the opposite effect on me.
To deal with all this I just rode my bike for hours. There was no other way to clear my head. James Lindenblatt worked in my office. He too was dealing with the same issues, broken heart, anxiety and depression. We became the best worst partners for each another. We challenged, supported, and loved each other in a competitive broken hearted way.
Soon after thinking, how can one endure that amount of loss, It started happening to me. I had taken a job as a local park ranger. Throughout my training I questioned the priorities of agency and constantly asked questions. What happened in this scenario, has this happened to you, what are the chances? This job felt like a time bomb, I was waiting for my emergency to strike.
It happened, the first day I was solo. A man tried to commit suicide and I was the first responder. He was almost dead and many people gathered to watch me in action as well as what an almost dead man looked like. I had no First Aid or CPR, which I had asked for repeatedly. Not even a latex glove to touch the man who had blood all over him. Those around me judged me and yelled at me while I stare in shock and helplessness.
You look white, a sheriff told me, and that is how I felt. White, in a cloud, unsure of what the hell I was doing in this job that caused me shock and sadness. The next day I proceeded with my patrol where I was approached by officers who told me to keep an eye out for a suicidal male. How could that be #2 for the week. All day I hoped I wouldn’t see this man or be called out for his body recovery. He decided to proceed with his mission and I checked out for the day.
The following week a female decided to take her life in one of the parks and I was done. My depression had spiraled very quickly at that point. My boyfriend of eight years had no idea how to live with me as I was not functioning in a way he could understand. He broke up with me, I went to a Employee Assistant Therapist. I was encouraged to leave my job. This meant leave the job the house which was part of the job and figure life out solo, in a state of depression and confusion.
In 2011 I was contacted via Facebook by an old friend of mine Collin Wright. He and I had “college dated” for a couple of months and became friends. Our communication was nonexistent for years. He sent me a message that instantly led me back to youthful days in Indiana. We talked about hikes and mushroom hunting. He invited me to a concert he would be hosting as I asked him to visit my beautiful state.
It amazes me how a decade can go by and we proceed where we left off without hesitation. I was excited to reconnect with such a soulful friend from my past and looked forward to seeing him again.
A few weeks past, I hadn’t heard from him and saw a post from his best friend. There was nothing stating his name, or what happened, but simply read “another one is gone”. Instantly, I knew it was Collin and he was gone. I’m not sure how I knew this, he and I never talked about his problems. There was an underlying dark issue, but I wanted to bring out the light in Collin. He reached out to me just weeks before he passed. For this I felt lucky, yet guilt for not helping or asking more questions. This was the beginning..
March 30, 1974 – April 14, 2011
In 2011 a friend of mine lost three people very close to her in a short amount of time. I spent a significant amount of time questioning how one could endure that much emotional stress and grief… How can a person have the strength to move forward with this amount of loss?