If a genie gave me three wishes, I’d only need one.

My mom, her name was Laura Alisha Myers-Doughty. Yes and I do mean ‘was’. She died. In 2017 I started college, and by the end of October, she had taken her own life. She overdosed on her insulin that was prescribed to her for her diabetes. I’ve sworn to never look up what that does to the human body. Although the self-destructive part of me will imagine her death over and over. Was she cold on the floor of that Super 8, did her eyes get blurry, did she think of all the things she was leaving? Or was it all about getting away from all her pain?

She suffered from depression since before I was born, my grandmother would say that my older brother and I were her two great joys in life. Two sunspots on a bleak existence. Not to say she was a bleak person herself, but she had lived a hard life. She had suffered severe child abuse from a young age at the hands of her biological parents.

I grew up with her mental illnesses. Chronic illness clouded over every holiday and celebration. I spent my time in waiting rooms of hospitals and psychiatric clinics. In the corners with brightly colored blocks. When I was seven she jumped off a bridge, I remember sitting next to her both leg encased in hard casts. Trailing my fingers over the plaster material.

I loved my mom. I used to tell her how she would cry at my wedding and she’d get misty-eyed at the mere thought of her little girl being a bride. Or that when I had kids I’d call her up in the middle of the night asking for advice and reassurance that I was not already fucking them up. There will be no proud mommy moment when I graduate from college, no overly enthusiastic cheers coming from her.

My mom was like sunshine. When she walked into a room it glowed a little brighter. When she talked with you, you felt special. You felt loved. I remember being a shy teenager and turning beet red because my mom can and would talk to anyone. She was that mom to make friends in the checkout line at the grocery store. While I was pretending I didn’t exist she was telling a mother of two young children my whole life story and how she could remember when I was that little.

I wish I had smiled more when she was alive. I wish she’d been around to see me grow. On the last day, she took me to the bus station to go back to school. She gave me one last hug and whispered in my ear that if anything were to happen it wasn’t my fault. She told me that she loved me right before I let go, and went to leave on that bus. I wish I hadn’t let go. I wish I had stayed. I wish I had held on longer. 

I’ve fallen in love. I am in love with the most wonderful man, and there are moments where I start to imagine our future together. When he gets down on one knee I won’t be able to gush to my mother about how romantic it was and she won’t see the glow of happiness on my face. When our families join together to see us get married there will be no misty-eyed moment shared between us as I walk down the aisle. And she will never get to meet her grandchildren. If I could get one wish it would be to have my mom to be here with me and my family to feel her warmth at each phase of our lives. But instead, we are left with this gaping hole where she used to be.

I encourage anyone having suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. The following number is for the national suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255, more people care than you think.