I knew it was not good when my phone rang at midnight. My daughter was crying and I could hear the fear in her voice. “Roseanne, what’s wrong?” I asked holding down my own panic.
“It’s Susie, Mom. She texted me that she was going to kill herself. I can’t get her to answer the phone and I don’t know how else to reach her.” Roseanne then managed to read me the text messages that she and Susie had exchanged before Susie stopped all contact. I knew from the despair in Susie’s messages that Roseanne had reason to be worried. I was too.
“What do I do? I’ve texted everyone. I’ve posted a message on Susie’s Facebook to call me if anyone knew where Alvin, Susie’s boyfriend lives,” Roseanne’s voice broke. Susie had texted that she was at Alvin’s house. Roseanne knew he was out of town on business.
My daughter is a lovely successful career woman but at that moment she was once again my little girl, afraid, confused, desperate and turning to me for answers; only this time I didn’t have any. I told her that dad and I were coming to her. I was getting dressed as we spoke, fearful for my own daughter and fearful for her best friend. We were at least 45 minutes away.
I kept Roseanne talking as my husband and I sped down the highway. Roseanne asked me to call Susie’s number to see if she would answer my call. Keeping Roseanne on my line, I used my husband’s phone to call Susie’s number. All I could get was four rings followed by, “This is Susie, please leave a message.”
Roseanne had Alvin’s cell number. We both called it but it immediately went to voice mail. We left messages for him to call but it was the middle of the night. Chances were that he wouldn’t get them until morning. Susie had a brother and a sister but Roseanne did not know how to reach either one of them. We knew that the death of Susie’s mom just three months prior was impacting the state of Susie’s mind.
Roseanne was wringing her hands when we walked into her loft. “What can I do? How can I find her?” she pleaded again. I pulled her close and felt her body jerk. I knew she was going into shock. I pulled an afghan around her and held her like I did when she was a baby. My husband gathered with us and we prayed….prayed for wisdom, for help, for guidance.
Susie worked part time at a hospital. I didn’t have any hope of reaching anyone there at that time of night that could help me but I knew I had to try. Imagine my surprise when I actually reached a real person. By this time it was 3:00 a.m. I explained the situation, the lady took my number and promised to call back in a few minutes.
The next call came from Susie’s sister. “Thank you Lord,” I whispered. After apprising her of everything we knew, she started toward the area of Alvin’s house but she didn’t know the exact address. “The tax rolls!” Roseanne and I both exclaimed. She pulled up the county tax office and sure enough his name was there. Roseanne called Susie’s sister and gave her the address. She was 15 minutes away and promised to call as soon as possible.
Time crawled, we waited. Roseanne was blaming herself. Susie had asked Roseanne to come for the weekend but Roseanne had chosen not to go. “If only,” she started. I stopped her. “Don’t even go there,” I said. “Nothing Susie has chosen to do is your fault.”
It was after four a.m. when the call finally came. I held my breath. The police had met Susie’s sister at the house and they broke open the door. Susie was passed out but she was alive!
My daughter had been on an emotional roller coaster. She had experienced feelings of fear, panic, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness followed by relief, all in a matter of hours. Now she was feeling anger. “How could Susie have done this?” By the time realization settled in that Susie was ok, drunk but not overdosed, Roseanne was physically and mentally drained.
I know it will take both girls time to get over their feelings and actions of the night. I will pray and stand by, ready, as mom on call.
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