Judson Friends- My Thank You

Judson Friends- My Thank You

"Through you, He proved Himself to me."
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For two years I had endured a brutal struggle with self-harm and suicide. I went to college while I was still battling my mental illness and fell on my face, hard. When I was there I met people who saved my life. Friends that I was so deeply blessed to have, that I know it was God ordained from the beginning. They helped me heal, helped me see the light when there appeared to be none, and encouraged me through it all. So to everyone who stuck by me, this is for you.

To the friend who was there for me when no one else was, thank you. You met me in the middle of the night when I couldn't help but cut- because I was new and afraid to tell people what was going on. You held me as I cried in the Forest Preserve. You walked through flooded creeks without your shoes to get to where I was hiding. You left class. You texted me to make sure I was safe. You reminded me that life had meaning, you encouraged me to fight like hell. You took on so much weight to try and protect me, to be there for me. It drove you crazy, but you stayed. I've never met someone as loyal as you, and I am still thankful for you to this day. We may not talk anymore, but I will always love that friend who helped carry me when I was weak. Your support held me up until I found my true strength in Jesus. I know things didn't end ideally between us, but it is well with my heart at last. I hope it is for you also. Thank you.

To the friends who came to see me in the hospital, wow do I love and miss you guys. Thank you for staying by my side when I was desperately sick and scared. I knew you didn't understand why I was doing the things that I was, but nonetheless, you stuck with me during my battles. You held me as I sobbed, you took me on long car rides to get off campus, you made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. You reminded me of my worth, my hope, and my faith. You showed me Jesus when I desperately needed fellowship. I will always remember and love all of you, and your kindness.

To my little peanut, dang do I miss you! Thank you for your encouragement when I was falling apart. Thank you for doing what was best for me, when you saved me that night in the prayer room. Thank you for holding my hand before the EMTs came. Thank you for letting me sleep in your room before choir tour and reading heart healing books to me. Thank you for the good talks, loud laughs, late nights, and friendship. I will always cherish you sweet friend.

To my professors, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for the long talks, confidence boosters, encouragement, hopeful words, Christ like love, freebies, and overwhelming support. For calling me when I was in the hospital and offering to bring me what I needed. For praying for me, with the class! Thank you for loving me and being such an amazing example of Jesus. I was so blessed by you guys, wow. I will never forget those moments we spent talking in your offices when I was hurting. I am still so amazed by you all.

To all the others who helped me through my trials, thank you. I love you all so much. Thank you for the hugs, long talks, late night, walks, runs, gym sessions, coffee dates, long car rides, trips to IKEA, showing me around Elgin, and just loving me endlessly. Thank you for your amazing words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for making me laugh again, for showing me how to love myself again. Thank you for not judging my struggle,but holding my hand through it. You all know who you are, and I wouldn't be the same without every single one of you. I love and miss you guys. Keep being amazing examples of Jesus. Through you, He proved Himself to me.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Sirnic

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What Losing Someone To Suicide Really Feels Like.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

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A word that describes what it feels like to lose someone to suicide? That doesn't exist. It's actually a whole jumbled up pool of emotions. Almost unbearable comes to mind, but that still doesn't quite cover it. You never think it'll happen to someone you know, much less a family member.

Let me start off by telling you about my experience. I was up late one night studying for a big nursing test I had the next morning. My phone started ringing, and I automatically assumed it was my boyfriend who knew I would still be up at midnight. It wasn't, though. It was my mother, who usually goes to bed before 10 every night. I knew something bad had happened.

"Mama, what's wrong?" I could hear her crying already. "Baby, Andrew shot himself," my mother then told me. I flooded her with questions. Where? Is he okay? Why was he playing around with a gun this late? What happened? She then said, "No, baby, he killed himself."

Disbelief

Disbelief was my first reaction. No, that couldn't be true. Not my Andrew. Not my 17-year-old, crazy, silly, cousin Andrew. Not the kid who eats sour Skittles while we walk through Walmart and then throws away the pack before we get to the register. Not the kid who, while we all lay in the floor in Grandma's living room, is constantly cracking jokes and telling us stories about how he's a real ladies' man. This can't be real. I'm gonna go home and it is all just gonna be a mix-up.

Confusion

It wasn't, though. I sat in the home of my grandparents, with the rest of my family, confused. We tried to go over what could have caused him to do it. Was it a girl? Did we do something wrong? He acted normal. Nothing seemed off, but I guess nobody will ever truly know.

Anger

For a minute there I was mad. How could he do this? Did he not know what this would do to everyone? So many people loved him. I just couldn't understand, but I wasn't Andrew. How could I understand?

Regret

Regret was my next feeling. Why didn't I do more? What could I have done? How did I not notice he was hurting so bad? There wasn't anyone who knew, though. For the longest time, I told myself that I should have texted him more or just made sure he knew I loved him. In the end, I always realize that there wasn't anything I could have done and that he knew I loved him.

Pain

The funeral was almost insufferable. A church filled with people who loved Andrew. People that would never get to see him or hear his laugh again. The casket was closed and the whole time all I could think about was how I just wanted to hold his hand one last time. My brother, who spent almost every weekend with Andrew since they were little, didn't even want to go inside. They were only a year and a half apart. At one point he just fell to the ground in tears. This kind of pain is the heart-breaking kind. The pain of picking a 15-year-old off the ground when he hurts so bad he can't even go on anymore.


Heartache

This led to heartache. I thought so much about how his life was way too short. He would never get to graduate high school or go to college. He would never get his first grown-up job. He'd never get married or have children. Dwelling on these thoughts did some major damage to my heart. We missed him. We wanted him back, but we could never go back to how things were.

Numbness

For a while after, I could honestly say I was numb. It had hurt so much I think my body shut down for a little while. That disbelief would pop up again and I would forget it was real. I'd try to block out the reminders but that doesn't really work. Every time I see sour Skittles I think about him, or wear this certain pair of earrings he'd always try to get me to give him.

Longing

This past week marked a whole year since he passed away. What am I feeling now? Still all of these things plus a little more. Longing is a good word. I miss him every day and wish so much that he was still here with us. I'll see little reminders of him and smile or laugh. We had so many good memories, and I could never forget those or him. That's what I cling to now. That was my Andrew.


In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."


If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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I Ended Up In A Family Group Chat...With All Of My Roommates

It was probably one of the most unexpected things that happened to me.

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I know, unbelievable, but hear me out. I didn't expect it at all either. I came to college feeling very reserved and sheltered in. I met my roommates, one who had a boyfriend. They were very very lovey-dovey to the point where it felt like witnessing a drama every passing moment. It was very cute.

Even though I wasn't very expressive myself, my roommates made sure to show me lots of love and give me support and comfort. Slowly, I warmed up to the others and before long we were having face mask nights, Uno challenges, reading and watching creepy trends, truth or dare, ramen nights, scary stories, and so much more. It felt like a family.

One day, when my roommate was being lovey-dovey with her boyfriend, I joked that they were like parents already. That joke then extended on to me and the other roommate being their children and our neighbors to being the grandma and aunt. It was a spontaneous sort of naming system but it came together really well and slowly, everything fell into place. Suddenly it became so established; we developed a family group chat and would occasionally address each other by our family titles. We even started playing into our roles more.

My roommate and her boyfriend started becoming more parental and taking care of my other roommate and I. I started becoming more carefree around my roommates and we would all stay in contact via our Snapchat group named "G.N.O.A.T" at first (greatest neighborhoods of all time) but changed to "family."

It was probably one of the most unexpected things that happened to me at the beginning of my college career but I'm also very grateful that it happened. Because of that, I was able to open up with my roommates and neighbors. I was able to be more honest and slowly feel a deeper kinship with everyone. Before I came to college, I didn't even know if I was going to have good terms with my neighbors but after this experience, I never expected my neighbors and roommates to label me as family, even if it's only a facetious name for now.

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