It was very early in the morning of January 2, 1997. I had a new year to look forward to with dreams, hopes and resolutions. This past year I returned to school so that I could earn my Bachelors Degree. My focus at that time was business. It was a very important quest of mine so that I might feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.
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Our family had suffered some great losses within the last five years. My Aunt and godmother died five years ago. Then my grandmother died two years after that. I think my Nana died of a broken heart. She had never been the same after having to bury her youngest child, Arlene. They were both tragic losses for all of us. Both were wonderful caring women and their presences in our lives are greatly missed.
Five years ago, we went through the horror of watching my mother’s younger sister, Arlene, die from cancer. It was a heart wrenching process. When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer you tend to know that the end is eventually coming. One does not like it, but it is inevitable, and somehow the grieving process is a little easier to embrace because you know the one who had to suffer in such a traumatic manner will no longer be in pain and finally have peace. Arlene suffered for two years. She refused treatment as somehow she knew it would not work, and she did not want to suffer anymore with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. She stood tall, never complained and maintained her dignity and poise right up until the last minutes of her life. My mother was with her as Arlene slipped away from our world into a pain free, peaceful and everlasting sleep.
Arlene was my godmother and a beautiful woman inside and out. She had lost her husband, Frank, the love of her life when he was in his thirties. That too was tragic as he died of a cardiac arrest right in Arlene’s arms. They were never able to have children of their own. Thus she always treated my brother, Stephen, and me like we were her own. She and I also shared the same birth sign so we had much in common.
I tried to spend as much time as my busy life would allow visiting her while she was sick at home. Wanting only to make her last days easier for her I would bring my children over to visit as often as I could as she very much enjoyed seeing them. And to this day, whenever I see something regarding the Three Stooges it brings a smile to my face as I remember Arlene loved to watch them. She spent a great deal of time in bed and she had a video tape of them to watch whenever she was feeling down. Their antics always made her laugh.
Three years later we buried my Nana, and that was so very hard. To this day I miss her still. Nana Lindsey is what we called her as my mother was known as Nana J. to my children. She was caring, generous, fun loving, and a wonderful lady who brought joy to everyone she came in contact with. Nana was eighty six years old and had a long life. She too lost her husband at a young age so she raised her children by herself during the depression. All the while she always had a smile for you and plenty of love to go around.
Life was going alright for me even though I had lost two very important and greatly loved people in my life. I was married and fortunate to have three beautiful children, the house and mortgage, two cars in the driveway and lastly the family dog. I loved my children passionately. As far as my husband I maintained decorum while putting up with a bigoted, somewhat chauvinistic, narrow-minded, and verbally abusive man. On the outside we were a typical version of the all American family. However on the inside many changes were taking place within me and our dynamic structure.
My returning to school was okay with my husband until he realized that I might just achieve more with my life than he had. I was on the Dean’s List every semester yet did not feel the emotional support from him for my accomplishments. Do not get me wrong here I did not say that I was smarter than he. As a matter of fact I think it was the exact opposite. He always thought he was smarter than I, and then when I went back to school I pretty much leveled the playing field, so to speak. This I believe threatened his self esteem.
I also at that time discovered I had a voice and was no longer afraid to use it when I felt a need to express myself to him. However in return that new found ability brought only resentment and close mindedness from him. Communication was never that good between us. I was the feeler and talker. He used two ways of communication, one being verbally abrasive and abusive or two; keep it in.
He would say “I do not want to talk about it. End of discussion”.
As time went on the walls between us seemed to grow taller and thicker and I felt myself suffocating. I was never able to say what I felt or what I thought for fear of being teased or criticized.
I giving full disclosure in this opinion. I am a recovering addict. It took me a long time to find the courage to admit that I had a problem. However being open and honest about this part of my life is part of the recovery program. I had a long history of drug abuse. My drugs of choice were marijuana and cocaine. I have since cleaned up my act and as of August I will be clean for two years. I started using pot in high school and then coke in my twenties. I began to become dependent on both as both were helping me to kill the pain that I felt inside as I watched my marriage crumble. We were both users, and every time I tried to stop and believe me I tried many, many times I would always end up back in the fast lane, so to speak. It was easier to give in to his enabling behavior, then to suffer with his abuse.
I felt the quell of the beast so to speak while not realizing that all the while I was enabling the beast’s fury. The fury was that of a vicious circle. I began to look at my life, and what I valued as important. The first and foremost were my children and then my sanity. That in itself presented the problem of how can I be there for my children if I cannot be there for myself. I could not change him, his attitude, or his behavior. I had to save myself, so as to be there for my children.
Dealing with an abusive and bully of a husband was the least of my problems. It became evident to me that other issues I had kept buried for a long time were beginning to emerge from the quagmire of my mind. These issues are the reason that I began to use drugs in the first place; however I did not realize it then. In my teens, I wanted to fit in with my peers. I wanted to escape the pain of being molested by a neighbor at a young age. I wanted to escape the guilt I felt for never telling my parents as I was made to feel so ashamed. I also wanted to prove that I was invincible.
My older sister, Pat, was a registered nurse and she saw the signs of depression that I was showing. She urged me to get help. I took her advice. I began to look deep inside of myself to see where I was, and to visualize where I wanted to be in the future. My unconscious was coming to life, and my substance abuse was not helping to kill the pain anymore. I needed to help myself, as no one else would. It was time for me to change my world before my world forever changed me.
The previous events and factors acted as dominoes. They were all lined up and once the first one fell the rest then followed. The first dominos to fall were the losses of my Aunt and Grandmother and the depression I felt after their loss. Recognizing my depression additionally acted as a catalyst for change in my life. Combine this catalyst with yet a couple more life altering events and one then has a new life plan laid before them. New choices, paths and perspectives to be contemplated and then life altering decisions needed to be made. The next domino to fall was perhaps the most life altering of them all.
I write now about my dearest cousin, Marion. I say cousin but in truth she was really more like an Aunt to me. She grew up with my Mother and her family, and my Grandmother took care of her like she was one of her own children. For my entire life I have been calling her Aunty Marion, and that is how my sweet children refer to her as well. A wonderful woman, she was caring and generous. Perhaps she gave too much; Lord knows she never asked for anything in return. But she had vast respect and love from every one she ever came in contact with during her fifty seven years in this world.
Marion had been a teacher for nearly thirty years. She taught math to sixth graders in the Medford Public School System. She belonged to a close circle of friends, who were also teachers. Although she had no other family aside from her cousins she was always welcomed and her company enjoyed at all family festivities.
Marion’s mother, my great aunt Frances, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was older. While Marion was growing up her childhood had been anything but pleasant, according to my Mom. In actuality it is probable that her mother’s schizophrenia went undiagnosed for many years. During the 1940’s those things were not openly discussed, and mental illness was hidden away and kept a deep dark secret. Even today with all the advances and discoveries it is still an uncomfortable subject for many people and those who are diagnosed with such illnesses are misunderstood and often viewed as pariahs.
Aunt Frances was tyrannical and demanding, and she ran Marion’s life up until the day she died. My mother’s family had Marion over as often as they could. My Nana knew what her sister, was like and could not bare the thoughts of Marion having to grow up under those circumstances. So Marion was adopted into the family as much as Frances would let my Nana get away with. My Mother and Arlene considered her as another sister.
She put herself through college as according to her mother there was no money to pay for her tuition. So Marian worked her way through Boston College and earned her teaching degree. Later much to Marian’s surprise when she admitted her mother to the nursing home in 1992 she discovered that her mother’s bank account balance showed in excess of $100,000.00. Thus her parents did possess the means to help with her college education, yet her mother who ruled the roost chose not to. It is one thing to not have the means to help your child through college; it is another all together to lie to your child about it.
Little did we know what kind of pain and scars were being inflicted upon Marion. Growing up in a home such as that could not have been easy for anyone to deal with. The circumstances left their mark even though she kept them hidden deep inside. Outwardly she was the exact opposite of her Mother, caring, loving, and a joy to have around. While inside, behind her Irish blue eyes she was forever striving to overcome the pain and scars that lurked within.
Well, let me go on to the story at hand. It was January the second, and the time was 8:40am and I had been asleep. I worked evenings at a local hospital and my shift did not end until 11:30 pm, which in turn meant by the time I got home and could wind down from work it was sometimes after 1 am or closer to 2am before I would get to bed. Christmas vacation break was still ongoing thus my husband had already left his sleeping family and gone to work.
Deep within my slumber I could hear a phone ringing and ringing. Yet my subconscious would not allow me to move my body so that I might answer the phone placed on the night stand next to my bed.
A few moments later, my two daughters came in to my bedroom.
My ten year old daughter, Lindsey, spoke softly; “Mama, Nana just called and left a message on the answering machine. Her and Grampy, are on their way down here.”
With that I was instantly awake. There could only be one reason that would bring them here this early in the morning. Someone was sick, or something had happened. I briefly, thought back to yesterday evening, New Years night, when I was working. I had felt this overwhelming urge to call my Nana. The urge was so strong, that I was actually standing at the phone with my hand on it and ready to dial her phone number which is imbedded in my mind for eternity; Ex5-6567. The only problem with this action was that as you know my beloved grandmother had been dead for almost two years now. Yet the urge was so strong. It was like I used to get when she was alive and thinking about me. Nana, my mother and I all had that special quality about us. We’re Irish, and our sixth sense has a tendency to be stronger than others for some reason. We would all receive premonitions from time to time. I shook off the feeling and said a quick prayer to her and God and then went about my job, and put the thought out of my mind.
When Lindsey and Caitie woke me up, that thought came back first thing, and I knew that last night I had missed a signal. The details of that particular signal were lost on me, however I got the distinct feeling that I would be finding out very soon.
Caitie and Lindsey stood by the bed watching me.
I spoke and said “Yes, I heard you. Nana and Grampy are coming right down now?”
Lindsey answered, “Yes that what she said.”
I let out a heavy sigh and then sat up and swung my legs out of bed onto the floor. Caitie had got my slippers from my side of the bed and I slipped my feet into them. I then got up and proceeded to open the mini blinds in my bedroom and then went on to the bathroom for the morning visit.
Finished in the bathroom I continued opening the rest of the upstairs blinds in the girl’s bedrooms. Letting the little bit of gray light from the overcast, cold, gray January sky attempt to light up the rooms. I cursed the weather. It looked so depressing, and down deep in my heart I felt something ominous coming my way. My heart felt very heavy, and the hairs on the back of my neck were rising in a slow spreading chill.
Walking by my son, Michael’s room, I stood outside the closed door and listened for sounds of his waking. Hearing nothing, I passed by and headed downstairs. Michael was still asleep. His best friend Eric had stayed the night so I imagine they had been up late. Let them sleep, I thought, it will be two less personalities to deal with when my parents arrive with their news.
The girls had gone down stairs ahead of me and were once again absorbed in their cartoons by the time I reached the foyer on the first floor. Coming off of the stairs I was greeted by the family’s trusty mutt, Anheuser, impatiently waiting out to go out and do his morning deed. As usual he pressed his cold, wet muzzle against my derriere. What a shock that is, you can feel it right through the pajama bottoms. One would think I would get used to it or better still that Anheuser would know that I am the same woman that has been coming down those stairs in the morning since his adoption into this family four years ago. Why does he have to smell me every time? Dogs! Anyway I digress. Our trusty mutt followed me through the kitchen and to the back door. I let him out the back door and put him on his run. Giving him a stern warning; do not get tangled and to keep quiet. Anheuser has always been a vocal dog. His favorite two past times, are barking at anything and chewing on tennis balls.
Coming back in to the kitchen I glanced at the clock. Approximately seven minutes had passed, and I expected my parents to arrive any moment now. I then opened the shades and the blinds in the downstairs rooms. That task completed, I thought briefly about pouring myself a hot cup of coffee, but then decided to forego that for right now. Instead I went to the front door and stood at the sidelight and gazed out while I waited for my parents. The slow spreading chill was spreading down my back now and my heart was pumping a little quicker.
Sure enough, within minutes my parents pulled up in front of the house. I could see my Mom looking at the house. From the look on her face I could see that she was wondering if we had heard the phone message and whether we were up. I opened the front door and waved to her. She waved and smiled back, but it was not a smile that reached her eyes. She was very pale and my Dad did not look any better.
They came up on the porch and I opened the screen door for them and told them to come in. They stepped in and my Mother looked at me with tears in her eyes. The woman looked like she had aged ten years in just the few days since I had last seen her. What in God’s name had happened? I looked into her eyes and asked what was wrong. She then gave me the news and God in heaven could never have prepared me for what I heard. My cousin, Marion O’Malley, was dead. She had committed suicide on New Years morning sometime. I felt the world first tilt and then slide and I reached out and grabbed hold of my Mom and squeezed her with all my strength as I tried desperately to understand and cried out how, and why. We were both crying and my Dad was trying to hold on to the both of us to give us what little comfort he could, under the circumstances.
Marion had just been here on Christmas day with our family. Together, with my parents and my mother-in-law, we had all celebrated a wonderful Christmas together. How could this have happened? She had been a bit quiet that day, and said she thought she was coming down with a cold. So instead of her usual easy going and jovial self she was very pensive. The usual questions were not asked of the children, or me, as to how school was going? This was totally unlike Marion as she was always interested in our lives. Instead she sat there and quietly observed the festivities of the day. We had all been through an awful bout of the cold that seemed to last forever and we sympathized with her and accepted her quiet manner, because she was not feeling well. Little did we know that she was actually absorbed with her own self destruction?
Why Marion? Why did you not ask someone or tell someone how you were feeling. Our family has suffered too much in the last five years, and to commit this act without first reaching out is something we do not understand. Did we not have compassion, did we not love you? Was life that bad that you felt you did not belong with us for many more years? What an incredible waste of life for such a beautiful, intelligent, and fun loving woman.
I go from sadness to anger and back again. My mother is also prone to depression and she has been dealing with the grief of losing a sister, mother and now a very close cousin, actually almost another sister. She is blaming herself because she knew something was wrong. She worries about everyone and her own health has been not been the greatest of late. How dare you put yet another burden on her! How dare you do that to my mother who loved you and cared about you and who is blaming herself for not pushing you for answers as to why you seemed so down and unconcerned with life lately. I really am so angry I could just spit for what you are doing to this family.
It is very much like a jig saw puzzle and the family was trying to piece together the hours and minutes of Marion’s life. A devout Catholic, she trusted in God, that He would end her suffering and take her to a better place. She apologized in her suicide note for committing this act, and asked forgiveness for the burden which she placed upon us. She also stated that she believed she was full of cancer and she could not take the pain anymore. She complained of a lump in her leg and the pain was so great, it only felt better when she lied down. She knew the cancer had spread up her legs and into her belly.
Her note also stated where all of her financial papers could be found. Her life was extremely organized and the planning that went into this last desperate act of hers was obvious. On the seventeenth of December she had made out her last will and testament. All of her affairs were in order, and she even went so far as to buy herself a beautiful blue dress with a lace collar. The dress was found hanging in the center of her closet, and all of her other clothes had been pushed to the side.
This change of events tore the family apart. How could someone as gentle and caring as this face their private and worst nightmare and not reach out for help? Why did she not tell anyone before this? Why did she not reach out for help that was most certainly there for her? Why did she just take it upon herself to end her life in this matter? We could not believe or understand how she faced this horror alone for those previous months of dark despair. Sometime between her return to school in September and the holidays her mind somehow snapped.
Depression is a terrible dark place to sink into and so very difficult to get out of with no help, and if one does not seek out help then it must be a truly terrifying state to be in and face alone. I know this as I have been in that same place myself. I had focus and more reasons to push on. However, we are talking about Marion now though.
She was dressed in her robe and pajamas. Her bed was already made, and there were no lights on so we assume she got up in that New Year’s Day morning and just decided to go through with it, but we will never know for sure. Mean while the family is grasping for those missing pieces and trying to make some sense out of this, but unfortunately one’s mind seems to delve into the actual event and we get upset and force ourselves stop thinking about it, because the horror and the pain is too much for us to bear. There are so many unanswered questions which will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Why, why, why?!
Hanging oneself has got to be the most violent and awful way to die, alone and struggling against the rope which is squeezing your windpipe closed. By choice she did this. Tying the hangman’s knot and then placing the rope over the beam. Climbing up on the chair and putting the rope over her head. Lastly feeling the rope tied around her neck before she stepped off of the chair. What was she thinking at that point? What courage and strength she must have possessed. Was it courage? Or was it the easy way out? Some will say that suicide is the act of a coward. One cannot stand up to life’s adversities so they take the easy way out.
Upon looking at all that occurred with Marion and her life I see it as an act of generosity very typical of her personality. Knowing that our family had been through so much with the last seven years and not wanting to burden us with her troubles. I cannot imagine it from her point of view. Yet again knowing all that I do know about her, her life and what emotional scars she must have been carrying for so long I could empathize with her plight.
We would not now any medical information until the we received the coroners report, which would not be for six weeks or so. When we did get the report it was discovered that the pain in her legs was an ordinary deep vein thrombosis. Yes they did cause pain but were easily remedied. There were no signs of cancer whatsoever. Physically she was in good health. She had herself convinced that she was sick.
As Marion’s parents were deceased, and she was an only child and had never married or had children. She did not want to burden anyone with her care. Having watched my mother care for her sister Arlene and then her Mother, Marion did not want to put my mother through any more burdens. She truly believed that she was terminally ill and she did not want to burden the family. That is Marion for you, always thinking of others before herself. When I heard that it made it somehow a little easier to accept.
Marion was found by Harold who lived next to her. He was my Mother’s cousin. As Marion had had been home alone on New Year’s Eve and when Harold had come home later, at approximately one o’clock in the morning there were no lights on so he assumed she had gone to bed. My mother had spoken to her at about six thirty that evening. Several phone calls during New Years Day failed to get any response. Her answering machine had been turned off. Harold had called my Mother and asked if Marion was with her, and when Mom said No, Harold decided to go over and check on her.
No response at the door initiated Harold to use his key to enter Marion’s house. I am not sure of the details as this part of the nightmare has not been clearly explained to me. What I do know is that he found Marion had hung herself down in the basement of her home. Harold then ran back to his house to call the police and the family.
Marion’s wake and funeral was something to behold. A Sunday afternoon and evening wake,on the same day when the New England Patriots football team was playing a championship game. The family thought that the funeral home would be quiet in the afternoon, and most people would wait and come in the evening. We were wrong. There was a line of people out the door and waiting around the corner. The sidewalk was full of people bundled against the cold. One after the other somber faces with fluming wisps of exhalation billowing out from their noses and mouths stood as they waited in line. Marion was so known and loved by so many and they all came to pay their respects. For two hours this went on and then again the same thing during the evening visiting hours. It was incredible.
Surely, she had to have realized how many loved and cared for her. People and more people gathered in small clusters, consoling and talking. All were either crying or shaking their heads in confusion and sorrow. Grief and disbelief was present everywhere you looked and heart wrenching to behold.
The funeral at the church the following day was so very sad and yet so beautiful. High cathedral ceilings caught all sound from below and then bounced it all through the church. You could have heard a pin drop. The organist played notes that seemed to ease their way through one’s entire body. The sun blessed us that day and came out even though the temperature was cold and the winds from the east chilled one to the bone. Bright light tinted with the stained glass windows brought warmth to the oak wood. The Christmas poinsettias and evergreens were still on display as Marion loved the Christmas season. Their scent combined with the aroma of bees wax candles and pleasantly wafted with the air.
The service itself was heart wrenching. Marion’s friends arranged for a soloist and a brass orchestra, during the mass. There was also a lone bag piper outside the church and at the cemetery. The poignant notes carried on the wind are an experience that grabs hold of one’s heart and squeezes the sadness out from deep within one’s soul. It was an experience that I will never forget for as long as I live. To this day whenever I hear bagpipes my mind flashes back to that day.
Everything was arranged as she would have wanted. It was an incredibly way to bid adieu to a most beautiful and caring woman. Fare well Marion, and I pray to God that you are at peace with yourself. Rest easy, we will get on with our lives, and someday we may find that pain has gotten a little bit easier to bare. We loved you as our own, and we are truly sorry if we missed any signals you may have tried to send us. You were not physically ill, and you should have sought help. Anyone of us would have helped you in anyway we could. You have to know that. Even though you had no immediate family, you still had a family that loved and cared for you.
When my time comes, and if I run into you up in heaven, be sure that I will have some choice words for you, regardless. Until I get a full picture of your situation I will not understand why you did this to us. Meanwhile I am sure both my Aunt Arlene and Nana are with you now and hopefully they are telling you what a fool you were for doing committing this heinous act. I love you still because of the way you were before you fell into your despair.
As I had said depression runs in my family, I have seen it with my Grandmother and my Mother, as well as with myself on occasion. I need to be strong, so that my Mother can lean on me, as I used to depend on her when I was younger. It is now time for the cycle of life to reverse itself, and you find that your parents start to depend on you, instead of vice versa. They were always there for me, and I want to make sure that I can be there for her and Dad. I cannot let Marion’s senseless and selfish act reap any more harm than it already has. I do not know if she realized the pain she caused. I believe that if she was truly of sound mind, she would not have done this terrible thing, because intentionally hurting anyone was not Marion’s way.
The deed has been done and there is now way to turn back the hands of time. This family is trying to deal with the horror of the situation and we reflect back to different warning signs that were overlooked or missed. Guilt weighed heavy on everyone one of us. Yet at the same time, we should not blame ourselves. We all know that if we had been asked to help her we would have.
So I sat there at my computer on the tenth of January. Eight days had passed since I learned of her death. I felt a little better but I could help but to shake my head in confusion still. I sat down and began to write. I wrote as if possessed. Thoughts and feelings were expelled from my mind and through my fingers and then carried to the keyboard and finally the hard drive. Perhaps it was the grieving process that put me there. I have always found that I express myself much better with written words, as opposed to verbal communication. This task has helped me to attempt to see from Marion’s point of view, release some anger, and lastly say good bye to her and bring about some closure. Most of all it helped me to understand why her senseless and self inflicted death had occurred.
Maybe I would not cry that day, and maybe I would. The depression comes on suddenly without warning and then goes away. I find myself focusing on my children. They are our path to the future, and they are so very important. Marion had no children of her own to look to, so I desperately cling to mine, for deep down I fear that I too may someday fall down into the deep dark well of depression. I must be strong for them. I must clean up my act. I am intelligent, fun loving, and love to write, as well as have many other positive attributes. I have much to offer. There is much out there in the world that I wish to achieve, succeed at and experience.
It is hard to understand why God sometimes puts people through so much pain and stress. Some say that God does not put anymore strife upon us than we can handle. I am not so sure about that belief. Sometimes I feel that our God is not so loving. She or He brings us right to the edge before backing off a bit and lets us go on with our lives for a while longer in a semi happy state. But that is a question that will never be answered. So I will stop here and hopefully every day the pain will lessened our lives will brighten.
Forgive me if at times I may have rambled. Sometimes that is what we writers do. We write from the heart, we write to feel, we write to cleanse our hearts. We write hoping that it will make us feel better. For me the act of writing helped me to expel the horror which incessantly played the same scenes over and over again like an old black and white silent movie, full of shadows and jerky motions.
Why am I writing about this again today, seven years later? I am involved only in the sense of how the backlash of falling dominos affected my life then; and how it affects my life now. Like ripples in a pond, one action brings about an effect on another. These changes may be positive or negative. Everyone has choices. And it is in the choosing of the path, be it the easy way or the hard way that shapes us all in the end.
The preceding events, albeit sad, still acted like a domino effect for positive change in my life. Change is never easy, and sometimes it is very difficult. No one, however ever said life would be easy and the first step to change is a little like taking a blind step off of a cliff. None the less, the step needs to be taken, and all the steps that follow even if they are just baby steps.
I have looked inside myself. I have discovered a new me, a gay me. She was always there tucked away in my subconscious. It took me twenty years to finally realize why I always felt so out of step and not comfortable with who I was. Probably explains alot of my addictions too, I was trying to bury alot of shit. Twenty years ago was not such an easy time to be gay as it is now. So here I am the new me the healthy me and the happy me.
I look back over the last couple of years. Where I am now and what I had to sacrifice to get here. The sacrifices are far outweighed by the positives that I have gained. I know who I am and where I am going. I am blessed to have found the most loving, caring and supportive partner any one could ask for. Additionally I am on my way back to wellness and believing in myself. And most importantly I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it does not seem anywhere near as far as it used to be a couple of years ago.
So if your dominos begin to fall please take this humble survivors advice. First remember that my dominos fell one right after the other as they most often do. With that a person can easily become overwhelmed and desperate. Breathe deep and slow and take those first steps even if they seem blind, they are not. If you stumble, get back up and push on. Do not be afraid of the darkness, seek the light that is waiting and climb out of your abyss. You will find that in the end the rewards of the journey will always outweigh the effort of change it took to get there.