A Beautiful Soul
Do you know how hard it is to write about someone who is so dear to your heart, someone who crosses your mind every day, someone who you are still heartbroken over day after day? It’s extremely hard. I have decided to tell the story of Shelby for many reasons. I have finally gotten the courage to sit through the tears and tell you this story.
I met Shelby through my Aunt and her mom, Sandy, when we were just six years old! My Aunt came to me one day and asked, “How would you feel about meeting my friend’s daughter? She is the same age as you and they only live down the block. She lives here in the summer with her mom.” I hesitantly agreed. I was extremely shy and didn’t make friends that easy. They were having a huge BBQ and we were invited. When I first met her step dad, Chris, I was terrified and I’m not exaggerating. He would always tell me about the face I made at him the first time I met him! He was this tall, huge, macho man. On the inside he was just a huge teddy bear, though. I loved Sandy from the beginning. She was sweet and welcoming. Shelby on the other hand was…. Bossy. I was not used to bossy. There was a bunch of kids there the first time I was over. They were either outside or in Shelby’s room. I was told Shelby was in her room with some of the kids. I sat on her bed and watched them play. All of the sudden Shelby says in a sassy tone, “Are you going to play with us or what?” I responded, “Yeah.. I guess”. No one had been so up front and blunt with me before, but I needed that in my life. She brought this other side out in me. Ever since then we were inseparable. We would have sleepover after sleepover after sleepover. We always had the best of times together and did the craziest things! She was such a funny girl with a beautiful soul!
Our favorite thing to do in the summer was go out on the trampoline and make up these little sketches. We would get the neighbor kids involved and then we would invite everyone to watch us act them out. I don’t think we got through half of them because we were giggling the whole time. We also loved to jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler on underneath. But her mom had this rule that it had to be 80 degrees or higher. This one day it wasn’t hot enough but we wanted the sprinkler, so Shelby took the thermostat when her mom wasn’t looking and sat on it until it was at 80. Then we rushed to show her mom but our plan didn’t work very well because it slowly went back down to 75 when we were showing her mom. Busted! She was such a goof! One night we took showers and then put on P.J.’s. We first showed her mom that we could wear the bottoms all the way up our bellies like an old man. Then we went to her room, stuffed our bottoms with clothes, then went back down for more picture taking. We always went to this swimming pool in the summertime. We would spend hours playing in the water. We would always go to the vending machine and get a Carmelo and BBQ Fritos. I still go to that swimming pool and when I walk past the vending machine I can’t help but eat the same funky snack combo.
Her mom and Chris moved to Wisconsin and we lost touch for a while. One day a received a call from her and we got caught up on each other’s lives. She was getting in a lot of trouble but I don’t think I ever found the seriousness in what she had told me. One summer she had invited me to visit them in Wisconsin. A week or two before I was supposed to be there I got a call from Shelby. She answered crying. I asked her what was wrong. She had gotten in a lot of trouble and I wasn’t allowed to come anymore. I was devastated. I walked down stairs and handed the phone to my step mom, she spoke to Sandy. Sandy never mentioned what Shelby had done but we could assume it was major.
We were finally at the age to have cell phones so we texted a lot. She got out an hour earlier then me because of the time difference so I always had a text waiting for me after school. The summer I was going into 9th grade I was invited to see Shelby in Wisconsin again. I got off the plane and there was that beautiful read head girl! I was so ecstatic to see them both again! We had the best week and it was like we had never lost touch. That was the last time I saw Shelby and I will never forget her. We still kept in touch through texting. But she started telling me stuff she was doing that I just didn’t agree with. So we got in a fight and we didn’t talk again. I regret every day fighting with her because I would do anything to hug her one more time, to hear her voice again, to see her smile just one more time.
Summer before junior year rolled around. Shelby texted me. We had a conversation. Nothing spectacular, nothing out of the ordinary. She told me about this guy she was talking to and asked me if I was still dating Garrett. Two weeks later my mom told me that my dad was picking me up because he needed to tell me something. I paced back in forth by the front door waiting for him. Never in a million years would I have guessed that what he was about to tell me was what he was going to tell me. He parked the car at a park down the street. He got out of the car, opened my door, and stood by me and told me that Shelby had died. I have never been in so much complete and utter shock! Immediate tears ran down my face and all I could ask was “How?” My dad told me that Sandy couldn’t get much out on the phone and wasn’t willing to share anything else. We ran through ideas of what had happened. Suicide was one of them but I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe that she was gone at all. I cried all the way up to the funeral, I was in so much pain. Even after the funeral I went through a time where if I just closed my eyes I could see her. She was asking me to join her and it was extremely scary. I was so heartbroken. I just wanted the pain to leave. We drove to the funeral in Kansas, where she lived with her dad. We walked into the funeral home, her dad said, “You must be Amanda. Shelby loved you very much.” He reached in for a hug and I just broke down in tears. There was a time at the funeral set aside for everyone to share stories of Shelby. There were so many people at the funeral that people were standing outside the main room we were in. People were standing between isles and next to pews everywhere they could. A lot of the people that were sharing were people that knew her from school. No one that knew her mom shared so I got up in front of all those people. I couldn’t even speak the first few seconds because I was crying so hard. I shared this story about this epic water fight we had one summer because I think it explained Shelby and the summer fun we had perfectly. When we left the funeral we had lunch at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. We sat down and my Aunt said, “I think Amanda needs to know how Shelby died so she can grieve properly.” Sandy shared that Shelby had committed suicide. She comforted me by telling me that it was quick and Shelby did not suffer in pain. But this is the problem suicide is so quick.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2013, which in the most recent data. 41,149 suicide deaths were reported in 2013. That means that every 12.8 minutes someone in the U.S. committed suicide in 2013. Suicide is a quick resolution for a current feeling, when suicide is a permanent decision that people can’t take back. If you or someone you know is showing suicidal signs please find help. You’re not alone in this world and you are most certainly not the only one suffering in this world either. An estimated 121 Million people around the world suffer from some form of depression. I share Shelby’s story because her decision affected many people’s lives including her own! She touched many lives and those many lives suffer the loss of her day in and day out. Please seek help if you have or had suicidal thoughts. You can call 1 (800) 273-8255 to talk to a specialist with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
I encourage you to help me prevent suicide! I have decided to donate the money I make from this blog to the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program. I make money when you click on the ads on my website! So click often and on every ad from today until August 30th! Remember to always share your stories and Shelby’s! I hope to make a difference and I need your help doing it!
Always remember you are amazing and you are an inspiration! Thanks for reading.
For all the beautiful souls that shall never be forgotten,