Yellow ribbons for life
Something was wrong with me when I came home from Japan.
The wrongness sat with me for months, unidentified and unidentifiable until I sat waiting to turn at a T-intersection and saw a big rig barrelling down the street toward me.
I imagined taking my foot off the brake, and the subsequent peace of no longer having to struggle.
Thanks to that brief vision, I was finally able to identify what was wrong: depression.
I couldn’t name it–or work to ease it–until I could really see it.
Someone I love has been struggling extra hard recently.
This friend told me today that last weekend they were closer to suicide than ever before.
My heart caught, hearing that. “Please call me,” I entreated. “Please call.”
As I drove away from my friend, I thought about what I’d said.
I thought about my very first webpage, and a program I’d once featured as inspirational. Lights for Life distributed–and continues to distribute–cards with yellow ribbons on them. These cards are an alternative to having to try to explain. They give youth who are considering suicide a way to reach out for help without needing to focus on finding words.
Sometimes, there are no words adequate to express what someone is feeling. Sometimes, they can’t be found. Sometimes, the act of reaching out itself can seem so monumental the thought of adding words on top feels impossible.
Sometimes, words are not the answer.
Today I will send my friend this picture, and say it’s OK to text me this image if words won’t work.
I don’t need words to listen. I don’t need words to hear.
For all the words I pour out endlessly, I know well words’ weaknesses,
and hope that my friends know they can
always, always, send a yellow ribbon,
and that I will understand
and lend heart and hands
without judgment and