Thursday, April 23, 2009


Carbon is the backbone of all life on earth. One little element, capable of hooking itself up with a small group of other heavy-hitters, in millions of combinations that result in living organisms. I cracked open my science text yesterday and started studying saturated hydrocarbons, when I got a text message.

My cousin, Melissa, had given birth to her first child, a darling and perfect little boy, pink-faced, squinting, and still smeared with just a touch of vernix. An email was sent shortly following with the pictures, and I got all teary-eyed, remembering moments, four times over, when new life was placed in my arms, and I thought to myself, 'I did this?' No doubt of the power of the electron bonding between new mother and child. Strong as steel. I mean, carbon.

Only hours later I received a call that someone very, very dear to me had been admitted to the hospital after a nearly-successful suicide attempt. My world started spinning. My heart started pounding. Tears streamed forth, vastly different tears. One carbon-based organism trying fervently to reach across state lines through heart strings to bond with another carbon-based organism who desperately needs a positive charge.

Now what?

My soul alternates between celebration and mourning. Between life and the threat of death.

This is hard. So hard.

New life fizzing over. Tired life gone flat.

How do I re-carbonate a flat life?

Something about those bonds. . .covalent bonds, where electrons are shared, not given up. I have to somehow share this burden and in doing so, offer something where there is currently not enough.

My electrons, all of them, are hers for the taking.


Abby said...

I think we all had the same reaction. I called O who was on his way home from work..and I screamed and cried about what was going on. It's terrifying. I wish I could be there to take care of her. To fly her out here and keep her safe. She's very much loved, that one. Very much.

Thanks for putting it out there in the way that you did. I'm still not sure how to word it. You did it perfectly.

Love you!

Rachel Sue said...

My heart feels for you. About 2 months ago my cousin Melissa lost her little newborn baby. And my heart desperatly tried to reach across state lines to send her love and strength.

I did everything I could from 6 states away to try and build her spirits and give her happiness where there was so much despair. And you know what? Even though I haven't spoken to her, and I have only just been able to track down her address, I spoke to her sister recently. She told me that even though she is so far away from so much family, she has physically felt the love and prayers holding her up.

So keep sending those positive charges and prayers to your loved one. She will know. Even miles away.

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful and hear-wrenching post. I am so sorry about the suicide attempt. Life is so precious and fragile.

Megan said...

Encircled with positive energy. It makes a difference--even in the smallest particles on the earth. The quote "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." comes to mind.

Isn't it interesting how polar opposites (life and death) cause so much dissonance and yet draw together.

Wonder Woman said...

Beautifully written and connected.

My heart aches for you and your friend. I hope she can find love and healing.

Heather Justesen said...

It's so hard when someone we care about doesn't see the importance or strength to keep living. I'm sorry, and hope this person you care about will recover and that you and others who love her will be able to help her!

Summer said...

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I dealt with the suicide of two friends as a teen and then the near suicide of another shortly after. I wasn't in the best frame of mind myself at the time and wonder how I came out alive and well. Suicide/near suicide is horribly painful for all involved.

Jenna Wood said...

Jenna, I'm aching for you! How wonderful and how horrible at the same time. I am reminded of just how beautiful your writing is.

It's been a while, but I'm glad I popped in to say HI.

Misty said...

wow... my heart is literally in pain. Oh Jenna, such extreme emotions in such a small amount of time. How are you doing? How is your friend?

Julie Wright said...

Oh wow, what a beautiful way to put this. I hope everything turns out okay and your friend can get the love and help she needs.