My heart is aching for the girls of Chi Omega at Tulane. Earlier this weekend, one of their members took her own life. I don’t know the details and I don’t know the story, but I understand their pain and sorrow and grief because I remember how it feels to be caught in the confusion and chaos that a death like this causes.
It hurts to know that a young woman, a sister, who spoke the same oath as me at every meeting, who memorized the Chi Omega Symphony and must have heard/spoke/seen “To be womanly always, to be discouraged never” at least a million times, felt a hopelessness so deep, so dark. It hurts to know that there are other young women, sisters, left behind who are broken and confused, and way too young to have to deal with the heaviness of death.
So to my Rho sisters, I know I don’t know you, but I hope you can find comfort and courage in this advice. Losing Keller took a lot of things away from me, but the process of dealing with it is has given me a few things as well.
Lean on each other. Cry with each other. Times will get blurry over the next few weeks, but that’s okay – you’ll remember the important things. Pray, even if it’s not to anyone/anything in particular. Saying the words out loud will help you process your feelings. Don’t try and find answers, because we’re not meant to know them right now. Hold each other accountable and make sure that no one is dealing with this on their own. Remember her in the good times and the bad, the funny times, the embarrassing times, the drunken memories, all of it. Talk about those memories and when the time feels right, laugh about those memories. Laughter will become sweet medicine. Save pictures of her – seeing her face will hurt at the beginning, but it will become a comforting reminder of precious friend in time. Stay in touch with her parents. Let them know that she is still a part of your life and Chi Omega, and that she is always loved and always remembered. Celebrate her. Celebrate her life and her joy and her light. Celebrate her birthday each year. Celebrate how Chi Omega brought you together. Do not let the circumstances change the way you see her. Grieve for her and mourn for her and miss her as much as you need to, but don’t forget to celebrate her. By choosing to see the seemingly absent light on the horizon, you will lift each other up and together, you will get through this. You will never move on or leave her behind, but you can help each other move forward.
You will be okay. You will always miss and love her, but you will be okay. You will have some hard times and some long nights that seem never-ending, but you will be okay. I promise.