not a ghost story, even though it occurred at a time when I was seriously
considering becoming one. Easter last year was a dark time in my life,
the darkest in ten years, but infinitely worse somehow because at
the age of 20, I knew things I had not known when I was ten. Having
been through it already, I knew what grief and depression were like,
the periods of frozen time, of heartbreak and intense loneliness.
I knew how sometimes the pain would rise inside and choke the tears
in my eyes and throat, when I would cry but I couldn't because the
pain was too deep for tears. Of course, in the intervening decade
I had also learned quite a lot about death and killing oneself.
Ten years after the original hell, Easter came around and my world
shattered like it had never healed at all. Apocalypse & Co. rode
in to wreak havoc. Death. War. Grief. Loneliness. Heartbreak. It was
the end of dreams and life as I'd know them.
Depression hit full force, and although I stumbled through life with
an outer semblance of normality, I was anything but okay. The breaking
point came one night when I was alone in the house, and there was
only football on TV. I had no idea how long a night could be until
I sat through a whole one with no TV worth watching and no one to
talk to. Sitting in the kitchen, drinking neat vodka and waiting for
dawn, I broke. Something inside me just gave up and I decided to slash
The pain inside my heart was so great that it knew no respite or reason,
and I thought that perhaps I might still it with blood - with pain
of the flesh - with the glint of bone being laid bare. For an instant
I teetered over my decision to kill myself, but then stepped onto
the road beyond.
I walked over to where the knives were kept, and then, sitting at
the kitchen table and sharpening a knife, I saw it. It was a form
in the corner of the kitchen, an uncertain shape trying to assemble
itself from shadow and light. It had the barest hint of a face, but
its wings were spun of hazy radiance.
I knew it was my Guardian, my angel. I did not know its name then,
but I had always known this angel. It had been with me as a presence
at my back, reassuring me, giving me advice and guidance, doing its
best to protect me. We were suspended in space; time stood still.
The angel's light seemed quiet and subdued and its hands were folded.
I knew that it would not try to stop me. It spoke: a word slowly crystallized
and drifted between us.
"Sorrow," it repeated as I brought the knife to the inside
of my wrist where the skin is tender and you can feel the pulsing
of your life. Despair drifted in like mist from the Highlands, and
heartbreak dwelled there too.
"Sorrow," the angel said, and its voice embodied women throwing
themselves from the tops of towers and falling forever, bodies hanging
in the sunless dawn, desperate souls leaping off rocks or wading into
the sea to drown.
Hollowness and Emptiness snuggled against each other. Despair looked
on. Loneliness kissed me, and sorrow of course, and heartbreak...
I don't know if angel's hearts can be broken, but I know that this
angel wasn't angry. No flaming sword, no wrath, no condemnation. It
was there to see me leave the world, just as it had been there when
I had entered it. My Guardian. The shepherd of souls. I hadn't known
until then that it could feel pain, but it echoed my sadness.
He could not stop me, he could not comfort and I couldn't be comforted;
my spirit was broken and couldn't be healed. Hollowness and Emptiness
fitted together like spoons while Despair looked on, because it couldn't
speak and had no words but one.
"Sorrow," the angel said again, and I wanted to say I'm
sorry, but couldn't because I had no words or tears either. Blood
welled beneath the edge of the blade like a rose. I left my body,
stepping out of it like I would from a pair of jeans, left it to run
on auto and cut its wrists open. The angel reached out its hand to
me and for a moment I floated between worlds. Waves of feeling flowed
through me, but there was no condemnation, no anger. Again I knew
that my decision to end my life would not be punished, the only things
I felt were Love and Sorrow.
I guess it was that tandem that made me turn back and decide to live
after all. I slipped back into my body and the blood stopped flowing.
And I lived.
I told no one about my mangled suicide attempt, or about the angel
in the kitchen. I just wore lots of bracelets to hide the marks on
my wrists and said I had been mauled by brambles.
The Longest Night was a turning point. I had lost it completely, and
I slowly regained my faith. Now my life is stable and brighter than
ever before. My spirit began to heal that day, and it has been healing
since. I hold the angel in my heart like a secret, which is not to
say that I have not been depressed again, or that I'm immune to dark
times. I simply understand them now as footholds in the ladder of
spiritual growth, and whenever I hurt again, I think of my angel and
how I'm loved unconditionally, and it comforts me. It helps me love
in return, it helps me open my soul to the guidance and the abundance
of the Universe.
I know that I am cherished and loved, and I know that I am supported
beyond reason. If I have a single prayer, I pray that I never forget
the above again.