Saturday, June 11, 2011

N is for News

This morning I got an email from a girl that was one of my very best friends in high school titled "News".

Only it wasn't from her.

It was from her wife, Sue.

Tuesday evening, Chelsea Markell took her own life. She was very sick and had been in daily, unmitigated pain for years.

The thing about the suicide is that... it's SO her, ya'know? I can just see her saying, "Fuck this. If I'm going to die anyway, I'm going to do it on MY terms."

Chelsea and I became friends in jr. high, when we were both in band. She played clarinet, I played flute. She moved on to orchestra and played cello. We were on the flag team together in 8th grade, then again when we were freshmen in high school. We both survived our crazy, anal-retentive (but very creative) drum-major's attempt at Winterguard competitions.

I graduated in '88. Chelsea graduated in 3 years so she could spend her senior year as a foreign exchange student in Sardinia, Italy. We kept in touch here and there over the years. She and her wife, Sue came to our wedding when Dave and I got married in Tahoe (2000). She still came to our 20 year, Class of '88 reunion when that came around. That's the last time I saw her.

In the email, Sue apologized for telling us through email but knew of no other way to reach everyone.

I adored Chelsea. Despite serious bouts with depression, Despite all that, she made me laugh like no other. She was brilliantly smart and musically gifted. She was kind and thoughtful; always there for a friend.

I remember one night, we had gone to a house party with some other friends (Rick and Jaime) and were pretty drunk. On the way home, we were all making plans to run away together and go live in L.A. We were getting all teary and mental about it when Chelsea opened my glove box. There was no glove box, it was just a door with a light behind it. Chelsea said, "Is that your engine??" and we all just about died laughing. She always knew how to stop the teenage angst-ridden madness and get us all to lighten up.

The same day I got the email, a completely unrelated friend posted this Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush video...
Yea. That didn't unhinge me at. ALL.
Unhinged and bawling, not because of the message of the song (I don't blame her for taking her life - I can't imagine being in that much pain every day) it's just that it has that message and also just happens to be one of the videos we loved best. So now I'm spending a lot of time looking at all the other 80's videos we loved - David Bowie, INXS, etc., gettin' all sad.

It's so stupid because there's nothing to be sad about. Chelsea left in her own way (as was her way) and is no longer in pain. She's fondly, lovingly remembered by anyone who knew her. I'll miss her so much and I can't wait to see her again someday.

I wish I'd had the chance to say good-bye, Ruth!


Pretty Knitty said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. It sounds like she will be missed by many.

Anonymous said...

HI Ruth,

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Chelsea. She may have left this planet in her own way, but it still leaves a big, gaping wound in your heart. Sadness and grief are normal when someone we love is no longer here.

Keeping you, Chelsea and Sue in my thoughts,

Sandy from Tucson

Christine Moysons said...

Ruth, Thanks a lot for all the nice things you said about Chelsea.
There is one thing you have to know is that Chelsea was very courageous and determinate in the last years even though she was sick. She spent 2 weeks last summer playing with my kids. There were no complains, only joy and laughs.
She did not make a conscious choice. I'm sure of this.
She was on medication and something went wrong with it. In those moments she had a distorted view of the reality. Unfortunately, nobody was there for her at that moment.
When I read what you wrote, I can tell you had been very close to her.
I have not had the courage to share my pictures of her, but one day I will.
I will fly to Sacramento for her memorial.
I hope to see you there.
Take care
Christine Moysons (Chelsea's belgian sister)