My Dearest Annie,
This is the email I received from your brother, Michael, yesterday at work, 29 November 2012, at 2:13 PM:
I have some really shocking and devastating news to tell – Annie died. In recent months she fell into such a bad depression and despite so much courage just couldn’t take it in any more. I found out on Monday and arrived in New York to meet Helen and Monty. This is really sad and painful and overwhelming. I know how much you cared about Annie and how much she cared about you.”
Annie, I have probably re-read this terrible message a thousand times already and I just cannot come to grips with it. You and I talked at length over the years about depression and anxiety. But I never really thought you would take it this far.
I just feel so guilty that I did not know at what point you were on the line. I know about the darkness and I know about the abyss that confronted you every single day. You knew I knew. You and I are cut from the exact same cloth. Why didn’t you call me? You know I would have dropped everything and taken the first flight to New York. I could have taken care of you, Annie. I could have pulled you back from the edge and into the light where you belong, however painful that sun may have been on your beautiful face.
In this short time since I learned you died, I have been obsessing over my pictures of you (there are hundreds). There is a common thread: a weak smile that betrays all the pain you suffered every single day. Still, when I made you laugh – your nose pinched up with little wrinkles under your eyes, even when we were young, and I knew that, just for a moment, I had made you happy.
And there was a lot of laughter! You taped a tampon on me after I had cracked my forehead in the cab to your place with Misaki just this past February! You were also so incredibly perceptive in reading me and your entire environment. I swear you could look into a dog’s eyes on the street and know exactly what the animal was feeling. Not if it was hungry or not, but what it was actually feeling.
And I guess that is just it, Annie. You could feel everything and what frightens me about your powers of perception is that what you felt, most of the time, was a full-on assault by all of the pain in this fucked up world that we have to live in. For you, over time, the world permanently lost all of its color and vibrancy. It became a grainy black-and-white montage of horror where food has no taste and the thought of tomorrow brings up what little is left in your stomach.
But Annie, you were such a bright star in the sky. You made us all better and, now that your light has gone out, we are left in a darker, scarier place.
I love you and I am going to miss you desperately.