Fifteen years before he killed himself, in his parents' basement, at the age of 29, my cousin Cody saved my life. The day that it happened was late-ish in winter, I was 11 and he was almost 14. We'd gone for a walk in the woods by my family's house. We were young and adventuresome and dumb and bored and so when we came to the nearby creek, we decided to walk across it. I went first. I was an 11-year-old girl and I was showing off. Winter's big snows were all starting to melt, making everything in our path a soft, white-ish mush. In the middle of the creek, I stepped into one such mush, the ice, more fragile than I thought, broke beneath me and my body plunged into the water. It was all over in less than a minute, but I remember every second of it. The frantic splashing. The unexpected depth and violence of the water. My arms flailing to grab onto anything and failing, my legs, freezing and in a tangle as the current tried with great force to drag me under and away. Somehow Cody managed to pull me out, by my collar, he was always so strong. Seconds more, and I would've been pulled under the ice. Seconds more, and I would have most certainly drowned.
In the years since, I've thought of that day often, I've thought of near disasters, of true sent-from-some-other-world blessings and of my own fate and of Cody's and how tragically different they turned out to be. And I'm thinking of my cousin's life especially this week, when suicide and all of its...
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