I address this post Ten Years. There’s not much more to put. It’s been a decade since Tiffany Marie Hamby died, death by suicide. I woke up this morning hurting. It stinks, ya know? Death stinks. I can’t write exclaiming how it is to walk with darkness engulfing my mind; though I can write to how it was when darkness engulfed my heart. So my heart takes the pen like a ready scribe and we go back ten years.
I’m resting my eyes waiting to pick up my sister from work, a call comes through, my mother on the other end, “Tiffany died.” “What?” “Tiffany died.” “Wait, what?? What happened?” “She took her life. I have to go.” …shock. Tears. shock. I call my best friend, she answers, “My sister died.” “Hilary?” “No, no, Tiffany.” (I grew up having four sisters and a brother) “Oh shoot, what happened?” “She decided to end her life.” “Oh man, I don’t really know what to say but, we really shouldn’t joke about dying anymore.” “...haha no I think you’re right. Thanks for listening, love you. Bye.”
I’m driving to get my sister, she gets in the car, I don’t say anything. The car is not the right place, but really, where is the right place? She knows me too well, sees something on me maybe, “What’s wrong Gab?” “Oh nothing, we’ll talk at home.” Two stoplights later, “tell me what you’re hiding?” “Tiffany died. She took her life.” “…Can you get me my medicine?” “Sure.”
Do we break the news to the others? We discuss and then we do. I am eighteen years old, the youngest of six and I break the news to my siblings.
Time marches on, I’m home now. My home. Have not opened my mouth to another party. I told my siblings and my best friend and that’ll do it. Life must continue. The darkness is gaining on my heart. When I go to my moms, it’s pitch black. Figuratively, it’s pitch black. I don’t even know how to bring the light, my heart is dark itself. I can’t bring the light. There is shame, a fear, sadness, regret and the light I did have in my heart has been swallowed. My dad recommends therapy. I try it, it’s not for me. No, the short and long of it is, I am not ready to fight. The darkness isn’t so bad, but really, in hindsight, it is.
Three years go by, I’m at school studying to be, well, a business owner. Apparel merchandising and business have my mind. My heart is callous, really like stone; very little phase it. I don’t need anybody beside me. I’m invincible, a warrior on her own. This front comes crashing down when I get an instant message. Sitting in my bed in Paris, France a message comes through, “Did you hear about Lauren?” …heart sinks… “No? What?” “She died.” “An accident?” “No, with purpose. She took her life.” My mind races. I’m a young believer, I call out to God. I cry. I write a couple of emails. I talk on the phone. I need help.
Help comes tangibly when I’m home. I go back to therapy. We work hard. Three times a week, sometimes every day. Y’all, we worked hard. Dr. Bailey and I were on the same page, we had to get the darkness cleared before I head back to school. It was difficult. It was not fun. It drained me. But little by little freedom came and then one day, my heart had a beat again. I could feel the change. I could physically feel the change. Freedom!
Ten years ago to now, I claim victory. Fourteen years ago to now, I claim victory. Five years ago to now, I claim victory. When persecution comes, I will be the light. I can be the light, because they can’t turn out the light on the inside.
How’s your heart doing? How’s your mind doing? We want you to have light and hope and truth and love. We want you here, fully here. Freedom against darkness.