Be brave, you said. Write it. Women like us need to see themselves in its pages.

You wanted to be the first to read my book. You wanted to know if I could untangle our brains from our sins; if redemption was even possible. By telling my story, yours would find a way to exist in this world.

You grabbed my hand and looked straight into my eyes.

Promise me.

Okay, I laughed. Okay.

After that, you would message me when I was absent, or if I had a Facebook meltdown. You’d send me photos of beaches and storm clouds and pink gerberas. Our fathers died within 2 months of each other. Our lives were sticky and complicated but we had a kinship. We kept trying to meet up again but either I was busy or your kids were sick. Still, you kept in touch. I never told you how grateful I was for that.

I didn’t reply to your last message. You were less buoyant than usual. It was 2 days before Christmas and I was trying to keep my shit together. I thought I would just text you in the new year – I had some chapters for you to read.

I never replied.

A few weeks later you were dead.

I’m not blaming myself. I know the odds when we are unmedicated, and without a support network. I know how quickly we can go from 100-0. I know that there is nothing I could have done.

I texted you anyway. Tell me it’s not true. Please.

You never replied.

I have learned so much in the last 6 months – I wish I could share it with you. I wish I could tell you about my research, my therapy, all of the ways I have been learning to fight this insidious illness. I wanted you to know that peace was possible. In the end, I guess you found it in your own way.

Rest in Peace Tracy. I will never forget the short but profound influence you had on my life.

I dedicate every word of this work to you. xx

Untitled – ICM / composite