A few evenings ago just after I got home from work and was confirming plans to go out that night with A, my other line beeped. I looked at the caller ID and saw the area code for El Paso, TX. I told A I’d call her back and should take the call. I figured maybe it was my friend Donna that lived there. Instead it was a man’s voice asking my first name and I said yes. Then he asked if it was me by my full name and I said yes. It was Donna’s father. When he said who he was, I knew. I already knew before he told me the reason for his call because I hadn’t talked or seen her dad since I was a teenager in Hawaii. So why else would he have gotten a hold of me? My stomach sank. I knew she was dead. Donna committed suicide.
She did it about two weeks prior to his call but I was just now finding out this night because he had found an old address book of hers and going down the list and making the calls. He knew that we were best friends during high school when we were living in Hawaii. He told me that she talked about me quite a lot which kind of surprised me and I had a lump in my throat.
This was the friend that I just saw back in January on my trip to Texas and visited her on the way back home to Phoenix. I hadn’t seen her in a long time and it was so good to see her. I had a nice time. All seemed well with her.
There is a long history with her and I. We were best friends through and after high school in Hawaii. We did drift apart a little bit and we’ve had some spats but we always made up. She came to visit me when she was going through her divorce. Later she moved back to El Paso and I saw her a time or two when I was there visiting another mutual friend of ours. Then this last visit in January. She was suppose to come see me in April but she got really sick and didn’t make the trip.
For some reason the last visit was very special to me. Not because of what I know now but I distinctly remember moments where I was listening to her talk or laugh that I smiled to myself and thought, “I’m so glad I came to see her. I’ve missed her.” I was thinking all those exact things at the time.
She had called me about 4 or 5 weeks ago and left a message on my answering machine. The sad thing is, I never called her back. She sounded totally fine on the message and wanted to know how I was doing given my situation. Being totally thoughtful of course. Every week I kept reminding myself that I really needed to call her back. I kept forgetting. Then I’d remember at work or in my car or late at night and kick myself. I gotta call Donna, I gotta call Donna I kept saying. But yeah, I didn’t. I feel bad about that too. What’s also weird is that I didn’t take any pictures on my last visit and I had my camera with me.
I had all kinds of things that I was going to say here in the blog about this whole thing but I was so busy and tired. Now for some reason I have writers block for the past few days about it. Not sure why. But I figured I needed to not put it off any longer and blog about it anyway. I’m just writing and it probably has no flow and seems all over the place. I guess all I can say is of course I’m very sad about this. I’ve talked to some long distance friends on the phone the last few nights, all who knew Donna as well. Each one I talked to for a few hours discussing what happened, the sadness of it and also all the good and fun stuff too. I laughed a lot. Donna would have wanted that.
We had so much fun together in Hawaii. The people we made fun of in our joke of a high school, the clubbing, the hotel rooms, the beaches, shopping, drinking, going to concerts, the GI’s and so much more. Donna had a memory like I did, she was able to bring up the funny things from ages ago whenever we talked. She was wicked smart too. She had the best sense of humor. Very, very quick and witty girl. She also had a very hard life and I guess the pain was more than she could bear anymore.
I’ve been ok through it. I have cried for her. It happens on and off. She is on my mind a lot these days of course. Every time I stand still she’s there, in my mind. Of course I get sad that I didn’t call enough or write enough or visit enough. We always put things off. We forget. Then something like this happens and it’s too late. The one thing that gives me comfort is knowing she is no longer in pain. That she is now at peace. I pray for her parents. She was their only child and I can’t even imagine the pain they are going through.
A picture of Donna with then MTV VJ Alan Hunter at the mall. She looks like a little China doll to me. I think she was 15 or 16 here.
Some of my favorite pictures of her. I loved it when she got the curly bob hair do. I think she might have been 18 here. It was taken in the Pearl Ridge mall parking lot.
Another favorite picture of mine of her and Mike (I think that was his name), a really cute GI she was dating for awhile. I think Donna may have been 19 or 20 here. This was taken out in the barracks parking lot and getting ready to go out clubbing in Waikiki.
Rest in peace Donna. You will be missed.