Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Painful Loss

with 11 comments

I knew Jennifer to be a precious, congenial, and amiable person, despite the experiences she lived through that drove her to multiple treatments for mental health concerns. Every time I saw her again after long absences, that remarkable dose of her true spark and desire to gain full command of her wellness glowed anew.

My idealistic goal of loving everyone on this earth is not always effortlessly achieved. Jenny was not one of the difficult ones. I loved her as easily as anyone.

It is devastating to have learned that she took her own life this week.

Those of us who knew and loved Jenny are experiencing the pain of losing the sound of her laughter, for good this time. It is we who must now reconcile the mental turmoil of the various roles we played in her life, of opportunities now vanished, hopes tarnished, with the burdens of sudden grief pressing down upon us.

As a person who has enjoyed great success in breaking free of the oppressive mental weight of depression, with all of its distortions of perception and its focus on imagined perils, I suffer deep heartbreak over instances where the interruption and amelioration of the affliction are unsuccessful.

There is debate about whether depression is curable or not, but there is general agreement that it is treatable. Good health requires maintenance, and being treated by professionals for depression can be a project of a lifetime.

In a way, good health habits are a self-directed form of treatment that keeps my depression at bay. It doesn’t feel focused on depression prevention for me because my healthy practices bring so many other rewards beyond just keeping my mind free from the dark dysfunctions that define the affliction.

Put simply, living healthy serves as a vaccination against the ills of depression for me.

It feels important to me to accentuate the time component of dealing with depression and frankly, all other aspects of a journey toward optimal health. I am profoundly moved by the length of time and variety of avenues Jenny navigated in her efforts toward health and well-being.

Good health does not happen in an instant as a result of a momentary desire to be healthy. It is a process that requires firm determination to stay on task for days that become weeks, then months, and ultimately, years. I often point out that a goal of getting healthy should be referenced against the number of months or years we allowed bad habits to weaken our muscles, add excess fat, compromise our livers, overtax our hearts, rob us of needed sleep, and ignore or misinterpret our full range of emotions.

May we always remember the best about loved ones who are no longer with us and seek inspiration from those fond memories for a determination to strive for our own optimal health in a journey that we renew every morning for the rest of our days.



For any occasion involving thoughts of suicide, free 24/7, confidential services are available:

call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741).



11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Beautifully written, beautifully said. I love what you wrote about remembering the best about those we’ve loved and lost. I responded to my husband’s death by losing forty pounds and getting in better shape than I’d been in in twenty years. I also felt incredibly guilty because I didn’t manage to do this while he was alive, but I somehow sensed that this was one of the ways I was keeping myself sane. Thanks!


    February 7, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    • Thank you. And thank you for sharing about your experience. Fascinating how we respond to situations. Here’s to your maintained sanity and I am inspired to read of your getting in better shape! There is love in that.


      February 7, 2022 at 12:40 pm

  2. You touched my soul deeply here, John. I am so very, very, sorry you lost your friend. We can only imagine the depth of the pain that leads to suicide. It is something I have experience with…and to read your words and know the place of compassion from which they come…it just touched me. In fact it is hard to read the words because the tears won’t stop falling. Your words about the self-care you strive for are such important words to be expressed. Everything is connected and we must take care of our bodies as much as we do our minds. I keep thinking it is a balance of body, mind, soul that determines the health of each. If one is completely out of whack, then the others are in danger of taking over.
    Sorry for rambling…I send you and Cyndie heartfelt sympathy.
    Stay well friend.


    January 23, 2022 at 1:03 pm

  3. very moving…

    Ian Rowcliffe

    January 23, 2022 at 5:00 am

  4. My condolences to you and Jennifer’s family.

    Steve R

    January 22, 2022 at 9:17 am

  5. So sorry to hear. Hugs.


    January 22, 2022 at 9:11 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: