Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aliyah

I'm not sure why the roof called to you.
I don't know why you chose Los Angeles
or if you were really getting closer to Jesus.
I only know I miss you, and I no longer want to
bear the weight of that parking lot.

Today would have been my friend's 23rd birthday. But, a couple of weeks ago, she committed suicide. No one knows why. Depression? Schizophrenia? No one knows. And I have been feeling hurt, angry, confused. I feel lost. Numb. Unmotivated. Depressed. Alone. Her passing has made me think a lot about my own life, my own death, what I want, how I've failed, what my options are.

How does one deal with loss? I cried so hard when I found out, cried cried cried; and the tears didn't dry. Sure, I was dehydrated. Sure, I couldn't eat. Sure, I fought my way through a poetry workshop that I had to teach. Sure, I threw up water and three spoonfuls of the broth of chicken soup five times at my friend's house where we had all gathered to grieve. But the pain didn't go away, and it still hasn't. Accepting that the beautiful, talented, funny, eccentric Aliyah is gone is just too painful.

Today, her family and friends are holding a celebration of her life. I am personally celebrating all the interactions that I had with her--the moments hanging out in a hazy bathroom, the book she lent me, the conversation about The Secret, the sangria and dirty wind.

I am celebrating and crying and wishing that this life were different, that grief and death did not coexist, that I could message Aliyah on Facebook and get a tangible answer.

For now, I speak to her spirit: I miss you. I love you. Your life and presence in this world were meaningful to me. I just wish you were here to celebrate with us today. I will always value your words, smile and friendship. Your friends will always speak your name. Happy Birthday, Aliyah.


  1. Beautifully written love. I think Aliyah would have loved this!

  2. How difficult and painful.


  3. As certain as life there is death, but when death is found by one own decision then it is hard for the others that still live. Why? is not answered. I once thought of suicide, but when I thought of how hurt my mother would be it made me realize that by stopping my hurt, I would leave others hurting and asking why. There is a time to reach out and lift ourselves up by praying to God, it seems trite, but this is what reallly has helped me. then I want to encourage others because I don't ever want to know that someone died and I did not bother to offer any words of encouragement. People need encouragement, not judgement. JMM

  4. her friends will always speak her name. i hope your heart heals.

  5. JMM, thank you for sharing your heartfelt words with us on this post. As you already know, Aliyah's passing can be termed "unintentional suicide." Unfortunately, the fact that it was unintentional does not make her transition any less heartbreaking. You offer sound words of advice - you are right about the importance of consistently encouraging one another and enriching each other's lives. That is something that Aliyah did for all of her friends, and it is something we should ALL do. Love.

  6. I went to high school with Aliyah. We lived on the same street. I recently started a facebook account an thought about looking her up, and found a link to a two year old obituary. Harsh. First Eve and now this. Other friends of mine have died young, but those two came out of left field. I tried to find more information, but your post here was the only thing I came across that told me anything about what happened. Thanks