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I was working in my office a couple of weeks ago with the TV on as background noise.  MSNBC did a story about the reunion show of "Real Housewives of New Jersey".  The scenes that followed were disturbing and insane.  Grown women were screaming at each other, calling one another "garbage", and had to be physically restrained lest they scratch out one another's eyes or pull each other's hair.  

A stark contrast to the scene I witnessed last night, a scene so moving, so heart breaking, so precious it warmed my heart and broke it at the same time.  

A long-term client of mine, a fine man with two small girls, had been swallowed up by a black cloud of depression, a depression unlike anything I've witnessed.  Up until about eight months ago, he was faithful in coming to my office every week and I can only say that this took great effort and courage on his part.  He was working in conjunction with a psychiatrist, trying to loosen the tenacious and unyielding grip of The Depression that had rendered his life stalled and stuck.  

If you've ever been in the company of someone in deep depression, you'll probably know what I mean when I say that in my office, there wasn't just my client but the heavy dark stifling presence of the deep and powerful Darkness of Depression.

Last week, the Darkness finally had its way.  It was a system too big for my dear client who struggled so valiantly for three years to beat the black void of despair and hopelessness.  He took his life and left behind his two fairy children, little girls only five and seven years old.

Please don't judge this man in any way.  What I witnessed the past three years was equivalent to someone being in the end stages of cancer with no pain medication.  It was simply too big and too much for him.

I went to his memorial service last night.  There in the front of the church sitting with their mother were his two beautiful daughters, dressed in bright clothes with colorful ribbons in their hair.  His 7 year old was solemn but determined.  His 5 year old wore a grin so wide it made us all cry and laugh at the same time.

His 7 year old got up to speak.  "I love my Dad.  He was the perfect Dad.  He made me laugh and he taught me how to take care of our dogs and told us stories.”  Her young voice trembled, “I know he had to go but I will cry myself to sleep for a long long time, probably forever."

There wasn't a dry eye anywhere.  It was touching and it was brutal.

After she spoke, she came and sat in the pew right in front of me, wedged in between her two best girlfriends.  Three little girls huddled together in camaraderie and support.  I watched each of her friends stroke her hair and gaze into her eyes with vats of compassion.  At one point, the suddenly fatherless girl spread her arms in either direction and wrapped them around each of her friends' shoulders.  They both leaned into her, resting their heads on her.  

I had forgotten how wise, unfiltered and loving little girls are, long before they grow up and are exposed to a culture that glamorizes the competition, the cattiness, and the pettiness that some infantile grown women display.

I have women friends like those three little girls.  I have traveled many roads with them, some happy and some sad.  And I couldn't have made the journeys without them; so sweet, consistent and strong their loving support has been.

Some women spend a lifetime looking for their "soul mate".  They need only to look around them, into the eyes of the women that love them, who are there for them no matter what.  Many a wise woman has found her soul mate in her closest of girlfriends.  

I wish the "real housewives" could have seen these three girls last night.  They might have learned a thing or two about what it really means to be a "grown up".

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Member Comments

    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Sandra G wrote Sep 13, 2010
    • Thanks for sharing this...it is in the eyes of a child where we find hope, love and compassion..dealing with my own “issues” right now and if it were not for the unconditional love of these two little ones...it would be hard...

      Your client, one can only feel for him and the battle he had...depression is such a serious mental state that has been trivialized by so many, my heart goes out to those he left behind and all the questions and what if’s they must have...again thanks for sharing..heart



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Linda L wrote Sep 13, 2010
    • So sorry about you client and he left behind a beautiful family.  Thanks for sharing.

      From fab40 I’ve found a couple of “soulmate” women friends.  They‘re there for me moreso than I can for them.  I hope to pay it forward.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Junecleaver62 wrote Sep 14, 2010
    • Thank you for sharing this story. A great reminder to all of us to live with the purity of a child’s heart.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Kelly-Williams, M.A. wrote Sep 14, 2010
    • Thank you ladies for all your good thoughts.  So sad, poignant, and in many ways, spectacular to witness the love of those 3 little girls.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Sep 14, 2010
    • I’m so sorry for his family and your client - depression is often misunderstood by many.

      Thanks for sharing



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Sep 14, 2010
    • I am so sorry for the loss of your client, and the loss of the father to them little girls.. yes, the women on the real house wives could learn a thing or two! thank you for sharing, and i will keep that family in my prayers heart



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Sep 14, 2010
    • Thanks for sharing and such a heartbreaking loss.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Amy L. Harden wrote Sep 19, 2010
    • His legacy IS these girls....I bet he is very proud!!

      I am sorry for your loss...he is resting peacefully now...I know and understand depression well. He fought a valiant fight...depression is much like a cancer as it grows.  May his family receive comfort and strength in knowing that he suffers no more.

      Thank you for sharing this story it certainly gives perspective.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Cocofix41 wrote Sep 25, 2010
    • Having experienced mental depression throught my lifetime I know firsthand the GRIP it has on a persons very existance and although it broke my heart to read your post, it reminded me that our children can teach us so much about how STRONG we as individuals can be for ourselves and reminds us that FRIENDS AND FAMILY if were lucky enough to have them in our lives are there for a reason TO BE THERE FOR US when we need it most.
      I pray for these 3 little angels and know God has a wonderful plan for them . I lost my mother as a child and know that somehow everything that happens to us is for a reason we are not aware of until much later in life and sometimes the worst things that happen to us in life are strenghthening tools that make us STRONG adults from a hard childhood .
      Thanks for sharing!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Anne E wrote Sep 30, 2010
    • What a touching story.  Thanks for sharing.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Adriannie wrote Oct 4, 2010
    • Wonderful article!



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      Susan Haley wrote Oct 6, 2010
    • I was not only taken by the story of your client and his services, the camaraderie and love between the little girls, but also your bringing up the phenomena of looking at a dear friend as a ‘soul mate’ too.

      So many do think of a ‘soul mate’ only in the marriage relationship when it can definitely be anyone who touches your soul with a connection of likeness and shared principles and compassions. I’m fortunate enough to have a few close friends, a couple of them men friends, that I feel as safe and at ease with as I could ever expect to share with a human being. I even feel a soul mating with the animals of this Planet I so revere. It is truly a Divine gift and I’m so happy that this little girl has that in her loss of a dad. I truly hope the mom and the other little sister has a like kind of friend.

      Thank you for your always special column every month!

      My best,
      Susan Haley
      Fellow columnist for Fab 40



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