Remembering Lisa; an emotional gathering of family and friends….by Chuck Duboff

@Chuck Duboff

We cried. We laughed. We shared stories. We shook our heads in disbelief, frustration, exasperation, love and sadness.

It all sounds so very cliche. We got together and reminisced about our Lisa.

Yet, to us, it was so much more than just sharing. Lisa left us last September 12th and yet to all of us, we still feel like she’s going to walk into the room, be in the gym, lie by the pool with her floppy hat. But, alas, that will never be.

Sunday evening, Lisa’s sister had a few of Lisa’s friends over to say good bye to the condo…the condo which was Lisa’s sanctuary, her place to escape from the world. It wasn’t easy; talking about someone you cared about at so many levels, someone who escaped from her unbearable pain by taking her own life…many tears were shed, many deep sighs were elicited.

Lisa pushed all of us away to varying degrees; she had a push/pull relationship with everyone. Her family was without Lisa in their lives for years at a time; her best friend that she grew up with…Lisa pushed away because she couldn’t handle not being the center of her friend’s world. I bore the brunt of Lisa’s struggle, along with friends who got close to her…one minute she and I would be sharing, oh so very deeply…and then suddenly I would get a text which stated: “enough Chuck, just hello’s from now on, nothing more”.

Lisa!!!

Yet, all of us understand that this was the mental illness talking; her dear friend shared how in her teens Lisa already exhibited suicidal tendencies and an eating disorder which plagued her throughout her life.

I struggled watching Lisa’s sister speak; they bear such a striking resemblance, and share so many similar mannerisms…at times it’s like watching a ghost. The pain in her sister’s eyes are palatable…she has moments of laughter, talking about Lisa’s quirky behaviour…but that is counter balanced with so many painful stories and memories. She wants so very badly to honour her sister, to make sure that young women have a healthy respect for their bodies, that those suffering from mental health issues get the help they need. At times I could feel a desperation, a need to want to do something, anything…to make sense of a sister who lived in pain her whole life.
“Chuck, is it wrong to feel a sense of relief that Lisa was finally able to end her pain, by taking her life. She’s not suffering anymore”

We all miss you Lisa; we shed tears in our memories of you; but, we know you needed to leave this world…hopefully, you have found some peace, have exhumed the demons which brought so much pain to your life.

We all love you.

It was so much more than a cliche filled gathering. It was cathartic, it was emotionally draining…it was life at its’ darkest and most loving.

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7 thoughts on “Remembering Lisa; an emotional gathering of family and friends….by Chuck Duboff

  1. I have been reading and re-reading this, trying to come up with something to reply with. The words are just all jumbled in my head bouncing all over the place not forming any coherent sentences.

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  2. Hope is a way to find a way…

    Sad to hear about Lisa; but she is rest in peace. There is a time we are all in darkness and hope is vanished. However, the unfailing love will sustain. Lisa’s love for the people will remain, Lisa’s love for her family will continually sustain.

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  3. Lisa was a big part of our community. She will be missed by many. Chuck says it well when he says that she had a push pull personality. Always pleasant, full of life. When she went away she left a mark. She is missed by many.

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  4. Having been at this gathering I think it is important to make clear that in friendships, true friendships no one bears the brunt of anything. Lisa bore the brunt of our lack of understanding on numerous occasions and never once felt the need to tell anyone. I also feel compelled to point out that during this time of very personal sharing it was also noted that just the week prior to taking her life, clearly in the depths of her darkness, she was still there when a call was made for support. I believe it was said, ‘ I am amazed she was there for me and never even let on what was going on with her’.

    This doesn’t sound like being the brunt of anything but her continued love and attempts at being normal, being loving and trying to give what she often never felt, understood, accepted and heard.

    Although relationships with her may have been push and pull, I can agree with this, I choose now, as I said that night to honor her fight. She fought harder than anyone I have ever met to be happy. Every class, book, session, workshop…whatever it was, she fought for joy, she fought for love. She wanted it more than anyone. She had her times of turtling where she did not feel she was worthy of being loved…maybe that was the push and pull….she pushed when she felt she did not having to offer to others and pulled when she felt well enough to do so. I do not feel she ever did this to hurt us rather it was to protect us from those demons she couldn’t control.

    That one last private gathering was intended to be in her safe space and keep close to our hearts this very dear lady and keep her memory alive and her struggles safe with each of us.

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  5. I think of Lisa almost every day. Reminders of her are around my house and the paths we used to walk together. I welcome those memories and reminiscing of her with others. I’m surprised that these thoughts now bring a peaceful gratitude that she was in my life rather than pain. Thank you Chuck for this beautiful reminder of her pain and beauty and the push/pull rhythms of life… like waves upon the shore.

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