This was originally written on January 8, 2017.  While I have dealt with many close even tragic deaths of loved ones this death hit me exceptionally hard.  I had texted and asked Lindsay M Hawley if she was suicidal. She told me I was being stupid and to drop it. I told her I was worried about her and so I asked again. She blew me off and didn’t answer the second time. She deflected and told me about her past camping trip and her trip to Mexico. The next day she chose to take her life. If you are struggling or feel alone please reach out to me. If you are thinking about ending your life, please don’t, I promise you it will get better. If you see someone around you withdrawing or showing drastic behavioral changes even increased happiness and activity after a long time of sadness, please reach out to them. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard question about suicide. The suicide hotline is a fantastic resource call them 1-800-273-8255 or even go online and chat.  In order to deal with my grief I wrote this letter to my friend:

My Dearest Lindsay,

Although we have only known each other for four years, I feel as if I have known you for a lifetime.  Who would’ve thought a pastor and an atheist could so closely align and have a sisterly bond.  We bonded over our love for humanity, music and crazy adventures; and I’m sad that we were neighbors for three years and didn’t meet sooner.

I remember sizing you up as we met for the first time in LA.  You claimed that you knew the same people as I did;  but I doubted you because we had never crossed paths my entire time in San Diego.  You had even volunteered at the homeless agency I had served as a director for.  Knowing that you had lived two blocks away from me, I now know it was in what you would say was the  “universe’s” and for me “God’s” perfect time that we met in our lives.  

After being so hurt by people over the years, my perceived outgoing nature is in fact the opposite.  I very heavily guard my heart.   I carefully observed you during our first few encounters.   You were so young and very opinionated.  You talked as if you had lived so much life.  Finally, after a meal together and laughter in a crowded van in Chicago, I realized that you were the real deal.

Over time we went from acquaintances to close friends.  You were so driven and hard working, and I admired that you had this in you at a young age.  You knew what you wanted in life and had a plan and were set on track to achieve it.  

We marveled and explored nature together in both Las Vegas and San Diego.  You scolded me and put me in my place when I deviated from my life goals and vice versa.  We called each other for advice and support when it felt as if our lives and homes were falling apart.  We embraced each other’s families as our own.  

You coached me on how to run effective social media.  You taught me to pick photos and posts that invite people into your world and challenge them to action. I braced myself when I heard the horrible news that I would be reading the posts of hundreds, if not thousands, you had inspired through those same posts.

January 5, I was at CES having the time of my life.  I thought it was odd that you hadn’t responded to my message.  I was remembering when we ran around getting silly things and just enjoying checking out the gadgets.  Then the texts started coming.  Texts asking how I was doing, texts asking what had happened to you.  I looked at your Facebook and saw condolence messages.  I had just spoken with you on Friday, my head started throbbing. I called your brother and begged him to tell me it was a joke.  He cried and said, “No, it’s true. I’m sorry it’s true.”

I never cry in public. You know how much I hate that.  I cried.  I cried like a baby as I dropped to my knees, right there on the crowded convention center floor.  You know how annoying the crowds are at CES, you hated how they bump into you and don’t say, “Excuse me.” Can you imagine what a mess I was, frantic eyes full of tears trying to find a door.  I think you were probably watching me and cracking up as people bounced off of me all the way out the door. 

I’ve been crying ever since.  I spoke with Perry, Timmy, Kellen and your Mom; and they aren’t doing well either.  I can’t sleep; I can’t eat.  I deal with death daily.  I have dealt with death of loved ones often. But, your death, your death is different.  

You had so much to offer to the world.  You went to places to help people that others wouldn’t have.  You took the time to invest in each and every single person you knew.  You challenged all of us that were friends to be better versions of ourselves.  You spoke words of tough love and truth when we needed them.  You gave me the opportunity of a lifetime when you believed in me and my crazy idea for helping the homeless in Las Vegas; and you helped me make it a reality.  

Today I happened to grab my Star Wars underwear, I burst into tears because I never got to get you a pair.  I cried when I saw Tony.  I bawled when I saw a lady’s Sundance cup.  Everything I see and touch reminds me of you, friend.  Lindsiana Jones, I think I will forever have a hole in my heart because of you. I’m pretty sure it would show up as the size of a  Princess Leah bun in an X-Ray.  

Love always your friend.