It was one of those mornings we all dread – the ones where you have to laugh so you won’t cry.

You know the one – it starts with one child saying ” I can’t find my other shoe”, and another complaining,  “I can’t find my uniform tie”(and by the way my class is presenting in assembly today).

As everyone hustles out the door, just a few minutes behind schedule, I open the refrigerator to grab one last thing and a glass of wine catapults out of the fridge onto the floor, shattering glass everywhere and dousing me with wine.

Why Me?

Not wanting to raise suspicions for smelling like stale wine all day, I run upstairs to change clothes and beg my about- to – shower husband to please clean up the mess before he leaves.

Not two minutes down the road, my son with the substitute, non-approved tie casually mentions that he is actually the main speaker at the assembly, having written a 3 page  history summary which I had heard nothing of until that very moment.

As I mentally calculate whether I can rearrange my morning schedule to be there, my other son realizes he has forgotten his wallet containing the ID he needs to get into the gym for weight training. We will have to run back by the house after dropping off the assembly speaker and his sister ( of course, the assembly is at 8:00 am, so there is now no way I will make it). Mommy guilt begins setting in.

As if on cue, my son says ” Honestly, mom, I really don’t care if you’re there or not.”

Thank you…I think!

Children are delivered to school, and the wallet is retrieved. Deciding to avoid the heavier interstate traffic, I opt for the back road to drop off my older son. Then I see the blue lights flashing ahead of me.

You’ve got to be kidding me!

It’s just a minor wreck, so we navigate around it. My van is running on fumes, so I coast into the gas station, fill up, and head off to a scheduled meeting with a friend – now 20 minutes behind schedule, and it’s not even 9:00 am!

Thankfully, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a morning like this!

As my friend and I are catching up, she asks if I’ve heard about the death of an acquaintance of ours this past week. I had heard that it had happened, but not how.

Suicide.

He’d been struggling with depression and had just changed medications. The very thing designed to help him had taken his life.  He left behind a wife and young children reeling in pain.

That could have been me.

Suddenly, my morning aggravations seemed much more trivial.

Though I barely knew him or his wife, I was on the verge of tears all day. It hit too close to home, and I could just imagine how she felt.

You see, four years ago, my husband was in the throes of a major depression. I had lived through those volatile periods after a medication switch.  I never thought my husband was suicidal….but no one thought our friend was either.

It happens so fast – that downward spiral, the dark thoughts, the split decision to just make it all go away.

It could have been us.

The monster of depression is a merciless beast, tearing apart families and destroying lives in its wake.

I want to hug her, to cry with her, to let her know that I really feel her pain because I know it could have just as easily been me.

Thank you that my husband was here to clean up the broken glass  this morning.

Thank you that my kids have a dad who can laugh and play with them.

Thank you for the friends who walk alongside us on this rocky journey of life.

Beware, my friends. The depression monster lurks in many unseen corners, often popping up in unexpected places. This beast is much more insidious than he first appears.

Don’t let the next family he tears apart be yours.

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