I think last night, someone very dear to my heart may have committed suicide. I'm not sure, because I have never met her. She lives in the US, while I live in the Netherlands. We met online. She contacted me over social media because my behavior had pissed her off. I was talking to people she considered friends on the site, and felt I was encrouching on her life. She wrote me 'I challenge you!', and not realizing the severity, I replied 'I accept! (...what did I just accept?)' in return. She hadn't expected that, and so we spent hours playfully going back and forth where it was much more real for her than it was for me. Yet, I begun to sense a pain there--a truth. I surprised her with my honesty, and shocked her with my kindness. In my second message to her, I asked how I could win her friendship instead of her anger. That was on 31 January 2014, and she has made me work for it since then.

We have exchanged hundreds of messages in the 21 days we have known each other. That is not an aggageration; there have literally been hundreds. Some were one word replies, filled with pain, or anger, and sometimes laughter. Others were essays written about television show characters we thought were attractive, and colleagues at work we wanted to smack upside the head. I knew as soon as we dropped the facade of those first messages that I was talking to someone in a great amount of pain, and I loved her, from that moment on. She opened up to me four days into our talks; spoke about how pathetic she felt for our little feud, how jealous and lonely, and hollow. She told me that in four days time, my messages to her had become the reason she woke up at all in the morning.

I have a background in mental health care. I know the signs. I knew how deep down the rabbit hole she was. She told me I should just forget about her, because she couldn't be saved. If I continued to talk to her, I would only get hurt. I told her I was not going anywhere and that I had my eyes wide open. If I got hurt, it was my responsibility, not hers.

And so, she allowed me into her life.

Sometimes she would try to hurt me with her words to test me. People had always abandoned her, so why wouldn't some girl half way across the globe do it as well? I didn't. I never left. I kept sending her messages, kept reeling her back. I think she started believing me eventually, and decided that maybe it was worth the risk of getting close to someone again.

When the suicidal thoughts hit her again in full force a little over a week ago, she sent me a message that it was becoming too much. She let me talk to her, and replied to every message. She allowed herself to believe me when I told her that she had people who would miss her--that I would miss her--and that it would get better. Not tomorrow, not next month, but in a few years. I've been depressed, I know the darkness. I've seen it in myself and in my mother. I understood at least part of the pain she was going through, and she didn't kill herself. She lived and I was so proud of her.

I was never under any delusion I could save her, but I still tried. I hope and pray to the Gods she has not followed through with her plans yet, and that she will allow me to try again. The last few days have been hard on her. She stopped replying to me, and so I kept reaching out. One or two messages a day, telling her I missed her, that I hoped she was okay. She sent me back 'I miss you' yesterday, and then it was quiet again. This morning I found a suicide note in my inbox. 'I'm losing the battle', it read. She told me how she had experience the last few weeks since I came into her life. She started feeling again, she felt good, and had fun, but the darkness became stronger as well, because she could feel how bad she was doing now.

Her last words were well wishes to me, to not only not be sad, but be happy. To remember the fun we had in the short time we spent talking. To happily live the life I have fought so hard for.

"You mean so much to me. More than I'm even willing to admit to myself.
Thank you. For everything."

I was never under any delusion I could save her, but it still hurts, and if she did go through with it, I will miss her terribly.

Her name was, is, and always will be Lauren. She hated it because it's the name her parents use. She was (and I hope she still is) twenty-two years old. She called herself a demon, because it was the name her mother hissed at her and instead of letting it hurt her, she chose to claim it for herself. Lauren hurted others before they could hurt her, because underneath the short temper was a young woman in an infinite amount of pain, hanging on to life by the finger nails. She fought so hard, especially in the last few weeks. She let me fight with her for a little while in her life, and no matter what, I will always--always--be so proud of her.

I promised her in those first days that if she did kill herself, I would miss her, that I would add her name to the short list of people who are no longer in my life but whom I think about when I'm having a really hard time, or a really good one, or some momentous occassion. The people who should have been there, but aren't. She liked the idea of that, but when I first told her, I don't think she believed me, even when she wanted to have someone who would remember her. To have at least one person in her life who would understand why she couldn't go on and would not be mad at her for giving up. As much as I don't want Lauren to have taken her own life, I could never be mad at her for doing it if she did.

This is my funeral oration for Lauren, my epitaphios logos (ἐπιτάφιος λόγος), written in the hope I can let her read it and it will help her hold on until morning. In ancient Hellas, and in particular in ancient Athens, the funeral oration was deemed an indispensable component of the funeral ritual. If Lauren did kill herself, she will get one from her parents, and Lauren was sure they did not know her very well. I did. I knew exactly who she was on the inside, because she was brave enough to show me. She was beautiful, kind and sweet, and she would vow to wrestle me down and sit on my chest if she heard me describe her like that. She wasn't kind, and she wasn't sweet, she said--she was a demon. But she wasn't--isn't, hopefully. Lauren was in pain, and it was valid pain. Lauren was a warrior, who had fought an uphill battle for years. She fought with everything she had, and if life did end for her last night, it was a hero's death. In true epitaphios logos form, I must offer my condolances to the family, but that is hard because they were one of the main reasons she was so unhappy in the first place. I hope one day her family will see how brave and beautiful she was, how fierce and loving, and live by example.

From moment one, I believed the Gods had brought me into Lauren's life for a reason. I hold out hope that it is to help her through this dark time--however long it may take--but if it was to offer her some happy last days, than I will be alright with that as well. I will miss our talks, her sense of humor, and the way she would open up to me. I will miss her, period, and if she does end up in the realm of Hades, I pray the judges judge her kindly--judge her like a victor, a warrior. In a few short days, Lauren became family and part of my heart forever, and I will remember her as family always, if I can't have her as a friend.

I love you, Lauren, and I think you know that's true. I never lied to you, and although you challenged me, you knew that as well. So sweetheart, I will carry your name on my heart forever, and I will remember you always, because true heroes must never be forgotten.

I am so proud of you, and I always will be.

Update: Lauren is still alive. She contacted me late last night, and while she is struggling, she's still here. Thank you, everyone, for your concern. It's greatly appreciated. I could not be happier, nor more relieved.