If you had asked me a year ago what I thought the coming year would bring I would have told a completely different story than what has actually happened. The last year of my life, and those of my close friends and family, is one for the record books. It’s one that I could literally write a novel about and no one would believe it’s the truth.
A year ago at this moment, I was 1/2 way around the world in Mumbai, India celebrating not only my 33rd birthday but the wedding of a wonderful friend and making new, life-long friends in the process. I don’t have most of the answers as to why the year following progressed the way it did. And some of the answers I did have came crashing down around me in the last 5 weeks. I don’t suppose I’ll ever get the answer to “Why?” for the most recent life altering change, and I’ll just have to deal with that. What I do know is that there is NO WAY I’d be where I am right this second if those things didn’t happen, and I cannot regret that for a second.
In India I met this amazing couple. They were in the middle of a 22 month long trek across the globe and I spent 8 days getting to know them, bond and basically become best friends with an amazing woman. I cried like a baby the night they left for Africa; she and I cried together, hugging and not wanting to let go of one another. The good news was I was going to get to see them again. They lived in Denver and would be back there in 11 short months. All we had to do was wait, to be patient, to take care of ourselves and wait.
After my 2 weeks in India (click here for those posts) I was kind of a wreck for a few months. My trip changed me, took away all the shields I’d built around my self, my outer, protective persona, and stripped me down to what we all essentially are; human beings who just want to be appreciated and cared for. To be loved and love in return. So for the next 11 months she and I would write to one another. Me telling my sob stories, my frustrations on life and work and my hopes and dreams, my excitement for her and her husband to return so we could build our friendship. To give each other the longest, hardest, most heartfelt hug in the entire world. She would write to me of her travels, of the people they met, of their experiences both good and bad. Being on the road that long is as exhausting as it is wonderful, if not more so. I worried about her, about them both. Eating properly on the road is a challenge in the U.S. it’s even more so in 3rd world countries that involved mountain climbing and 20+ hour bus/train rides. Lack of good nutrition will really mess with you. Combine that with lack of sleep, constantly worrying where you are and where you’re going, for your safety and that of your loved one, getting clean water to drink and knowing when the next bathroom break is, and your body and your brain take the toll. B vitamins play a significant role in keeping our brains alive and functioning, as do many important minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium etc. Without a properly functioning brain you’re susceptible to anxiety, stress, depression-often severe, hallucinations, paranoia, and thoughts of suicide. My friend was a tiny, petite little flower who maybe weighed 100lbs, with a powerhouse, larger than life personality. She was the kindest, funniest human being I’d ever met. But being so small in stature means any long lasting lack of good nutrition affects you more quickly, more severely than it would someone who’s say, 50lbs heavier. I had a hard enough time not eating in India very well for 2 weeks……imagine 22 months of it.
I’m not a doctor, so I can only speculate, but having experienced a tiny fraction of what I can imagine she went through I can say that it very well might have caused what led to her tragic, untimely exit from this world. I am so sorry my friend. I’m sorry I couldn’t feed you sooner, couldn’t teach you to cook and take care of you the one way I knew how. We were going to have so much fun in the kitchen! All I ever wanted was to get you home safe so that I could take care of you the way you took such good care of me this time last year. I hope you knew just how much I love you, just how awesome I thought you were. Rest in peace now, sweet friend. I’ll see you in my dreams.
to see just how amazing my friends are: www.goexplore365.com
for more information on links between nutrition and depression: http://depression.about.com/cs/diet/a/vitamin.htm or search “how lack of nutrition can cause depression”