Sad WomanA year ago today, my children and I were on vacation in Singapore. A year ago today, we had spent the whole day in a dear friend’s house. As luck would have it, although our families had both moved out of Singapore the year before, both of our families were also back in Singapore on vacation at the same time. Perfect opportunity for a reunion.

My friend had just had a baby girl, her third child, a few months before. I met her little angel for the first time and carried her in my arms. My friend said her baby wasn’t colicky, wasn’t difficult. She said that, after having repatriated, her family was enjoying being closer to family again. The only hard part was that her husband was still working in Singapore, and would just go home to visit them as often as he could, perhaps once every month or two.  They weren’t sure how long that arrangement would last, but they were doing their best to make it work.

It was a lovely day. Mommies chatting away, teenage daughters hanging out, young sons running around and playing with toys. We were a bit sad to say goodbye at the end, but were hopeful of seeing each other again.  Maybe a day at the park next time, next year.

That day, a year ago, my friend was her usual self – calm, generous and happy. She looked and sounded like her usual self that I had come to know in the last two years. Which is why I was in complete shock and denial when I heard just two months later that she had committed suicide because of severe postpartum depression. Was she already experiencing it when I saw her that day? Were there signs that I had missed? If it had started only after we saw each other, how can this illness go bad so quickly that in less than two months, she was gone?

I learned the painful way that depression is a very frightening thing. It can hide; it can deceive. I still ask myself if I had missed anything, if anyone else could have seen it coming.

Today, I remember how my friend was a year ago, how our day was a year ago. It was a good day, a happy day. And I still don’t understand how it all went horribly wrong afterwards.


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