My Dear Friend Laura
On December 10, 2016 my heart Friend, Laura Caudle, lost her battle with depression and took her own life. I met Laura 24 years ago at the mailbox of our shitty apartments while our husbands were deployed in the US Navy. We became instant best friends. She was as close to a soul mate as one person could be. She was with me through two husbands, three kids and all the big moments. We talked or texted every day.
Laura was a fierce Warrior. She fought her illness with all her might even when some days just showering was an accomplishment. The tragedy here was Laura never saw herself the way we did. She was witty and smart and the knower of impossibly long words. She loved to read and cook and play scrabble but mostly she loved being a mom. She was so damn proud of her daughter. What I miss most is her laugh- a laugh that could light up an entire room. She was managing her illness for many years and in 2016 she started to slide into the darkness again. She had two attempts and I flew to Germany to spend a week in the hospital with her. After her release, she fought the darkness for two months until it finally took her.
When Laura died, my heart broke into pieces. How could I go on without her in my life? How could I live with the impossible grief...and guilt? I didn't have time to talk that morning because I was late for a meeting. I planned to call her back after, then got busy. That night I sent her a text but she had already died. The text is still unanswered.
At the same time, Laura died, my father, the most brilliant engineer I've ever met, fell off a ladder and suffered a severe brain injury. He was in a coma. My sister was hit by a farm truck on her motorcycle and broke almost every bone in her body and was in the hospital, barely hanging on. My daughter, who was active-duty in the Navy, was in the hospital and I was done. Everything was too much at this point. My whole life changed in a matter of 2 months.
I finally broke. I couldn't function, I couldn't get off the couch and at times the loss felt so much, I couldn't breathe. I had to take an LOA from work and I was living on Captain crunch and wine. After a couple of weeks, my husband said it was time to get some help. I saw a therapist who encouraged me to find a hobby. I chose to make a candle for Laura. I wanted to make and light a candle to honor and remember her.
But I couldn't stop. I devoted my entire focus to learning how to pour candles, how to blend scents and testing hundreds of candles. If I wasn't sleeping I was melting wax in a crock pot & pouring. I was determined to make the perfect candle to honor my heart friend. I may have become a tad obsessed - but I was off the couch and at least showering daily at this point. I had engaged my engineer brain and I didn't have to feel the loss.
Throwing a PartyMy therapist encouraged me to throw a party. I had a full-blown meltdown at the suggestion. What in the actual Fuck was there to celebrate? Embracing my rebellious side, I hosted a shit show.
I invited my girlfriends over to drink, eat, create drunken crafts and to talk about all the shit we had going on in our lives. It was hilarious and the fun I needed! I made "Shit Show" candles scented with Vanilla & Chaos as gifts for my friends at the party. My friends went nuts over them. They inspired me to put them up on our local Facebook page and before you knew it... I had orders! It was at that moment Malicious Women Candle Co. was born!
The name "Malicious Women" came from years of conversations with Laura. We would talk about our days and tell each other what we should have said in shitty situations if only we were a little more malicious. It was our running joke.
The chandelier is for our mutual love of chandeliers. The last time I saw her, we sang Sia's "Chandelier" at the top of our lungs while driving on a sunny day. The type font on my labels honors Laura's love of old typewriters and the written word. The snark...well that is for both of us.
Mission for a CauseI have chosen the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a way to honor Laura and her battle. We need to help others affected by suicide and to fund programs to help them with grief and guilt. We need programs for families and friends. I didn't even know there were programs out there that could help me. I didn't know I needed help. I felt so alone in my grief.
My Mission is to give back in Laura's memory. To Illuminate the Way...One Candle at a Time.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.
AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:
- Funding scientific research
- Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
- Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
- Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide
For more information on suicide prevention programs in your area please visit: https://afsp.org
Malicious Women Candle Co. proudly sponsored the 2018 Everett and Snoho County Out Of The Darkness Walk on September 29, 2018.
To learn more or donate to this cause... PLEASE CLICK HERE!