Jim Florentine wrongly believed he could save his girlfriend from her depression. In the end, it was Jade who saved him.
I hated to listen to my parents when I was a kid. And for the most part, I didn’t.
Except for one thing that my mom told me when I was 12 years old. She wanted me to save people in need. Be like Jesus. That’s a ton of pressure for a little kid. Jesus walked on water; I could barely even swim.
But by the time I hit my mid-30s, I wanted to settle down, get married and have kids. As I started to go on dates with “normal” girls, I got bored instantly. After a year or so I fell right back into my addiction when I met this girl named Jade. I knew this was going to be a big project for me since she was born with a chemical imbalance and had depression issues most of her life.
But whenever she would get sad, I told her not to worry, that I would always be by her side and that I was her savior. After 6 up-and-down years of being together, a couple of days after a nice Christmas we had together, I was at work doing a comedy show. It was a big show with a thousand people there — and all my family and friends. Jade didn’t come to the show that night because she said she wanted to stay home and pick out her outfit for New Year’s.
In the middle of my act, I got this surge that went through my body. It was like I got struck by lightning, but it didn’t hurt. It felt like a soul left my body.
After I get off stage, I had a voicemail from my girlfriend. I thought it was strange because she never called me when I was at work. I listened to her message and it was her crying saying that she needed to be out of pain and was sorry, but she couldn’t take it anymore.
I immediately jumped in my car and drove the hour-long drive in 30 minutes. The whole time I was praying it was just a cry for help. I got to my front door, and I was shaking so much that I could barely get the key in the door. I finally did and ran right to our bedroom. She wasn’t there. I saw a dress laid out on the bed, and there was a note on top of it that said, “This is the dress I won’t be wearing on New Year’s Eve.”
My heart dropped. I ran down the hallway to our spare bedroom and saw that the door was shut. We never shut that door. I went to God for help. Somehow, conveniently I forgot how I turned my back on religion my whole life.
“God, please let her be okay. I promise I’ll be a good Christian. I’ll start going back to church again.”
I finally got the courage to open the door, and I saw her lying on the floor. I immediately called 911 and started to give her CPR. I knew she was dead at that point, but I didn’t stop until the ambulance came because I knew it was the last time my lips would touch hers. Now I realized what that surge was earlier in the night. It was her leaving me.
I immediately thought to myself that I had failed as a human being. Why wasn’t I there for her when she needed me the most? Why was I out doing some stupid comedy show and not there to save her? She left me a note, and I remember trying to read it, and it made no sense. I just couldn’t comprehend it.
Today is the 6-year anniversary of Jade’s death, and I still have trouble comprehending it.
I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my own worst enemy. I went to support group meetings, therapy and read every book I could on suicide.
Amazingly, what helped me the most was when my friend Laura told me about this healer she knew named Gypsy. He was a “shaman,” she said.
I was never into that New Age bullshit, but she said that I needed to see him. I was so messed up at that point that I was willing to try anything.
A few days later, I flew out to Los Angeles to see this guy, and I knocked on his door, and I was thinking, “I flew across the country to see a shaman?”
Gypsy answered the door, and he was about 6 foot 1, with long hair in a ponytail, half American Indian and half Mexican. I walked into his apartment, and there was no furniture, just a massage table in the middle of the living room. He came up to me and looked me in the eye and put his hand on my shoulder and said the following three things:
- She would have done this a long time ago if she never met you.
- You gave her the best 6 years of her life.
- She is finally happy now because she is out of pain. And she wants you to go live your life.
Those were the exact words Jade wrote in the note she left for me.
I never showed him anything, I never even told him about it. How did he know that? At that moment her note finally made sense to me. I started crying.
“But I feel so guilty because I always told her I wouldn’t let anything happen to her because, ‘I’M YOUR SAVIOR,'” I told Gypsy.
He started laughing at me. He said, “First of all, who is going to take you seriously? You’re wearing a Judas Priest shirt. And secondly, you’re not God. You can’t save people. You can only do your best, and you did.”
Then Gypsy said, “You were Chapter Three in her life. Chapter One was the root of the problem, and you weren’t there for Chapter One.” For the next two hours, I lay on Gypsy’s table, and he massaged all the negative crap out of my body. When I stood up off that table, I felt like a new man.
As I was leaving, Gypsy one last thing to me, “By the way Laura didn’t send you here, Jade did.”
When I was driving away I thought about what he said — that Jade sent me. Then I realized that after all these years of me trying to save her, in the end, she saved me.
A couple of years later I was still wandering aimlessly through life, albeit with less pain, and my friend Tommy calls me up and tells me he has a free ticket for me to see Kid Rock the next day. “We’ll get there early and tailgate,” he said. “There will be free booze and a bunch of hot chicks are going to meet us.” I told him I would sleep on it.
The reason I wasn’t sure was because that was Jade’s favorite band, and I felt weird going without her. Well that night as I’m tossing and turning on what I should do, Jade comes to me in my dream for the first time and keeps saying over and over again, “I’m okay, I’m out of pain now. Go tomorrow. You will thank me later.”
So the next day I go to the concert. I start hitting on one of those hot chicks and asked if she had a boyfriend. She said no, and I asked her why. She said, “My last ex had depression issues. I got him the help he needed, and I moved on and haven’t been with a man for a year, and I’m just looking for a nice guy that I don’t have to take care of.”
I said, “Well, I think you caught me at the right time in my life.”
Cut to 3 and a half years later.
Samantha is my wife now, and we have a 2-year-old son. I never thought I could find happiness again. I don’t know where I would be right now if Jade hadn’t saved me yet again. She made me go to that show because my soulmate was there waiting for me.
I really believe that Jade did not think she could be a wife and a mother so she found Samantha for me, along with our little boy named Luke.
I think you can go two ways after a tragedy. You can suppress it and deal with it later on in life or take the grieving head on and deal with it, as devastating as the pain might seem to be.
I realized the hardest work you will ever do in your life is working on yourself. It took me a long time to realize that depression is a disease just like cancer and diabetes, and there is no cure. I know there is such a huge stigma attached to depression, and many people are embarrassed to get help because they think it’s a sign of weakness, and I’m here to tell you it’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a part of life and if you or someone you know needs to be treated, please reach out to them.
Jade would want you to.
If you, or someone you know, is feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
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