Two Breaths Too Late
by Rochelle Maya Callen
After years of secrets and bruises, Ellie Walker takes her own life only weeks before her high school graduation. She expected to be free, but instead is forced to face the brokenness she has left behind.
This story isn't about happily-ever-afters.
It is about the millions of terrible and beautiful moments that make up a life and the hope that lives in even the darkest of places.
A Message from the Author:
I let you take me. I handed you a rope, a chair, and a hollow shell of a girl forgetting that I didn't have to be hollow at all.
I press my forehead against the glass. The feeling rakes through me. There is no relief or freedom here, in this in-between, in this limbo. This is not the sanctuary I wanted.
Hope can't be a hollow wish or dream. It needs to be filled, levied, brimming over with intention and action and belief and reaching, reaching, reaching, stretching until your muscles ache because you want it that damn much, and you won't stop reaching until you hold it.
Until it is yours.
I let go too soon.
This is by far the longest review I ever wrote. I guess because it hit so close to home and a subject that I’m adamant about supporting in any way I can. I can’t thanks Author Rochelle Maya Callen for bravely writing this story that is also close to her heart and for supporting suicide prevention through this book, her new project HoldOn2Hope, and for supporting To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). I actually wrote the second part of this review in the middle of reading Two Breaths Too Late. I was inspired by a revelation I had by seeing things through Ellie’s eyes and seeing the things she realized too late. Ellie has a less than perfect home life, one that she does everything she can to keep secret while trying to find any way to protect her hart and find a way to escape. Her school life doesn’t fare much better and as she sees her hopes and dreams start to crumble she does what she the thinks is the only way to escape the pain and misery. The problem is she doesn’t realize that she gave up and lost all hope when there was still hope to hold on to. She realizes that she wants to live two breathes too late, then when she isn’t immediately welcomed by the peace of death she comes to grips of the harsh reality of how much she really lost and the pain she caused the people around her. In one moment of desperation she forgets the tiny moments of hope that she let slip by that could have saved her. I tried my best not cry but in the end my heart broke knowing a life was lost too soon and also from knowing too many people close to me who have either contemplated giving up on life by taking their own, came close to losing their lives too soon by failed attempts, or who have succeeded in having their life snuffed out by their own devises because they felt suffocated in their pain and trapped in circumstances that seemed to no hope in escape. There also needs to be an awareness of how those who struggle mental illness are affected by emotions that overwhelm them to the point that they can only see the wall crumbling in on them, they see no other way out because their brain isn't trained to see the positive, not because they don’t want but because their brains aren't rigged that way. They can be taught to see things that way through therapy and counseling but due to society’s stigmas on mental illness they steer away from getting the help they need afraid of being labeled and ridiculed. Generations before us were taught to ignore and hide their illness or their love ones who were ill so they would not be judge by society. Sadly this still lingers in some people’s minds and they deny that these illness or real, they think “it’s just in our heads”, which the funny part is, it’s a chemical imbalance in our heads or they think it’s just another gimmick that the pharmaceutical and medical community made up too get more money. And this may sound weird to you but it is the harsh reality that we live in, that I live in because I myself and love ones who suffer from mental illness or some kind of mental/emotional/social/behavioral disorder yet those in our immediate family who are supposed to be our support system who deny these things exist leaving us to feel criticized, abandoned, and alone. However, I thank God every day for my best friend who may never know exactly how much of a blessing she is to me or how much she has given me the strength when I felt like crashing to the ground and not getting up. She never judges me and understands me as no one else. I also am blessed and thankful for the countless book friends I’ve found online who have been a support system for me, most of them suffering from some kind of mental illness and some even have wrestled one time or another with attempts of suicide when their world seemed too hard to deal with and they thought all hope was gone. True hope is never really gone, it just may be harder to find and must be sought out in the deepest of cracks hidden in our lives. Just Remember YOU ARE SPECIAL, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE WITH IT, and YOU ARE LOVED!!!!
I see from both sides of the fences now. I’ve been where all I could was my own pain. I couldn’t comprehend the pain it would cause others. I couldn’t see that I was being selfish. No way could me being gone change anyone’s life that drastically, surely they could get along without me. I was a no body. Yes, I had friends who cared about me but I also had many who used and discarded me for something better. I was many times the subject of ridicule, teasing, and bullying far as long as I could remember. I could never live up to my sister’s image or fill her shoes academically or socially as much as I tried, it was to no avail. I had very very few friends who accepted me for me and didn’t let my sister steal away the lime light and push me to the back burner. She was always smarter, always more outgoing, always the one the guys wanted. She was so much the dominate one that my friends and boyfriends became her friends and boyfriends leaving me a shadow that just tagged along. My parents never really saw me. They were too busy with their own problems, with their health issues, marriage problems, money problems too even see their daughter was just a hollow of who she could be. I so wanted to die but when I couldn’t bring myself to go through with it, I went in search of something to fill the emptiness inside, to stop the pain even if it was temporary. I would do anything to feel accepted, to feel like I belonged somewhere but truth be told I never felt like I was accepted or belonged no matter what I did. One day I did find a place that I was accepted and belonged, it was there all along but I was blinded by my own self-centerness and consumed with all my pain and regrets that I didn’t see it til years later. I finally saw the Light, My Heavenly Father loved me and created me in His image, I was enough for Him, I was His beloved daughter whom He loved and cherished. I was pretty enough, I was smart enough, and I was worthy enough to love. And to prove it He had His Son take my place of Death for all my mistakes, who was beaten, shamed, and ridiculed so all my physical and emotional pains could be healed. Now I don’t always see the fact that He created me to have this life so I would have a chance to know Him as a blessing. Many times when life gets tough I wonder why He made me, how could I be so special that He has saved my life and forgiven my transgression countless times ,and has accepted me back into His arms every time I’ve run away. Life is a struggle and even the greatest of Prophets of God and Disciples of Christ went through hardships and wrestled with their humanity, they had doubts, they wanted to give up, they messed up, they felt despair but they eventually got back up, dusted themselves off and trudge through life’s murky waters til the day God called them home to Glory. I wait for that day, sometimes beg God for that day to be now but now I still have a job to do here one Earth. I have two kids and soon a grandbaby who need me no matter how many times they may say they don’t need me or how many times I believe those lies, if I truly pictured their life without me I know if would be devastating to them and hurt them in countless ways, the consequences would be vast. And I know God isn’t through with me yet and I want to live a life worthy of Him, He gave all for me, the most I can do if give back to others what he has given to me. And yes this is the side where I see from other side of the fence. I see what would truly happen if I would have ever or would ever follow through on the dark emotions as Ellie did. I have also seen it from a mother’s point of view, the pain that would encompass losing a child who decided life was too hard and they were in the stage of where all they could see was their own world crashing down around them, they couldn’t see how their decision of ending their life would affect others, they just wanted a way out from the pain. So I’ve guess I’ve come full circle from being in Ellie’s shoes and only seeing my own pain and not seeing the world around me and how my life or death affected others to actually opening my eyes to see more than just myself and how my choices affect those around me to being the parent of a child who was in Ellie’s shoes only seeing their own pain and their own world. If you are wondering, no my child did not end up like Ellie but she tried a few times and the last time was the most scariest time and could have resulted in her death had not it been for the Grace of God intervening and convicting my child to seek help for medical attention before it was too late. She was also on a self-destructive path like her mother was, for 2 and half years and those were the most stressful, scariest years of my life because I never knew what trouble she would get into next or what crazy thing should would do to get around whatever rules I tried laying down just to do what she wanted to do, and I was terrified to sleep at night afraid I would wake up with one less child.
Mental illness is real, abuse of all kinds is real, bullying is real, suicide epidemic is real, and you never truly know what goes on in other people’s secret lives, in their homes, their minds, and their hearts. So be kind, be aware, and be open to the world around you. No matter who or where you are or how insignificant you may think you are, you can make a difference in someone’s life. Just reach out to them, be friend, give them hope, if you have Jesus in your heart, let His Light shine through you .Even if you only ever touch one life, save one person from making that awful life ending decision, only bright one person’s day or life with a smile or kind word or friendship, then you have done something to change the world!
Holdon2hope FB page
Holdon2hope FB page
About the Author:
ROCHELLE MAYA CALLEN is a bestselling YA author. Her first novel became a #1 Hot New Release on Amazon in 2013 within 24 hours of its debut. She has pet llamas in Ecuador, built homes in Mexico, played with orphans in Argentina and has spoken the words of Mother Teresa in front of 27,000 people at Reliant Stadium. She has been a speaker to young people since she was a teenager and has been a behavioral coach for 10 years. She lives with her husband and young daughter near Washington, D.C. Her personal experiences of loss and strength inspired her novel, TWO BREATHS TOO LATE and the #HoldOn2Hope suicide prevention project.
Follow the HoldOn2Hope project.
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