There's an old song from 1970 called "Julie, Do You Love Me." I've found myself humming it a lot this week, singing the words from the chorus to myself. "Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya love me? Julie, Julie, Julie do ya care?" I remember singing those words to Julie throughout her life, usually in a teasing way as I tried to coax a laugh or a smile out of her when she was in one of her moods. I probably picked it up from my mom, as I can remember her singing the same song to Julie when we were young.
It's not that any of us doubted if Julie loved us. She was so good at showing her love for people. It was her pain, hopelessness and despair that she had a hard time letting others see. Those of us who loved her knew it was there, of course. We just didn't realize how big and overwhelming it had become for her. Now we know. We'll never forget.
She's been gone seven years now. Today is her birthday and my heart hurts. I miss her horribly. I'll call my mom, and my sister Amy, and we'll laugh and cry and reminisce. I'll think about all the moments we shared together and wish there had been more time with her. That song will keep playing on auto-repeat in my head. "Julie, Julie, Julie do ya love me? Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya care?"
After she died there was a time when I wondered how she could ever be so cruel to those of us she loved. I took it so personally when she chose to leave us. I questioned her love for me. I don't doubt her love anymore. I'll never know exactly why Julie chose to end her life. What I do know is that it wasn't an intentional act of cruelty towards those of us she loved. I know she loved me just as much as I loved her.