“If Love Were Enough”

“. . . I went back and took the water out of my stories.”

-Donny O’ Malley


“If Love Were Enough”

Fiction. Based on a True Experience of Loss

By Sarah J. Bartholomew


This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.


I always pass our graveyard when I drive from New Jersey to South Carolina.
The graveyard of the friendships that were born so organically
Despite the stress and cigarette smoke that colored our mornings, afternoons, and nights.

I fill out a visitor’s pass and drive around our old barracks, still looming high like towers, where those that failed testing were forced to move a few floors down in case they were tempted to jump.

I pass by our formation area where we stood half-frozen, ice racing to cover our backs.
Stood straight and tall, straight and tall, straight and tall.

I never felt that Virginia was my home, but I feel as if we will never belong elsewhere. Homes provide a relaxed contentedness, whether the home is a house or a smoke pit during an unforgiving winter.

Closure does not exist in cases like these unless you’re religious. Even if I was, I know you weren’t.

I am sorry that the world led you to think that it was better off without you.
I am sorry that the love you had for yourself- for life- ran so, so dry.
We mourn for you.
I mourn for you.

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