It's November. In a few days you will have been dead one year. 12 months of not seeing you, not hearing you, and still the question is unsettled in my heart.

If I had called you like I said I would, would you still have killed yourself?

We hadn't known each other long, a few months at maximum. But I held your hand in the women's resource center when you sobbingly confessed to a counselor the 15 years of sexual abuse you'd braved with your father as a child. I sat on the steps of the welfare office and smoked with you as you desperately tried to get some food for your children. I spent the night on your couch once when the demands of motherhood and self-discovery became too much and you needed to hide in your bathroom for a full day. The differences between us were many - you were 34, I was 21. You had four children and two ex-husbands; I had no children and was happily engaged. And yet from the first time I saw you I felt a bond, a pull of sameness. We laughed, we cried, we held hands and ate luncheons together. It should have been priceless; it should have lasted so much longer.

Suddenly you pulled away. You didn't return my calls and you didn't answer the door when I knocked. There was no explanation and it hurt. So I stopped knocking, stopped calling.

Then out of the blue, you called me. Sobbing. You asked me to come over later that week - I was uncomfortable after the weeks of non-communication. I said yes I'd come over Friday. You asked me to call you tomorrow. I said - "I'll call you tomorrow." And I never did.

A month later I got the call that you had been found dead, suicide by overdose, leaving no note, in your apartment.

It's been almost a full year now since I got the phone call about your death. And yet - the question still remains. One that may never be answered....If I had called you, would you still be dead?

I'm sorry, Mikki. If it makes a difference, I return my phone calls now. I know the price that may be paid if I don't. I'm so sorry.