I thought that I’d talk about something that happened last week, I think that I’m able to write about it now with more clarity than had I done so when it happened.
I lost a friend last week.
I met him when I was 19. He was the best friend of my boyfriend. And, he quickly became one of my best friends, too.
It was the three of us. We went almost everywhere together, except when my boyfriend and I went out by ourselves, of course.
He was gorgeous. He had these blue eyes that danced mischievously and he was always smiling. Always happy, at least on the outside. He was a very secretive kid, though. To get him to open up and talk, we’d make a game. Instead of telling me when he fooled around with someone, he played Scrabble. Or Life. Depending on how far the fooling around went. That’s how he opened up, though. That’s how I learned about him, through code words. Through the names of board games, I learned what he was doing when he wasn’t hanging out with me.
He became part of my family. My sister became close with him, as did my parents. Well, as close as he would let anyone become at that time.
He’d call me to make plans, letting me know that he was feeling generous and wanted to take me out to dinner, or dancing, or whatever I felt like doing. He didn’t care, anything was fine with him.
When I went away to college, he visited often, schlepping me and my friends around.
He was a joy. That’s the stupidest sounding word to describe being with him but it was the truth. He was a great friend, a wonderful person and I adored him.
We’d drive around blasting New Order’s Blue Monday, which became our song for some strange reason.
It was an easy, relaxed, no-pressure friendship. Sure, I had a crush on him, who wouldn’t, he was beautiful. But, I was perfectly content just being close with him; just being friends.
Our friendship lasted longer than my relationship with his friend. But, like many boy-girl friendships, ours came to an end too, shortly after I married my ex-husband. We kept in touch for a couple years but eventually, and for really no good reason, we just went our separate ways.
My sister, however, remained in contact with him, on and off throughout the last few years. As did my father. I’m glad they did, I regret that I didn’t stay close with him.
He killed himself last week. Shot himself, I heard.
I can’t help but think that maybe, had we still been friends, I could have made a difference. Although, his best friend, who wrote a beautiful poem that he read at the funeral, cried because he wondered if he could have helped. Had he opened up to him. Had he spoke of the internal torment he must have been dealing with that led him to choose to take his own life.
He leaves behind a very, very sad wife, two children and devastated parents; he was an only child. And, he leaves behind many friends, both old and new and all heartbroken and wondering what they could have said or done to make him change his mind. He was too young and had too much ahead of him to give up like that. It makes me sad to think of the demons he must have been carrying inside him that would lead him to commit suicide.
It’s one thing to be private, I completely get that. There are some things that others just don’t need to know. It’s an altogether different thing to keep everything under lock and key, not letting anyone in to share your deepest pains and joys.
Suicide is a selfish act. There are so many other ways to deal with what is going on internally. If you or anyone you know are thinking of killing yourself, don’t. Take a deep breath and call family or friends. Ask for help.
Call the police.
Just don’t give up.
From a person who just lost an old friend to suicide.
Things CAN get better.
They DO get better.
Maybe not right away.
Sometimes it takes a lot of hard work and determination.
But things usually do and will improve.