A few days ago a friend of mine took his own life. I’ve been on this planet for quite a while and though I’ve lost friends to death (the bastard) it’s never been to suicide.
My initial reaction was to reject the whole idea. I’d just seen him and talked to him. In fact, the day before he died. How could he possibly be dead? By his own hand?
The thoughts that quickly followed were of our last conversation. Had I said something wrong? Had he left me a clue I didn’t pick up on? Should I have given more signifigance to that last look? He had seemed a little quiet. A little distant. Should I have known what he was planning to do?
As the weekend progressed, we tried to learn more about what happened. But the police wouldn’t release information because none of us were the next of kin. We still know very little.
He wasn’t my best friend but he was a family friend. He sat at my table for every holiday meal for the last nine years.
He gave me advice about my car or latest do it yourself project.
He was thoughtful.
He was kind.
He always offered to help.
He had a good heart.
But though he liked to talk, he rarely spoke about himself in any personal way. He never shared secrets or confided. He was manly in that way – old school I guess you’d call it. Like a lot of men, he didn’t share his feelings.
I would have been happy to listen. But he never asked. I tried to encourage him. But he never said a word. I hope that he had someone who he could talk to. But my guess is that he didn’t.
And now he’s not talking to anyone.
And there’ll be an empty chair at my holiday table this year (and every year after). And I’ll miss him.
And I wish that he’d have talked to me or to someone. I wish that he’d have known that nobody would be happy about his choice. I wish he’d have known that those of us he left behind would have an empty place in their hearts that shouldn’t be empty.
I wish that he’d have known that life is worth living. That it’s a gift. It’s also a bitch. Life. It ain’t for sissies and that’s a fact.
I hope that if there is a next life that he’s happier there. That he finds a friend he can talk to. And that he doesn’t feel so awfully alone anymore.
And if anyone who is reading this is considering suicide, I ask you with all my heart to please reconsider. You matter to someone. They will care that you’re gone. They will be heartbroken that you’re gone. They will have a hole in their heart, where you should be. They will forever ask themselves why? And they’ll spend the rest of their lives never finding the answer.