An old friend of mine apparently took his own life this week. Now, I hadn’t spoken to him in many many years and we were never super best buds or anything but I did hang out at his house from time to time and really enjoyed our time together. He was one of the nicest, sweetest, funniest, most genuine people I’d ever met. We grew up in the same neighborhood and continued to hang out now and then into adulthood, playing video game and chatting about life’s mysteries. I think the last time I saw him was when we got together to play a Star Wars RPG game. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I saw him but never the less I miss knowing his presence is in the world.
I don’t know the details of his death. I don’t know what was going on in his life. He was a gentle and sensitive soul. Maybe too sensitive to live in what can be a very rough world sometimes. And while I’m sad that for whatever reason, this is how his journey ended, I can’t be angry, as is the natural reaction sometimes when someone commits suicide. Because I understand in a way. This isn’t to say I condone or in any way endorse it but I can understand it.
While I have never actually contemplated suicide, I have been in that place. Where everything seems so bleak, so heavy, so overwhelming. Where even if you don’t actually want to take your life, part of you thinks “I wouldn’t mind if I just didn’t wake up tomorrow, though.” I’m sorry that whatever he was going through obviously overwhelmed and blinded him to the fact that he was loved and that many would be hurt and devastated by his loss. Even old friends who he may not have realized even remembered his existence any more. Any time I’ve been in the depths of a funk, this has always been my overriding thought. The thought of how much losing me would hurt my mom, my dad, all those who love me and all those who I might not even know love me, all those who I don’t even know I mean anything at all to.
I’m always kind of surprised at how much I’m affected when I learn of the death of someone from my past. Someone who I’ve had no interaction with in years, or decades. But then I think about it and I shouldn’t be surprised. Every single person I’ve ever known, loved, or had any meaningful interaction with is part of who I today. Chuck Pehl who lived down the road from me as a child. James Mikel from 4th grade. Sheila Vincent, my major crush from 4th through 8th grade. Dave Westerman (RIP), the bass player in my first band. Hundreds, thousands of people. You’re all a part of making me who I am today and who I will be in the future (just to make sure that was clear, those people are all alive as far as I know except Dave).
No matter who you are, I can promise you that there a lot of people who love you and would miss you. Maybe you know that, maybe you don’t. There are countless more who you have no idea even think about or care, but they do. And if it ever gets too hard to believe that or remember that, then focus on this: I love you and care about you.
RIP, my friend. The world is a lesser place without you. For those of us still here, please believe me, it would be a lesser place without any of you as well.