Beyond Devastated

Content warning: Suicide

“Next time when we catch up… let’s make it an experience thing, let’s do an escape room or go bowling or something.”

That was the last thing J said to me in person on Friday after lunch. We hugged and then the next Tuesday I heard he was dead. Suicide, according to what people have told me.

J is the 5th friend to take their own life, most of them (like J) never gave any hint as to what was happening. C, M, R, H & J.

Someone suggested J had succumbed to a “moment of weakness” but I strongly dismiss that. People who commit suicide are not weak, they were strong. They were strong to last as long as they did with whatever it was that was gnawing away at them. Strong enough to pretend that there wasn’t this huge blackness looming over them and their lives, but just not enough strength, in that moment, to reach out for help.

It’s natural to turn the lens inwards at this time and think about what you could have done differently. Three of us had coffee last Friday. J had reached out uncharacteristically looking to catch up for coffee (was that a sign?) I spent over 2 hours with him at lunch and we talked about everything from AI to relationships. He declared my technology advice rubbish but the relationship advice useful.

I put my hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eyes and told him: “you are an intelligent, thoughtful, attractive, hard working and above all interesting person and the right person will come along for you, all the best relationships in my life have happened after I spent time on myself, on caring for myself, on what I wanted. One day you’re going to make someone very happy”.

I didn’t say that because he seemed down, more to the contrary, he was talking about future plans and aspirations, the kinds of things he wanted out of life. None of it seemed far fetched or unattainable. I said it because I wanted him to understand his value as a person. How important he was to me as a friend. I even affirmed that. I told him how grateful I was to know him, that he meant a lot to me.

I have no idea why my friend took his own life and I don’t think I will ever know. I also don’t think I will ever know what words I could have said, things I could have done, promises or bargains I could have made to change the course he had chosen.

So all I can feel right now is this unfocused sadness and rage. Sadness at a brilliant little point of light in our world snuffed out way too soon. Angry just at the world and our crushing reality where someone can be driven to the point where that is their only option. I want to break open the clouds of Heaven, shake my fist at God and call Him a monster.

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