Valentine’s Week is always difficult for me. I had a friend in high school commit suicide during this time, and no matter how hard I try, I still think about how I felt when I heard the news. I thought it was a mistake. I thought they had the name wrong. I was in college and he was still in high school. I graduated early from high school, so I left my friends behind, as I ventured on to further my education. When I heard the news, I immediately thought I wasn’t a good enough friend. He didn’t feel he could talk to me about his feelings. Then, at the funeral, my friends and I were discussing his life, and the subject of murder came up. They believed he didn’t commit suicide, but he was murdered, or at least it was an assisted suicide. I think this is how we dealt with our grief at the time.
We looked over at his parents, and some of my friends blamed them for what happened. They said they didn’t love him, and they were horrible parents. At the time, I didn’t doubt my friends, and I couldn’t hide my pain. I believed he was murdered. We speculated who could have done it, and how the parents kept popping up on our suspect list. This is how we handled the pain, the confusion, and the sting of betrayal. Now that I am older, I know they weren’t bad parents. They were just as distraught as the rest of us. We all had to deal with our grief in different ways.
I could talk about my friend’s life, and how much fun I had with him. I could talk about how he was always there when you needed him. I could say how he always used to snap his fingers in class and when he walked down the hallways. He always seemed to be happy. But I know better now; he wasn’t happy. For someone to take their own life, they have to be in a place of suffocating darkness. A place where your own thoughts can’t even penetrate the shadows. I know. Because I’ve been there, and wished it would end so many times. Thinking about how other people would feel if I died – that thought didn’t make it through to me until I came out of the darkness and started to breathe again. Knowing how that feels, I can say he’s not a coward or a selfish person. He was just dealing with the pain. He couldn’t handle it anymore. And for that, I wish I was a better friend. I wish I had noticed how much he was hurting. I wish I had asked how he was doing – or just shown that I could be there for him when he needed me.
So, I regret how I wasn’t a good enough person, or a loyal enough friend. And come Valentine’s week, I can’t seem to stop thinking about this. Not an obsessive thought, just a thought in the back of my mind that makes me want to be a better person to everyone in my life now. To all my friends and family, you can talk to me about anything you need, and know I will listen. I will try to help. If I can’t help, I’ll just walk with you for however long you need someone with you. I can do that..maybe.