I’ve been talking in a lot of circles recently, trying to make sense of what happened.
Monday, in the middle of my work-day, my best friend called. I figured she had the day off and forgot that I have a regular nine to five, so I quickly texted, Hey! What’s up? No response. A minute later the phone rang again, I silenced it. A few seconds later it rang again. I knew it must be something too good or too bad to text, and hoped for the latter as I picked up. It wasn’t.
Just hours ago, a good friend of ours had passed away. He took his own life.
How does one respond to this? When you can’t process the news you’re receiving, what is the appropriate thing to do? What are the first words you should say? Do you say words? Do you burst into tears? What if tears don’t come? What if tears don’t stop coming? Where do you go? Do you sit behind your computer? Do you hide in the bathroom? Do you leave the office and go for a walk? Do you try and explain to the new receptionist why you’re leaving? Do you bring your stuff? Do you come back for it later? What do you do when you hang up? Do you call other people? Who do you call? What do you say? How do you talk?
How is the ice cream truck still playing that damned music? Why is it such a beautiful day? How are all of these people surviving? Seriously what is keeping them from wandering into the road and getting hit by cars? What is keeping the cars on the road? What is keeping the birds in the sky? What is keeping my feet on the ground? If I jump high enough will I float into the sky? Why am I alive? What comes after life? Why is nothing making sense? Am I awake right now? Is there another dimension of reality in which this didn’t happen? How do I not think about this all the time? Can he hear my thoughts right now? Is he in heaven right now? What does he think of all of this? Does he feel better now? Are things better now? Was it an accident but he couldn’t change his mind because it was too late? How can one second change everything? How does one second only last one second and not forever? Is this what happens when one second lasts forever?
Why have only three people written on his facebook wall? Why are people writing on his facebook wall? What the fuck does facebook have to do with any of this? Why is that the cover photo on our friendship page? Should I write something? What would I say? Would writing something on facebook seem superficial? Would other people judge my post as a misplaced cry for attention? Are other people expecting me to say something about this, and would therefore judge the absence of a post? How does one communicate the gravity of what happened without expressing more grief than one deserves to feel or display? How much grief is too much? Where do we draw the line between who can and can’t be affected by this? Why is this even a thought in my head? Why are humans so self-centered?
Where do we go from here? How long do we talk about this? When do we accept this? Can we refuse to accept this? Do we pick up a torch, and join causes to stop this from happening? Will it help?
For this post, I didn’t feel like it would be appropriate for me to write in specifics about my friend. I don’t want his life to be tied to his death. That, and I don’t think I have the authority to write about someone else’s life. In a lot of ways, I knew him very well. We grew up together, spent countless nights roaming around our neighborhood and talking about life, bearing witness to each other’s growth, becoming ourselves. In a lot of ways, I didn’t know him very well. We grew apart in college, only catching up on holidays, and I didn’t know a lot of the newer people in his life. That being said, he will always hold a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his influence in my life. You will be greatly, greatly missed. I can’t believe this is real.