A friend died last Thursday.
He ended his own life. A friend I hadn’t seen in years, but a friend all the same. A teacher, a musician, a husband, a father. With a daughter close to the same age as my own: five. He was forty years old.
I received the sad news one morning last week. In a message from a mutual friend. It was the first thing that entered my mind that day, this tragic news, and at first it didn’t compute.
He took his life. He is the first friend I’ve known who has committed suicide. It doesn’t seem real, that this person who was so alive and intelligent and complicated and hilarious and all the other things he was, to be gone just like that. It almost doesn’t seem real because there is no mention of it on social media amidst any of our many mutual friends. We are respecting his family’s wishes. But it is true, damn it.
I wrote his wife, now widow, who is my friend too. Even though there are no words, I wrote her. I’m thinking of her and him and their daughter and sending them love and metta.
I cannot imagine what she is going through. Even though I’ve read books written by widows about the experience of living through and beyond their beloved’s death, whether sudden or prolonged, I simply cannot fathom the grief and pain.
The other night, my friend appeared in my dream. As we were embracing in a big bear hug, I broke down in sobs. But I felt comforted by him, not sad about his death. In the dream, he was not dead. I was crying about something else, and he was consoling me. Only today as I was walking to yoga did I realize, on some level, the dream level, that that was our goodbye.
Adios, dear friend. Thank you. We will miss you. May you be free.
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