Few weeks ago, I woke up to find these words in an email “…he committed suicide.” Suicide: the action of killing oneself intentionally. I stood, staring at my iPhone as the word suicide repeated over and over in my head. There were so many emotions that washed over me all at once – anger, fear, regret, remorse, grief, and others that I have no words for. This is the first time I was touched by suicide. As though I was on autopilot, I showered, got dressed and went to work. It seemed strange that time continued to pass, all of my day’s obligation still existed despite this incredible tragedy.
Later that day, I searched for all the emails we’ve exchanged and read it. I looked at the words said and words unsaid. I wanted to find the unsaid words, the words I should have heard. I went to Google, typed in his name and read through all 14 pages of Google results. I looked at all the search results from Google images. I also read through his Facebook posts. I don’t know exactly what I was looking for or why I was doing this but I did. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I must have missed something. Maybe if I found some clue that he was reaching out for help, I can go from grieving to being angry at myself.
His obituary said he was 24 years old… When I read that, I felt rage, it welled up from some deep part of me. Then I felt sorrow. He didn’t have perspective of his older self to tell his younger self that this pain he’s experiencing, this will pass.
Few days after reading that email, I connected with the friend who shared the sad news. As soon as I got on the phone, we both started to cry. It was a deep release of pain, sorrow, grief and all the things that was said and unsaid. Despite the pain, at some point during the call, we both noticed a sense of kindness, gentleness and sweetness – both of us crying, sharing our humanness.
There was no looking away from the pain. No attempt to hide. No attempt to deny our sorrow. I practiced and felt what it meant to be truly in my grief. It reminded me of this poem:
Don’t turn your head.
at the bandaged place.
the Light enters you.
The sense I’m left with is incompleteness. I’ll never know this beautiful human being as his older self. I’ll never get a chance to ask my many questions.
Sigh. I really miss you, my dear, beautiful, darling friend.
PS – After my friend’s suicide, I came across this podcast on On Being titled Suicide, and Hope for Our Future Selves. Perhaps you may find it helpful as well.