I lost my best friend, my very first true best friend, the one who taught me how to love and how to be loved back, to suicide in July 2015. The following is my thoughts when I found out he had taken his own life…
…4 months after it happened.
You see, we had lost touch and I had made myself invisible to everyone around him. I don’t typically believe in regret – it only leads to negativity – however in this case I truly regret leaving his circle. I’m still not sure why I felt it necessary. I missed his memorial. I missed the late night call. I missed saying goodbye.
Because the brain is a funny thing, I seem to have blocked out most of the hardcore grieving.
So here, from my Facebook and various platforms, the recounting of my thoughts and feelings during that time:
November 11, 2015
The journey of life is such a strange thing. I just learned that the person who was my light when I couldn’t see through the darkness left this life a few months ago.
November 12, 2015
I woke up this morning and he was still gone. It wasn’t all just a horrible nightmare giving me chills while I sleep. It’s real life.
I went to sleep crying and I woke up crying. My 2 year old keeps asking why I’m crying. Mommy’s just sad baby. So very sad.
“There will come a day when the joy runs out. Do not ask “What could I have done?” but instead ask “What will I do now?” Think of me when you hear music, and laugh at something you remembered me saying. Know that I am silent and still, and believe me when I say that sweet nothingness is preferred to this life of disgrace, heartache, and pain. I will be no longer be a burden. There will come a day when the joy runs out.”
Pat wrote this on his Facebook February 18th, 2012.
I don’t recall what inspired him to write it, but I saved this note because he put his soul into words.
Words that rang true, unfortunately, way too soon.
So tonight, at Pat’s request, I’m asking myself, “What will I do now?” Instead of the “What should I have done? What could have I done?” that has plagued me since I found out what had happened. Months ago. That I did not know had happened.
I lost him through choices that were very much my own. What will I do, now that my heart is incomplete? I will think of him when I hear music. I will laugh when I remember something he said. I will remember that he isn’t here suffering in the prison of his dark thoughts and insecurities. I will continue to love him as if he were still here, because I don’t know how not to.
In a serendipitous way, he’s the reason that my husband and I are together today. I had stopped at Walmart to grab some books because I was preparing for an extended visit with my friend, Pat, who was having a rough night. The (future) husband just happened to be building a feature nearby. We got to talking and planned to hang out soon.
Three days later, we were sure that we’d never be apart again.
Pat officiated our wedding in the rose garden at Gage Park a year later to the day.
We had lost touch the last couple of years. I’d gotten busy raising kids and building our new extended family and Pat had been busy working and playing his beloved music. We met for coffee at Denny’s about two and a half years ago to catch up and share memories. He had changed and so had I and we couldn’t find our common ground anymore. We both just kind of let our relationship slip into fun memories and the occasional longing to be together, where we used to be.
I’m a firm believer that everyone comes into your life to give you a lesson, good or bad. Pat taught me many lessons in our time together; a hug is the best medicine, astrophysics is fascinating, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan and Alexei Filippenko are awesome to watch in lecture. That music is a piece of my soul and goes deeper than a Top 40 pop radio station. Today Pat is teaching me to not take for granted the people that come into your life unexpectedly and leave the same way.
I love you, Pat. I’ll forever miss your hugs and dumb Assy McGee references.
I’ll never forget your smile.
January 1, 2016
You’re on my mind a lot today, buddy. There was a curious string of songs in my Pandora shuffle and while I know that if you were here you’d tell me how silly I was being and it’s just a coincidence, but I can’t help but think that it’s you giving me a little boost when you know the day is rough.
Miss you, been missing you. Wish I could tell you that.
(To my friend in a private chat) I can’t say this on my picture because it’s too public. But I’m having such a hard time dealing with his loss.
It’s like a shot to the gut. I feel like I failed him. He couldn’t function on a “hey how ya doing” every six months. He was a full-contact, likes-to-hang-out-in real-life type of guy.
I knew that about him and I just, I feel so badly that I let him grow away from me.
That I let myself become a part of his list of “people that don’t give a shit” because I totally gave a shit. I guess I’m really struggling with what I know his last thoughts were before he took his life.
I know he was listing off all the people that had failed him because I talked him down from that thought before. Many times. I have a Facebook messenger full of me talking him down from that. I wasn’t there that time to talk him down from that.
I know that’s not fair of me to put that on myself. I know that intellectually, but it hurts my heart so fucking much.
This. This haunts me so
He was there for me in my bad time. I was there for him in many of his bad times. I wasn’t there in his last bad time. I don’t know.
I feel selfish. For not trying harder to make him a part of my life. I’m struggling in the shoulda coulda woulda. It’s a favorite past time of mine. I keep pep talking myself “You didn’t know, There’s no way you could’ve known, he shut himself off, too”. I’m just really struggling today. I’ve been in tears for hours. I’m just struggling with my choices. I’m hurting.
February 23, 2016
It’s your birthday today. Normally, I’d be constructing some smart assed email joking about getting old and having you sneak goodies in to me at the nursing home. Instead I’ll be heading out to see your headstone in the country, along with the kiddos so I’m not tempted to be out there for too long. Missing you Pat. Today and everyday. Happy Birthday.
July 3, 2016
It’s been a year. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year. What I wouldn’t give for a Pat hug today. Instead, I’m watching astrophysics documentaries, some of your very favorites, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson and of course Alexei Fillipenko. They’re not the same without you here to dumb them down for me, but it feels like the right thing to do.
I’m looking forward to catching up with your family later today and celebrating your life and sharing memories. Until we meet again, I love you and miss you so, so much.
July 3, 2017
It’s been 2 years that you’ve been gone. I still miss you every day. I find myself in tears when I come across random 6 ft tall bald dudes, with sweet beards sporting some chucks. There are more of those than you would expect. It’s never you, if only I could convince my brain to stop looking. What I wouldn’t do for one more Pat hug. Love dove.
February 23, 2018
Happy Birthday dear friend. Watching some Cosmos tonight and thinking of you. Miss you so much, today and every day.
“when you meet that person.. a person. one of your Soulmates. Let the connection, relationship be what it is. It may be five mins, five hours, five days, five months. Five years. A lifetime. Let it manifest itself, the way it is meant to. It has an organic destiny. This way if it stays or if it leaves, you will be softer from having been Loved this authentically. Souls come into, return, open, and sweep through your life for a myriad of reasons, let them be who and what they are meant.”
― Nayyirah Waheed
My ex husband killed himself two months ago, and I’m not coping.
He has left behind a four year old daughter, and as we are still married, I am his next of kin.
I left him 18 months ago, he seemed happy and he seemed to get on with his life.
Since leaving him, I have been dating someone new.
I found my ex hanging from his loft. Since then, he is almost all I can think about.
My partner has been great, amazing, incredible, but I really cannot shake a feeling of guilt, and sadness, wondering why he did it, and how if I hadn’t left him, he would still be alive.
It’s breaking my heart, and it’s breaking my soul. Every time I feel strong again, the slightest thing sends me right back to square one. I saw him hours before he died. Why didn’t I notice any signs or see anything wrong? He seemed happy and normal and himself.
I am so cross with him. How could he do this to our baby? How could he not see that she adores him and hangs off his every word?
He will never know how many regrets I have. He will never know he is so missed. I don’t know how to rebuild my life, as a 20-something widow, single mum of a grieving four year old.
But this site…This site makes me realize, once again, that I really do need help. I was working backwards through the categories, because I am a rebel like that. I click on Surviving, and what do I see, but Trauma Resources. And I was like, okay, let’s read that because I probably don’t need to know about Murder Resources, Military Matters, or Rape.
“Emotional trauma may be caused by a one-time event, like a rape, or from ongoing stress, like living with a chronic illness.”
Huh. I have a chronic illness or 10. All mental. Do those count?
- Depression since I was a child, not a teen or even preteen. Child.
- Debilitating anxiety that makes it so that I cannot handle any form of outside work, unless it has a well-defined and very soon end date
- Aunt Becky’s descriptions of her son’s “autistic-ey behaviors” have made me suspect that maybe my mom hasn’t been telling doctors and child psychologists everything about me, because I see a WHOLE LOT of me in the descriptions.
And hey, stress? You betcha. My fiance and I live on about 25 hours a week worth of minimum wage. We had to cut our food budget this year to make it so that I did feel so ridiculously guilty for not being able to give my family anything but the same mediocre homemade jewelry I have given them since I was about 13. My depression and anxiety make our relationship tumultuous, because you can’t really expect a 22-year old with 2 previous relationships under his belt to be able to take a step back and see through my actions and know what is going on. My mom insists on being the EXACT amount of bitchy and annoying to make me feel guilty for wanting her completely out of my life one week, and calling her because I’m sick the next.
Symptoms of Trauma:
- Inability to concentrate
- Anxiety, edginess, racing heartbeat
- Numbness, withdrawing from people
- Insomnia, nightmares
- Muscle aches
Okay, that’s all but one…umm…This is not boding well, is it?
The nightmares? Oh yeah, those have been almost nightly for about a year now. Always different. Sometimes perfectly rational, sometimes not.
Muscle aches? My back causes me constant pain. All day. Every day. Doctors have no suggestions.
But trauma? From what, really? Even I can’t place what I am going through that is so awful, and I am often a big drama queen about my own shit.
There are more pressing things too. Things that I have never ever said to anyone ever. Things I think of that fit in perfectly with my “symptoms” but that I can’t find in my memory to place somewhere on the time line.
Sex hurts. A lot. Like, once I blacked out in the bathroom because we hadn’t had sex in a week or two and so it hurt even more than usual. Doctors have told me nothing more than, “Well he should be more gentle” by looking at where I tell them it hurts. Gentle hurts more because it is longer. The internet tells me that something being in there often enough should make it go away. Not likely, seeing how I have had sex plenty of times and it still hurts like hell. Or with lubrication. Yeah, thanks, but that’s not the problem either. The actual size of the hole is the problem.
It is getting worse. If I go 2 days without having sex, it will hurt every time for a month again. Right now, if I tried, I would bleed. Lots.
For a while we just..stopped. For a few months. Probably 4 or 5, because he is really the most understanding guy out there.
It got even worse. Every time we started to get any form of intimate, even if it was just kissing, I felt like I had been kicked in the crotch. My mind raced constantly, because, yeah anxiety makes me unreasonable. “what if I was circumcised as a baby and nobody told me?” (impossible I think, due to the dreaded “mirror test” and certain feelings it has emitted.)
By far, my only logical explanation is that something happened to me when I was a kid. I don’t remember much from my childhood, aside from small specific conversations and situations.
And that is the part that nobody knows.
I am completely convinced I suffered some kind of sexual abuse as a child. I don’t know by whom.
I don’t know where the question is in all of this. Maybe the question is “what the fuck do I do about this?” because I honestly don’t know.
I can’t talk to friends. I literally have none. I knew one girl who lived in this city, and we haven’t spoken in months. We haven’t made plans since the beginning of the year, or maybe early spring. We were never close enough to discuss this either.
People I know: My fiance, my mom, my family – grandparents, an Aunts, an Uncle, and a Cousin who is 12 years old – and technically a dad, but one who has been ignoring me for several months. All summer, at the very least.
None of these are people I could talk to about this, unless I had some sort of concrete evidence as opposed to this “bad feeling” I am letting disrupt my life right now. I tried about 10 different medications for anxiety and depression. Nothing got better. I gained half my mass in 3 months and am now even worse off.
The same thing that kept me alive last year between this time of year and the end of December is doing it again this year. I can’t kill myself. People have already started buying my birthday and Christmas presents.
What would they do with them if I died?
Prankster, your post breaks my shriveled blackened heart and I wish that I were closer so I could give you a big fat hug. I’m glad that you reached out to us here at Band Back Together. I hope that you can find some peace here. We can love you. We will love you. That’s why we’re all here.
A good lot of us understand trauma in one way or another and I’m sure you have plenty of people nodding their heads at your story. You’re spot on. You do need to talk about this.
As Your Aunt Becky, I take your words about suicide very seriously. I’m concerned. You’re worth more than that and no problems can swallow you up whole. We’re here to fight our dragons, and we’re not going to let you down. You are loved.
That said, there is work that we can help you with and work that has to be done with someone qualified to handle the sorts of traumas you’ve been through. If medication hasn’t helped, talk therapy may be the approach to try. A good therapist can help. Keep trying them until you find one you like.
There is no need to live in darkness when the light is so warm. You can be in the light. I promise.
If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
If it is an emergency, please go to the emergency room now. We don’t want to lose you.
Suicide is not the answer.
Aunt Becky (and her band of Merry Pranksters)