When a Friend Commits Suicide

You, always ready with a smile, helping hand, laughter, jokes.

No one, not even your wife, best friend knew of the pain within.

Everyone thought you were doing so great. You seemed to be, they say. You’d lost weight, repaired your marriage, strengthened your friendships.

Or so it seemed.

But one day before one of your son’s birthdays, you headed home from work like any other day, stopping off for a detour that would change your life forever and inflict such pain in the hearts of your loved ones still in shock.

You told her, “You need to come get the truck” after calling the police, telling them someone was after you.

You must have had it planned for months, or so your doctor said.

What went through your mind as you drove that road, off the interstate headed for trees? Did you have second thoughts? Did you think what if? Did you think of anyone else?

You pulled your truck up under a tree, got out, ending it all. One of your sons with his friend found your body on the ground, your belt used as a weapon to say goodbye at 45.

The crowd was magnificent at your service, standing room only in the back. So many people left behind, the numerous lives you touched. Your company shut down the whole building as your co-workers told you goodbye.

A friend cried beside me and later said, “I just didn’t want him to die.”

One of your sons spoke at your funeral and said, “Don’t let his life go to waste. Let’s finish the good work he started together.”

His speech was met with tears and audible signs of grief.

They played religious music, though you were not religious, the minister preached on virtue and hope and how drugs had led you down the wrong path bringing you there today. Hymns were sung, prayers read, people spoke, heads bowed. I touched you lightly on the arm, looked at your face one last time as we said goodbye amidst flowers, wreaths, and rain.

We stood outside and waited for the journey, people talking, smoking, and contemplating.

And now a family of ducks follows us toward water where you’re to be buried. A rain is threatening overhead and bagpipes play for you. Some drove, some walked to your burial site, some didn’t go at all. Some had to be helped there, some were seated, and some were there in spirit.

The flood waters came the day before and I missed your viewing.

But now as the music played above and a final prayer was said, the crowd dispersed to eat awhile and wonder aloud at the day.

You are the third statistic I’ve seen, an utter tragedy, not counting the passive ones who just let things take over.

Hard to believe that just last year I attended a female’s funeral just like yours, one who ended her life in much the same way, only hers not such a shock.

Ironically I have known many times how you felt that fateful June. And now that you are gone I reflect on my past selfish plans.

Strangely enough after so many dreams, you walking in my sleep, I have a sense of calm and yet am aware of this fragile life, this weird journey we all take, everyone scarred in some way.

Who knows to what lengths one person will go to when the other shies away?

And who can say who has a God and which Higher Power that is? Be it money, lust, things, or greed, what drives a person’s success, saying “No more for me. This was my life. And I am ready to flee?”

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