By A Military Mommy on April 12, 2012
All the words I have to say seem inadequate. Me, who is never at a loss for words, suddenly doesn't know what to say. To say that grief has been a prominent part of my life this past year has been an understatement. We've lost several family friends...you know those friends of your parents who've known you since you were in diapers...and knowing my father grieves is hard. We've just recently had another miscarriage. And last night I got an email that an old friend had committed suicide on Monday.
Suicide. My heart lumps into a hard ball and my chest hurts. Josh and I became friends in college. We ran around in the same group and there was one summer that we hung out almost daily. I didn't find out until almost 10 years later that he was high the whole time. I knew he was off, but he just always seemed goofy.
We lost touch after college, but reconnected, as many people do, on myspace and then facebook. It turned out we had a lot in common. I had finished my MSW several years before and he was in the process of getting his. We lived in different states, but our phone conversations lasted for hours.
We made plans for him to come visit from Christmas to New Years in 2007. I was so excited, so hopeful. I had this idyllic, romantic fantasy in my head of how our week together would go. Love at first sight and all that.
Not so, not so, but still I pushed through. We went to visit his grandparents and went back to our college to walk around. There were good times in this week and times that it was glaringly obvious that there were some issues. I never knew how bad his obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety were until this week. I never even knew he had it until this week. It was hard for me to be around that. He seemed to become drunk very quickly and I wondered if he was over using prescription pills.
But still I pushed through. There were so many things we had in common and so I went to visit him for Valentine Day. Last night I was smiling, remembering what an effort he put into making Valentine Day special. He took me to a nice hotel at a nice casino, got a room with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. He thought of me, of what I'd like. The weekend though...the weekend was a struggle. He couldn't sleep in bed with me. This was too much for his OCD. We went to his apartment and he lived like a homeless person inside an apartment. He didn't have a bed, but slept on the floor on a pallet of blankets. His bathroom was dirty. His anxiety was overwhelming to him all the time. I wondered if he had a drug problem, but I didn't ask. I didn't want to know.
A couple weeks after I got home I couldn't do it anymore. I was done with relationships that were wrong for me and I ended things. I remember him crying and asking me to give it more time, not to do this. I pushed through.
Two weeks later I met the man who would become my husband and father of my child. I told Josh. He was hurt, I could tell. It was so quick, but you can't help when you fall in love.
I tried to keep in touch with Josh. I called him and left voicemails that went unreturned. I sent emails that went unanswered. I was genuinely interested in being his friend, in maintaining a friendship that was meaningful to me. Eventually I stopped trying. I gave up. I knew that he was struggling to finish school, that things were not going well in his life, and I gave up. I walked away. I couldn't do it. I deleted him from my facebook because he didn't seem interested in being friends with me. Maybe he wasn't able to be friends with me. I should've kept trying.
Years went by and yes, I would look at his facebook. I could tell his friends worried about him. Where are you, Josh? Are you ok, Josh? I last emailed him in November 2010. He didn't respond. I still cared about him, but there was nothing I could do.
So last night I got an email. His friend, my former friend, emailed me to let me know that Josh had taken his own life on Monday. I didn't know that Josh's dad had died of cancer on Christmas Day in 2011. I found out by looking for Josh's obituary. I know this must have shook him to his very core.
So much potential. So much heart and caring and mental illness. His life, since the mid 90's, has been so painful, so overwhelming with anxiety and OCD. Treatment didn't work for him. So much grief now for the people left behind.
I feel like I'm rapid cycling through the stages of grief. Sadness, anger, denial...over and over and over. Surely there has been some mistake. Surely someone can help and so I keep looking at his facebook page hoping that he'll post that it was all a big misunderstanding, but there are just new messages of grief and loss and goodbye. And I can't post anything because I deleted him from my facebook. I emailed his sister to say how sorry I was for their loss.
And if I could talk to Josh I would tell him how sorry I was that I gave up, that I wasn't there for him, and how pissed I am at him for being so selfish, and I would've had him committed for treatment, and I would've said goodbye, that I was sorry life hurt so bad for him.
And so here we are. Grief, loss, goodbye. Suicide. Shock. Sadness. Here we are and here he is not.
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