Home Forum General Suicide's Wake

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    I have had a brush with suicide. I say it this way because I was a relative outsider to it. I worked at a food service establishment and I had this “regular” who came in almost daily. He was quiet and handsome and mysterious. Over the course of a year or two, I managed to pull a handful of words from him, enough to feel like I knew him but not enough to admit to him that I had a crush on him. As it turned out, we actually had mutual friends and Facebook suggested that we become digital friends, so we did. I think I wrote to him just one time, explaining that I really wasn’t a stalker and that it was Facebook’s fault– but that was really only a shade of true. I enjoyed bringing up his wall and reading all his responses to things. I really felt like I was getting to know him. His interests, his quirks. He had a girlfriend. They seemed happy. Really, really happy. Until they weren’t. And then I got a phone call. Our mutual friend, without the usual pleasantries, delivered the news. I was in disbelief. And I was one of the first few people to know. Before even his family. My mind fumbled for things to start making sense again. It can’t be true. It was. I never told him. Would it have mattered? How did it happen? Why?! No. No. No!

    The next day at work, I wrote a special on the board in his honor, his usual. I did not ask permission. I got reprimanded for it. But, suddenly, there was a line out the door. People were coming in from all over to try it. To feel close to him. Then a man pulled me aside. One of his best friends, as it turns out. He asked me about why I made the special. I poured my heart out. We comforted each other. He said that even though I never told him, he must have known and that it wouldn’t have changed things. No one could have. He admitted that he had wanted to approach me about catering the special at the wake, but after hearing my story he felt guilty, that I should go as a guest. I told him I would be honored to cater it. And I did. At the funeral, I met his family. His brother looked so much like him. It hurt so much. I wanted to ask him for a hug but I was feeling so out of place. What business did I have feeling sad? This family just lost a son, a brother. Then his brother came up to me and told me he had heard what I had done and thanked me. And HUGGED me!

    The evening was beautiful and full of stories and slide shows and all of his favorite things. It was magical. Healing. I still occasionally pull up his wall. Years later, people still write to him. I’ve written to him.

    I hope that people will take from this that you should always speak your heart and not your mind. That you are loved by so many, even if you can’t see it. And that you have the right to feel sorrow over loss, no matter who you are.

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