A week ago tomorrow one of my dear friends took his life. I went home to be at his funeral. I have been sad since I found out. I found out a work by a text from a friend who thought I already knew. What a shock. Not the place to find out. I had a hard time keeping it together and how I got through the next day and a half at work, I don't know. It's a blur.
I got to the funeral home and saw many old friends and their spouses. I saw my friend in the casket looking very unlike himself. Just lifeless. You may laugh at that but it's true. I was used to seeing him smiling and cracking jokes and being full of life. Him just lying there with bad makeup on and hands just as lifeless as they can be was just not him.
Then the funeral. Many friends from the night before and some different ones, again, great to see, just not under those conditions. Another friend from childhood gave a eulogy. He said he didn't want to be there. Neither did I. I don't think anyone did. No one ever wants to be at a funeral, but, I don't think people are as sad when it was a life long lived and comes to an end from natural causes or even when an illness is involved. At least you know they are at long last free from the bonds of the illness and whole again, in heaven. To me, this was unnatural, preventable. But was it?
I may have just answered my own questions. I wasn't understanding. I wasn't angry. I was just sad.
I guess if I look at this as though it were a physical illness, I should be happy for my friend. He's no longer in such a black place that even the light of his children couldn't get through. The light of friendships long standing, the light of a mother, sister, wife's love, the light Jesus himself couldn't shine through.
I know God has him. I know he doesn't hold it against him that he took his life. That kind of illness had such a hold on him and he hid it so well, most of the time, that no one could know the blackness that was his depression. I've often heard that depressed people can hide it well. While I don't think there are any of us who knew him who didn't know of his depression, I don't think any of us thought that "now" was the time for him. And, granted, I hadn't talked to him in the last couple of weeks but, I had no idea. Perhaps those closest to him had an inkling, that may be what caused them to send the sheriff out to find him when they couldn't reach him. But, on the whole, I think it caught all of us by surprise.
I think - no - I know that he could have called anyone who was in that chapel yesterday and any one of us would have been more than happy to drop what we were doing to help him. He who had for so long brought us joy and laughter. If only he had reached out. I know that's part of the darkness of depression. Thinking no one understands, not wanting to bother people. It's wrong.
If I ever thought for a second someone I knew was close to doing harm to themselves, I would do anything in my power to stop it. I realize that is me "traveling by bubble", thinking I can change the world or even one person by trying to help. Well, maybe I could. Maybe he just needed one person to say "your life is worth living". I guess maybe I think his blackness was so deep that even that wouldn't help and this was his answer. Being in the light of Jesus sure sounds preferable to that dark hole he had to have been in and I'm not even suicidal.
I guess I have written myself into feeling a bit better. Working out that now my friend is finally in a bright place. A place where he can finally be happy and at peace. I'm still sad. I still miss my friend but, I know at least he can finally smile and mean it.
Rest in peace my friend. At last.