Today I was working on an assignment and for whatever reason, the image of one of my dearest friends when I was a kid popped into my head. He had been my buddy all through the school years and was really special to me. I spoke with him briefly 8 years ago, reminiscing about some of our favorite memories. Even though we hadn't seen each other since high school graduation, I thought of him often and wondered how he was.
I decided to Google him and see if I could find him. I did. He died. Six weeks ago.
I felt like someone punched me. It really, really hurt. All of those fun times we had together . . . they seemed like months ago. I could not believe he was gone. Brushing away tears, I called information and got his mother's phone number in Indiana. I called her and told her how very sad I was. She told me that he had committed suicide and I thought my heart would break. My gentle, kind friend killed himself. I wished somehow I could have known he was so unhappy and called him. I could have reminded him of the joy we had together as kids. I could have invited him to come and stay with us for a while. I wish I could have reached out and hugged him and talked way into the night. I could have just let him know how important he was to me. But I didn't know.
He was 49. He was one month shy of getting his doctorate degree in psychotherapy. He was a sweet boy who was a friend to me when no one else was. I grieve for him today. I grieve for the years gone by. I am glad that I was able to tell his mother how precious he had been to me. I hope it helps her heart. I wish it would help mine.