To an Old Friend

(NOTE: I debated on whether to post this here, but have decided to do it sans any names. It is not well written and true to the theme of "ramblings".Please read with caution. )

Dear old friend,

I saw a picture of you today. You and her. Let me start by saying I haven't removed you from my Facebook friends list yet, and while I generally do not go to your profile (nor am I generally on Facebook ever - you know me!), today I was compelled to do so. I read lots of messages others have left you. And I saw the picture.

Someone else had posted it, in memory of you. Of both of you. And I stared at it for something like five minutes, examining every little part of it until the lines and colors of your faces didn't make sense anymore. You looked so happy. Her arms wrapped around you; your genuine smile (which wasn't something you often did). Youth and love.

Now, I'm not naive; I'm a big girl who knows that sometimes, love isn't enough. And sometimes, love doesn't last. I realize the implications of life. So by no means am I surprised that something went wrong. Let's get that straight.

When it happened, I have to be honest - I deleted the photos of your wedding. They aren't backed up anywhere. They are gone. Every time I opened iPhoto, I felt nauseous. I also threw away the wedding books that I lent the two of you to choose your ceremony procedures. These things felt evil, packed with negative energy. I made that speech. I signed that paper. I made it so. How could that be forgiven? How could I not be partially to blame for your unhappiness? What didn't I say, or do?

I'll never forget your Facebook status a few days before. It said, "At peace". You already knew.

I have never felt so guilty in my life. I begged anyone listening for redemption; stumbling through whatever religious idealism still resides in my head. I read through Native American, Bhuddism and Pagan ritual. In the end, none of it seemed more helpful than a long shower with steel wool - because in the end, I had made the decision and I had to deal with the consequences of that choice - just like you.

You were happy. Both of you. I saw it in your faces that day, and in that picture. I made a choice to give you what someone only a year before had given me - a life contract with the person you loved. Coming off the heels of my own wedding I felt euphoric about marriage - how wonderful it was, how much better life is when there's someone at your side. I wanted to share that feeling. And maybe, I missed something I should have seen. Maybe my rose-colored glasses were a bit too pink. Mental illness often hides well under the guise of confidence. But, I believed in love. And today, having seen that photo of the two of you so long ago - I stand by that.

I've tried to be angry at you, and I think I've gone through spells where I was, for a moment. I'm stopped short of it because it'd be a hypocrite for calling you out for your extreme fucking selfishness. There's too much I can't answer for that's too similar. And that's my cross to bear.

I'm left with this. Is it wrong to say your selfish, ridiculous choice changed my life? I suppose not, because anyone who is faced with this will ultimately never be the same. When it happened I was at the peak of the worst period of my life; a disgusting version of myself whom I hated. Friend - our problems, our sadness, our trials - are not so different. Actually, they are so very similar. These are the strains of living on this earth, especially for people like us who are such emotional, creative souls. I wish I could have told you that, though I doubt it would have mattered in the long run. I think you were ill-prepared. Because even at my very worst - and believe me, I am not out of that skin - I know that living, loving, and breathing fresh air is worth every trial and tear. I don't know how I know that. But I will fight for it, because you have showed me that it is not inherent in everyone. You couldn't see that her leaving was simply another scar to bear. One that ultimately, was right; this world is a very big place. You crossed that line that every person who has struggled with depressive disease walks. You let your mistakes and weaknesses rule your life. You let your mistakes and your weaknesses kill you, and her. And now your mistakes and weaknesses are your legacy.

I will not let that happen to me.

I have watched you villified by ignorant, belligerent assholes who hide behind the Internet. I've seen you called things that haunt me to this day. I struggled with the need to stand up for you to trolling lunatics who waste their time making ridiculous comments on news stories - judging your life by a few lines of press. And deep inside I know that three months ago, reading those same stories, I probably would have villified you, too. I would have called you a cowardly murderer.

I will never judge like that again. Never.

We live our lives treading water. Death is inevitable; it's always the final act of life. We're given so few years to experience everything there is to see and do; to love others and receive the love of our family and friends. These are things that we know in our heads from the day we learn that death is inevitable but do we really understand it? How fragile we are? How easy it is to lose it? Before this, I didn't understand the wake effect caused by suicide and murder. I didn't realize how it touches literally every person you ever met. Everyone. And in that, lies such an irony.

Friend, I don't believe in life after death. It's difficult to explain, because I do believe that lost souls leave imprints of energy and can interact with those who are alive. But I don't believe that when you die, you go to heaven or hell as religion tells. I suppose heaven , to me, is the quiet rest of a soul that walks no more. I don't believe you're "looking down" on anyone. I don't even know if you're at peace. I struggle with my inability to believe in heaven or hell, because it too makes me unable to believe that even writing this post matters not. Maybe that's why I feel this way. Maybe you've renewed in me the understanding that what happens after death is not in my control, nor do I or anyone around me know what lies in store for me. All we can control are the years, the very limited amount we have on this earth as walking, breathing living beings. These years cannot be wasted or lived in vain because of mistakes, weaknesss, or temporary ills - but experienced as if everything is life. Listening to the Cure, and experiencing the high of a beautiful bass line. Creating art that touches others. Standing next to Redwoods five times our age and smelling the sweet scent of the wilderness. Taking pictures like that one of the two of you.

Was it worth it?

Thinking of you,
An old friend

***UPDATE*** Thanks for comments left. It should be said that much of this letter is closure, and I reached this point awhile ago, but couldn't write about it then. I finally could when I saw that picture.

5 people's thoughts:

david April 8, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

that was very well put. The blunt honest beauty of life is all we have.
I'm glad I have you to share it with.

C April 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

Aww. What a guy, that David. I'm glad you're still thinking about this. It takes a while. Do move on, but don't forget.

Emily April 8, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

Of course I'm not up on the whole story but I can get a sense of it from your post. It sounds like a needless tragedy. I hope that making this post helped you in some way. It was well written and obviously heart felt.

Anonymous,  April 9, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

That was beautifully put and it is so true.
It's good you are dealing with it and that you are so opinionated. Because there really is just SO MUCH to live for. And if anything it is sad that some people seem unable to see that...

Sara Jean April 13, 2009 at 8:19 PM  

I love you. This was a good day for me to read this because I'm feeling rather somber. Thank you for being the closest of the closest.

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