On Death.

A tragedy happened last weekend.

A tragedy occurred five years ago.

What do we do with the memories of friends who choose to end their lives?  I find myself in the same place I was in five years ago.  Another young man.  Another tragic loss — to a family, to a community, to friends around the world.   I realize neither death is about me, but I turn inward and think, ‘Did I miss something?  Could I have done something?  Said something?’  And I know a person’s mental health is a private thing, and I know I might not have been the closest to either of these friends, but still…

I think about the person who died five years ago on a fairly regular basis (or at least when a certain social media platform reminds me of his birthday every April).  I wonder silly things, like what he would’ve thought of the recent Star Wars trilogy.  What other series he and I might have discussed.  How his life would’ve turned out — all the things that he might have gone on to do.

And with my friend here in Dubai, the absolute amount of love, memories, and people he touched in his life is nothing short of incredible.  When I say he was one of the genuinely nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever met, I’m not being hyperbolic. After our initial meet up, like a mama duck, I took him under my wing and did what I could to introduce him to as many people as I could.  He was my +1 for much of 2016.  And, as our work took us in different directions, he was still someone’s message I would always answer.  You know the person in your contacts that you always smiled at your phone when you saw they were calling? That was him. Because even if he was stressed, or you were stressed – you’d always end the call with a smile.

Will there be others?  Will I write other posts?  Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible.  I don’t look forward to those days ahead.

If you’re reading this and ever want to talk, I’m here.

If you don’t know who to turn to:

In the U.S. – Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or IMAlive at 1-800-784-2433.

In the UK and Ireland – Call Samaritans UK at 116 123

In Australia – Call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14

In other countries – Visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.

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