I reflect on many things today as the flavour of life dips due to the news of a friends pain and bewilderment. Possibly I can own some of that pain and bewilderment but I don’t know how to feel. The genesis of this reflection came from receiving bad news, the kind of news that everyone could expect but never really embraces. So there it came, without warning, my friend’s niece had committed suicide. at least to me it was without warning. The news came after the announcement that she had been missing for a few days before, ending with the kind of finality that can never be argued with. I don’t know how to feel about this, yes my friend will be burdened with strong emotion though he must be strong. I knew her, but only through the degrees of separation that this modern living offers us so readily.
We have not been really in each other’s lives since we were teenagers and though being close in age, three years my senior ment that we were never really moving in the same circles. Now in the wake of the finality of this news I am replaying every time that we crossed paths in life and the feeling that characterised those moments. I feel the need to tell her how much I respected her, though my healthy respect bordered on fear. She had done so much in her life, lived all around the world and had such a rebellious spirit. Now we know how rebelious, to chuck it all, leaving people who love too late and long for just one more chance to say anything. This is always so hard to take when someone finds a way to defuse that programming that is supposed to stop us from saying….I have had enough. If it was anyone else I could say it was weakness, cowardly escape or rash decision-making. But not you, my healthy respect knows better and there is something here that everyone is missing. Something that you are saying to all of us with your last act.
I get it, your health was not the best and socially you were probably burnt out and even this return to academia could not satisfy you but even these things in isolation or amalgamated could not extinguish your fire. You see, you were not in my life but from a distance I needed you to keep on keeping on for all of us, representing the strong among us. But something got you to give up, give in, cash in the experiences past and shun all experiences to come. Are you telling me that there is a predator out there among our experiences that can render our strength useless, drain us of all our hope for the future and our drive, break us, blind us to our help and support in this life. The last time you saw me you smiled and said we had to do lunch, that was about three years ago and now you are dead. Dead, gone with the delivery of a phone call and I feel numb because you were no longer a part of my life. And you chose to die alone, planned it out, carried it out. Now I have to watch your family cry, blame themselves, mourn you. I hope you thought this through because this is too much to watch if you did not intend all of it. I know that you knew that this is on you and if I allow myself to feel I might get angry with you because what were you thinking.
You were supposed to win, you had it all, I had it none and I am still here fighting and you left. You did not even know that I would blame you, that I needed you to be strong, that your absence can break a movement for us to master this life and create beauty from it but instead you robbed the world of your beauty. We will never see you with the weight of your years and seek your council and have that pic with the next generation at your feet. I hope it was worth it. I know, free will and all but we needed you, and you left. I feel abandoned and yet you were not a part of my life. I need you to know that you mattered, we noticed, we cared, we asked for you, even when you disappointed us we cared. You were never far from the family. I am sad on a Sunday, numb because you didn’t know what you meant to your loved ones. So goodbye, have it your way, I did not even get on the phone to tell my mother because I will be the one to ruin her Monday to tell her that a light has been extinguished and all we are left with are those old memories. I am sorry for biting you when we were teenagers, sorry for not being able to help you when you visited you uncle and felt lost in life and sorry we never had that lunch.