In Memoriam

October 27th, 2010

I lost a good friend this week.

I’m not going to name names. It freaks me out to go public with something so private. Neither Facebook nor my blog are appropriate for that. Plus, he was one of the few internet holdouts… preferring to connect face-to-face with the rest of the world… when he wanted to connect.

And frankly, his name only matters to those of us who knew him.

But let’s put it this way; this person didn’t fit too well in life. I mean, life wanted him—he was loved by his family, and many friends. He was good-looking, charming, funny and fit. And even more than that, he had a special soul-level quality that was unstoppably loveable… inexplicable, really, considering he could also drive us all nuts. But at the end of the day–and usually somewhere before noon–we loved him, and extended our hearts and hands to him with ease.

But it wasn’t enough. Not because we didn’t try, but because he, and life, were just not a good fit. It’s as if the limits and rules of 21st century existence were just too much. As if duality had too tight a squeeze on him. No matter how hard he tried, a strange and ugly foot would emerge from beneath him and trip him up until he fell, again and again. It was more than addiction. More than stubborn pride. I’ve seen those things trip people up before. It was as if a deep wiring… perhaps from a childhood brain injury… just kept zapping him from the inside, striking him down, again and again. And falling doesn’t feel good after a while. Because people notice. And he couldn’t help but notice… and he began to judge himself. And it is that awful, final, human judge—the one inside—whose gavel hits the hardest.

About eight years ago, I drove him to a hospital because he wanted to hurt himself. Before getting in the car, I said I understood what it was like to want to fall asleep and never wake up again. It would be like going back home. Like taking The Big Nap. I didn’t think it was crazy to feel the pull to go back to that peaceful place—the Big Yin– but that I wished he would stay with us and try to figure it out. That I would try to help him touch The Big Nap from this side without hurting himself.

I was thinking: Meditation. Eating better. Maybe going to a meeting.

But those just weren’t his things.

M tried for eight more years. He duked it out with duality, while holding in his chest a secret, dark desire to get the hell out. He was a brave, brave man for simply fighting that battle for such a long time. It must have been brutal. It was so easy for us—for whom life fits comfortably five days out of seven—to watch him from the outside and feel his unstoppable loveliness coming at us. To be the recipients of his jokes, or his tenderness, or his photos of funny dogs he saw, or little kids he knew. It was easy for us to say “it’s gonna be okay”.

But it wasn’t okay for him. It just wasn’t. For whatever reason, his drive to get out—to take that Big Nap—finally won.

I know we’re supposed to abhor a suicide. That’s just the Judeo-Christian way. But this lovely, lovely man… who touched my life in such beautiful ways… and whose struggle I was privy to… I refuse to judge his choice. I just refuse. Judgment was his problem on this side.

I love him. And I will miss him terribly. And I’m glad he's finally free.

17 responses to “In Memoriam”

  1. meg wolff says:

    This was a beautiful tribute to your friend.

  2. Robin says:

    Hi Jessica, I had a friend who came from Sweden to Alaska and she chose also to leave this life after a lifetime of struggling to stay…her obit in ak was two lines..and her family here is in hiding with their pain…the Swedish obit was beautiful and they stated “C has left this world by her own hand after a lifetime of snuggling to stay here, she will be missed”! It was lovely, it was refreshing,,,it felt true and she will be missed, as I am sure your friend will be to you

  3. manuela says:

    Very touching Jessica. I’m sorry you lost such a special friend.
    Take care-

  4. Jimmy Spoons says:

    Lovely, Jess. Thanks.

  5. Amy says:

    So sorry for your loss.

  6. Lynn says:

    Dear Jessica,

    I came across your website through a mutual friend of ours. I am saddened by your loss. My son committed suicide on March 12th. He was only 20 years old. As I was reading your story, it sounded just like my Tim. JUST LIKE HIM. My pain is intense and at the same time I am happy he is not suffering anymore. He DID incur a brain injury when he was hit by a car at the age of 9. When he was 13 he had his first seizure. He always suffered with the fact that he had epilepsy, however he enjoyed living life. During the last year of his life he suffered so much, and it was so hard as his Mom to see him suffer. I tried everything I could to help him, and in the end, like your friend, he couldn’t bear the pain that living brought. He was a definite feeler and when he knew how sick he was, mentally, he did not want to live like that anymore. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story. Lynn
    P.S. If you know anyone doing Ectasy, please feel free to slap them hard across the face. One time use can send a person to the other side with no hope of return.

  7. Patricia says:

    Dear Jessica,
    What a good friend you are to let your friend go in peace.
    You articulated beautifully your friend’s anguish.
    This is a situation I have also experienced with my 20 year old son who also choose to leave. You have shared in words my feeling for him and his struggle. There just seems to come a time when we have to trust that we do not have all the answers.
    Thank you for sharing this experience so vulnerably. It has helped me today.

  8. Pete Gaither says:

    Sweet, sweet dreams for him at last. Thank you for sharing his courage and your love for him.

  9. Deena Kamm says:

    Jessica, I have been reading your blog for a few years and this is the first time I am commenting. I am a stranger to you, but thanks to your blog you feel like a friend to me.
    I have a deep respect for your choice of words and blogging tactfully. This is not an easy thing to do and you said what you wanted to say beautifully. Thank you for sharing this difficult story. Like many, I also had a beautiful friend who ended her struggle here in a horrible way. This post was a good reminder to me that passing judgment on others is the same as abusing them. We need to be more careful not to think we are all living the same life and dealing with the same challenges.
    Life is all about balance so your friends peace was exchanged with others pain. I am so sorry for your loss.

  10. Dottie Roseboom says:

    Thank you, Jessica, for sharing this time of sorrow with us. Your words spoke what is in many hearts. In the days to come, may peace surround you & his other loved ones. Hugs,

  11. Leigh says:

    I am Jessica’s friend and the mother of her friend who committed suicide. It has been a terrible shock, sadness and horror for his parents and his brother and friends. He was almost too sensitive for this world. I just don’t think he could stand the pain anymore. He was also very creative and chose very creative (but non revealing) ways to say good-bye to his friends. He wanted to do what he did. He made no attempt to tell people what was on his mind. He just couldn’t deal with it anymore. He and Jess loved each other very much as friends; she was a rock for him; spiritual and there for him. Thank you Jess.

  12. felicia says:

    what a beautiful understanding you have come to…of course it must be difficult, but now he has the gift of being unmanifest and free, and we can have no sorrow for that. I have a special friend who might be leaving me too, and I am trying not to be scared or sad.

  13. Shanna says:

    Beautiful. Thank You.

  14. I am sorry to hear about this, but I hope that he is peaceful where he is. I cannot begin to understand what this feels like for you, I am sorry for you loss. I hope that you can begin to feel better soon.

  15. Sue says:

    Beautiful post. Honest and heartfelt. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing and telling us about your friend.

  16. Gail says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your love and acceptance of your friend is palpable in this post. And your description of your friend is hauntingly familiar to me, as I’m close with someone who has faught this fight his whole life. He’s still on the planet in his body, and I think he’s going to stick it out at this point, but I realized long ago that I really had no right to ask him to do so. I think your attitude is spot on.

    Sending you lots of love.

  17. Berry says:

    M.S… ? I did not know him, but his death sent a wave of restless grief over me for days. I did meet his friends, who left a modest plaque.
    Your memorial essay is lovely, compassionate and wise, and brings the dignity and fitting closure he deserves. Thank you, Jess.

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