Breathe in, breathe out

Three hours after I was supposed to be sound asleep last night, I wasn’t. I hadn’t even come close yet.

Instead, I laid there (lie there? I never know the right tense) and stared. I stared at the closet door and then I rolled over and stared at my bookcase. I stared at the light blinking on my closed – and sleeping, ironically – computer.

It slowly lit up and dimmed. In rhythm with my breath, actually. For a second, the million thoughts running through my brain stopped and I just concentrated on that light, getting brighter, then dimmer. Breathing in, breathing out.

Then the thoughts came back. The text came back. The word that a friend had passed away. That he had taken his own life. That he needed to find peace so badly there was no other way, in his mind, to make it all stop, to make it all go away.

My heart broke again. For him. For his brothers, who are also my friends. For his mom. For his dad. For his other friends, his closer friends, who wished they’d seen it coming, wished there had been some clear sign before it was too late, some way they could help.

I stared. So tired, but so awake. I tried to think about other things, and was successful a couple times. And then it came again, like a wave crashing. It still does. I feel sad again. I think about my friend. I think about the last time I saw him, the last time I hugged him, the people who are doing the same thing I am right now, rolling it over and over in their minds and wondering why.

Why him? Why was that the answer? Why do people feel like that is the only way to quiet the noise that you want to turn off so badly and how do we protect the people we love from feeling that way? Can we?

I don’t want to believe it. Not him, couldn’t be him. We used to work together. And since then, the times I’ve seen him have unfortunately been few and far between. But I remember the times when I saw him every day. When I gave him a hug every day. He was my friend. My sweet friend, who when I saw him a year ago at a wedding had that same smile I always remembered, that same hug I got every day we worked together. Those memories, mixed with the memory that randomly popped in my head – when he convinced me to get onstage at the bar where he worked because my Halloween costume was so good it had to win the contest. And it did. It was the year I was Juno, by the way.

I don’t know why that memory specifically sticks out. But it does. That one and one from the same bar, when he sang karaoke. I didn’t know he could sing, but he could. Well.

I’m finishing this up at midnight… 24 hours from when I tried to go to sleep last night. Tonight doesn’t feel much different. The pang in my stomach is fading whenever that wave comes. But the wave still comes. The sadness still comes. The fear of not knowing if someone’s feeling like this, when someone’s feeling like this. Before it’s too late.

I’ve been low. You know that. But to think that there’s lower? There’s a point where it stops being “I just don’t want to get out of bed today” to “I just don’t want to get out of bed ever again.” Hurts my heart.

There’s a quote about being kind to everyone you meet, “for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” And unfortunately, and what’s scary is, a lot of the time it’s not a battle you can see. And the only thing that can bring an end to battle is peace.

I hope… no, I know, that he has found the peace he was so badly wanting, needing, craving. I just wish, selfishly, for his family, for his friends, that’d he’d have been able to find it another way.

Rest well, sweet friend. And watch over the ones you love and you left behind. Help them feel the peace you have now. You will be missed.

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