Friday, November 7, 2008

lights will guide you home.

Suicide has never hit close to home with me. Calling this close to home is semi-accurate; a middle school classmate and friend, who was later part of a large group of friends acquired from high school and college.

It's an interesting thing to ponder. Though I wasn't extremely close to him, I remember him. I remember seventh grade geography class, where our last names fell right next to one another, and my seat fell right behind his. He was very smart, a little shy, but an overall really nice guy.

I'm finding out now that he struggled with depression in high school, according to friends. But despite that, he seemed to be blossoming in college - he was surrounded by friends. The Facebook group is acquiring picture after picture, video after video of him dancing in countless Sweet 16 cotillions. He was apparently quite the dancer and musician in addition to being fifth in his high school graduating class.

It's been a while since the last I saw him. Through my network of high school friends who have transitioned to college and grew larger, I'd seen him at large group events, like trips to the beach. Talking with friends who went to high school with him, they said he seemed to really be coming into his own at college, moving away from being the quiet, awkward person he was to someone quite social and friendly.

Shocking doesn't really describe the emotion. I don't have words for that aspect of it. There's this dull, lingering curiosity, wondering if he talked to anyone, reached out to the gigantic circle of friends around him. There's sadness, definitely, in knowing that whether he reached out or not, nothing was helping the feelings inside of him. I feel a mild frustration, something I'm sure his closest friends and family feel much, much stronger, hopelessly thinking over and over why it had to happen, why he felt this was the only way.

The wake is tonight. There are so many people going, especially people that I know, because he was from my hometown and also knew my high school friends (not sure if I've ever mentioned, but I went to a regional high school, so I met all new people there). The attendance list grows every day. Hometown classmates and friends are coming home from school. There is a bus to bring people from his college campus.

...and somehow I feel like it's awfully, painfully ironic, that somebody who felt that there was nobody to reach out to will receive this outpouring of love and grief over his death.

It's definitely inspiration to live in the moment, to love with every ounce of your being, to take every chance you can get. Tell people you love them. Smile at strangers. Help others in need. Reach out to those who may seem distant.

RIP Eric. You are loved and you will be missed. ♥


Anonymous said...

I know that it never, ever compares, but I've had suicide hit almost every facet of my life. I've had my cousin come close to killing himself, so close that he now has no control over the left side of his body. I've had several friends throughout middle school, high school, and college commit suicide. And unfortunately, I've also had a very close friend kill himself. It never, ever gets any easier to accept, no matter how recently you talked to them.
Hold every single memory you have dear. And on rough days, remember that your life could always be so much worse.

kirida said...

This is a really deep post, Cait. I know about suicide because my best friend killed herself when she was 15. It was really tragic and it has affected so much of my life. Whenever I've reached a milestone like graduating or getting married, it's a bit bittersweet because she'll never get to experience it, either. You're right--live in the moment and help others in need. I wish I knew to do that when I was 16.

g said...

Very sad. So sorry for him, and his family. That one with so much promise would feel so without hope.

"I feel like it's awfully, painfully ironic, that somebody who felt that there was nobody to reach out to will receive this outpouring of love and grief over his death."

Very perceptive of you.