Letting go of Loss

A week ago my friend killed himself. It was the first death I have had to deal with and it has affected me greatly. In his note, he said he felt lonely and misunderstood. I have been thinking a lot about that over the past few days in between tears. I know how he felt. I think we all do. I guess the trick is remembering that we all do. Maybe some of us experience that separateness more than others. I know I have had my share of suicidal thoughts when things got dark in my world. I thought that was normal. I really believed that at some point or another, we all have to make that choice whether to carry on or just be done with it all. But the more people I have been talking with, I am finding this is not really as common as one would think. Or maybe, people just don’t want to admit it.

Over the past year, I have been struggling to rise from the depths of a serious depression. It hasn’t been easy so when I heard about Yogi’s death, it hit me close to home. I could relate to the state of mind he must have been in to choose to end his life. Infact, over the years we were friends, we counseled one another about depression and how to cope. So it felt like a punch in the stomach of my soul when I began to comprehend this loss. He one was of ours.

For seven days, I have allowed myself to ricochet between despair, anger, frustration and guilt. I have wept buckets of tears and the lines on my forehead seem to have deepened overnight. On Wednesday, Adrien, his old roommate, and I were first at his funeral. We were among the last to leave. I wanted to spend as much time with Yogi as I could. It wasn’t the same though. When I looked at his lifeless body and touched his cool hand, any shred of denial I was harboring dissipated. My buddy was gone. Long gone.

It was of some solace to see all those (and the room was so full people were standing outside) who loved him gather to share memories and support each other. But that only lasted a couple hours. As soon as I stepped out the doors of the funeral home, the wintry cold air stung my face freezing my tears almost instantly. But it was the realization of opportunities lost piercing my heavy heart which hurt the most. The -30 frigid night air was no competition for the bitter frostbite on my soul.

People have been stepping in to comfort me while I go through the grieving process. My neighbors have all pitched in with hugs, cookies, cheer up presents, and encouragement. My sister and her husband listened to me try to make sense of it over sushi. Jord volunteered to deliver Xmas presents to the needy with me this year. Sarah hung out with me on Whyte Ave. Haley shared my favorite banana split cheesecake dessert with me. All the things Yogi and I would do together just couldn’t console me because he wasn’t there. In a way, it made me miss him more to revisit all our old haunts. But I guess that was my way of honoring him too.

Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest and darkest day of the year. From this point on it only gets brighter. I hope that my heart will follow suit. I have been steeped in my emotions quite thoroughly now and today I need to begin to let go. I thought it would be good to escape into a movie but I couldn’t find anyone to come with me. The more people who turned me down, the more isolated I felt. I began to feel sorry for myself when I recognized my folly. It hit me like a ton of bricks and for a split second I felt ashamed I didn’t see it sooner. I would go to the movie by myself but I wouldn’t be on my own. I know my pal Yogi was sitting next to me the whole time. If there is one thing my dear friend has taught me, it’s that although I may feel lonely at times, I am never alone.

Today I am grateful for life.

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