The wait was the worst. From S. knocked on my door, crying, asking me to call the police. I thought she’d been attacked. Then she said it. “I think Mike has comitted suicide” and from that sentence it was real. My brain went numb. I didn’t cry. I just dialled the three numbers you hope you never have to. They needed so much information. The police came. We showed them pictures. The note. The affects you’d left in S’s mailbox. We knew. But they had to confirm it. That happened an hour later. You were gone. You had peace. Then I cried. Then the calls. The police deals with the family. But you had a lot of friends.
I never missed you before I knew I could never see you again.
I was never mad at you. I have no idea if that would have made you happy or sad. I think of your daughter occasionally and I hope she is okay. I wish she could talk to my friend Jenny. She knows what it feels like to lose a father like that. I know you were a good man. You wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t have to.
There was a book in the student room at uni. We could write memories of you to your daughter. I didn’t. I wanted to write something profound. I wanted to tell her she shouldn’t be mad at you and that it had nothing to do with her. But I don’t get to decide how she should feel. Whatever she is feeling it’s just as right as what I am. There isn’t a right way to handle this.
It’s so strange because even though we all knew about your issues it was a surprise. I never saw it coming. But then we didn’t talk a lot the last couple of months, did we. I was working on my thesis and you were…struggling I guess. By the way you didn’t make the thesis writing any easier. But I finished. Not with flying collars but I did the best I could under the circumstances. I don’t blame you. I just couldn’t focus. Again I don’t know if that would make you happy or sad. I know you wouldn’t want to cause trouble for anyone. But did you want to be missed? You were. Did you know you would be?
Do you remember that night we met up at S’s place years ago and we were all drunk and I yelled at you and told you to stop trying to do everything in the world for everybody. To stop doing more than you had time and energy for and start saying no. You cried and you agreed but you never stopped giving. Giving more than you got back. I’ll never know if that kept you going or led to your demise. I’m sorry I made you cry. I know many people made you cry and I wish I hadn’t been one of them. I did it out of love but how many cruelties have been done out of love? Maybe I also wanted to hurt you. To make you understand you were hurting yourself. Tough love. I’ll always remember that. We always remember the bad things vividly. The good things fade.
You died alone. Like you lived I guess. Always surrounded by people and always alone. Isn’t that pretty accurate? I hope you didn’t regret. I don’t think you did. You wouldn’t have done it if you weren’t sure. Did you ever really stop wanting to die? After the first time? I know we, uni, the bar, S., we may have fought it off for a while. But never really. I don’t believe you ever healed.
I haven’t read I our last conversations for a while. They are so dull anyway. When I read them I realized I was one of the takers as well. I was always asking for favors: Can you feed the cats? Can I borrow your screw thingy?… And you never asked for a single one.
The funeral was awful. You should have been there. Oh you were hahah. A lot of talk about the love of God. But you never believed in God. A funeral is for the living I guess and your family made the arrangements. There was a lot of us, we came in cars and a bus, we didn’t want you to be alone. Alone with the family you hated and who made hurt you so much. I stood there dully hating them because I felt you would have wanted me to, but I didn’t really mean it. I was too sad, to emotionally tired to hate with any vigour. I wish I’d asked you more about it, your story. But I let you keep your secrets.
I wish you were buried closer. I would have visited you. I thought about bringing a bottle of wine to the green, where I have a view of the hotel and toast to you. See the sun rise overlooking the hotel where you drew your last breath. Well, you know me. I was always one for the drama. I decided against it. I’ve stopped crying and I don’t want to start again. But I salute you every time I pass it on my bike. Just a small nod. Sometimes I still feel the tears. Then I ride a little faster and let the wind dry them out.
Do we ever truly heal? Or do we become more and more cracked until we break? They say scar tissue is stronger. I wear every scar with pride – including the self inflicted ones although never as serious as yours – as a reminder of you. And I promise you I’ll never break. I’ll do what you couldn’t. I’ll live and I’ll remember you. And I’ll watch the old Dr. Who’s more. I know they were your favourites.