I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I’ve really been missing you so I found myself going through old pictures and messages on Facebook. I began to feverishly search for the “very last comment” you ever wrote to me. As if reading it over again would provide some kind of insight that I had missed back then– some indication that only 5 days after that message you would kill yourself. I found nothing.
I guess I don’t know what I was looking for, really. After all, I’d known for 5 months before your death that you were suicidal, anyway. I tried making appointments for you. I tried sharing my own experiences with you thinking it might give you a little bit of hope. I texted you nearly every single day. I called you often. You usually didn’t answer. I tried to get you to promise to always answer your phone so I’d know you were OK. You said you couldn’t promise that. I also asked you to promise me that you wouldn’t hurt yourself… you told me that wasn’t possible, either. I hated that you didn’t take my calls because that gave you more power in the situation and took all of mine away… well any “perceived” power I had, at least. Until you answered the phone, I was in limbo wondering if you were OK and I resented that because I was at your mercy. Until I heard your voice again… I couldn’t relax. I hated feeling that dependent upon you answering your phone because it sounds silly and needy. However, it felt as though with each unanswered ring that the chances that your phone was lying next to your cold, motionless body became more and more likely. To hear you say, “Hey dude” on the other end gave me my peace of mind back… for a little while.
I also looked back to any times (before I knew that you were suffering) when I didn’t feel like talking so I just let it go to voicemail. I regret each and every one of those. Each call I passed up was one less time I had the opportunity to hear your voice. To hear your laugh. To tell you that you meant the world to me. I’ll never get those chances back. I will never stop regretting that I didn’t get to say goodbye to you. I had neglected to call you for over a week before the day you died. Maybe– just maybe–if I’d heard your voice I’d have felt you leaving and would have had the opportunity to say goodbye in some way. If only to let you know that I understand… and that I forgive you.
I am not sure what pulled this agony out of the woodwork this week, but it’s here and I just needed to talk to you about it the only way I can now… by writing you these letters. I miss you so much it hurts. I hope it is OK that I’ve learned to move on and even find myself laughing a lot these days. It often feels as though I’m betraying you… leaving you behind. I’m still trying to navigate those feelings of guilt for being OK most days now. Ironically writing this letter today made me very much not OK. Did you ever cry so hard that you started throwing up and choking and gasping for air? Seems I do that each time I’m missing you like this. But when I do have a good day… when I do find myself laughing… well, I really need you to know that it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you, Brian. I’ll never, ever forget.