In order to heal we must first forgive…
And sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.
[Trigger Warning: Suicide]
It has been exactly three years…
since one of my closest homies lost their fight to depression and committed suicide.
It is quite peculiar that on the morning of his burial anniversary I woke up missing him, quite terribly. I mourned him like it was the evening when I found out what happened. It hurt so much. It is in this moment, I realised… I have never fully dealt with his passing, I had never allowed myself to find closure and move on. I pretended like it didn’t happen. Every year since his passing, I would send him a Facebook inbox- as if he were still alive… And in every message, I would beg for his forgiveness, forgiveness for not hearing his plea for help.
For three years I have been walking around with this guilt, guilt of thinking that I could have done more, I could have done something to save him. I have never said it out loud to myself or admitted it. But the memory of him always brought, and still brings me so much regret. So many could have’s and should have’s overwhelm me whenever I think of him.
The thing is, the signs were there; I felt it. Exactly a week before his passing I had a great uneasiness about him, I had tried to reach out to him but I could not get hold of him. Then the news broke and I was numb. It just couldn’t be. It couldn’t be true. Not my friend whom I used to constantly talk about God with, not my friend who had a smile that could take people’s pain away. No, not at all.
Why didn’t I try harder to reach out to him? Why did I not make time to meet up with him when he asked me to? He once told me that I’m the only one who understood him; and that with me he is free to be himself and never feels the need to put up a façade. The one that hits me most is that: in one of our last conversations he hints to me that life has took a complete turn around for him and we need to catch up very soon.
And all I could ever ask myself is, “Why did I not see that it was his desperate plea to me, to help him out of the mire of gloom?”
As an individual, I am someone who prides herself in showing up for those around her, I never want to see anyone in my vicinity suffering- not if I have the resources and capacity to do so. But I am learning to accept that as noble as that is, I need to come to terms with the reality that I cannot save everyone; I will not always be there for everyone or be able to constantly show up for those around me, when they need me to. And it is okay. It is okay for me to fail to be there for those I love, it is okay for me to not be able to see everyone’s suffering.
I think I now realize, it was after all not peculiar that I remembered my homeboy on the same day that he was buried. I believe somewhere deep within me I was being led to go through the rite of passage of burial within my own heart with regards to the unexpected death. I had to allow myself to mourn again and experience the pain of having lost a dear friend so tragically. I had to finally make peace with what had occured, and bury all the guilt. And in doing so, allowing myself the freedom of going on with my life by finding closure but also getting the opportunity to be comforted by the good memories we had shared together. I had to go through the burial all over again and this time, allow my own heart to finally rest in peace and be released from all the restlessness that the loss triggered.
“…there is always forgiveness, not just for others, but for ourselves too when we feel like we have failed on life’s journey…”
So, I will learn to hold on to the sweet memories with my friend; I will hold on to the fact that in between the beginning and end of his life, for just a moment, I was able to be someone whom he could be himself with, without fear or shame. And that should be my greatest joy. Often times we dwell on the endings of things, not realising that the moments in between meant something, too. No matter how things may end, we should remember that the ‘middle moments’ are of value and they are the moments we should hold on to; because it is usually the middle of the journey that is the most defining, and the aspect of every experience that changes us for the better- giving us hope and reminding us of the beauty of life & its blessings. I will therefore constantly remind myself that the road we walk is not only defined by its beginning nor its end, the crux of it all lies in the entire route travelled.
I will therefore, hold on to this notion: whatever tragedy that may befall us at the end of the journey, we should hold on to the beauty of the road we had travelled. I could wish for things to have ended differently,or have no ending at all; but what has happened, happened and no amount of regret will change anything nor will it make the pain any better or bring my friend back. But I can choose to rejoice in being afforded the chance to know a beautiful soul, who added endless, worthwhile value into my life. And that is what I’m going to choose to hold on to everyday. I guess we just need to constantly remind ourselves that life does not only consist of beginnings and endings, there is the middle too, which spans out more widely than the two-edged points we often dwell on. And most of all… there is always forgiveness; there is always forgiveness, not just for others, but for ourselves, too, when we feel like we have failed on life’s journey- even if we believe we could have done more to change the outcomes.