I learned last Sunday that Dave, one of my best friends from high school, had been found on Saturday after having taken his own life. I had not spoken to him for years, but the news hit me hard.
He was the happy-go-lucky type, always ready with a funny quote from The Simpsons for every occasion. He was definitely quirky and would find enjoyment in the most trivial things. We had math classes together, were co-captains of the basketball team, and drank together practically every weekend.
Months before his passing, I had heard that he was recovering from alcohol abuse and was fighting with mental illness. I can't help but think that I had contributed to the drinking problems early on in life. Apparently, he had lost his job and was living out of his car for a period of time. Like me, he was always single. He never complained about that, but looking back, I presume loneliness had also taken its toll.
If I had just reached out to him when I heard about his fight with alcoholism, I feel like it wouldn't have ended this way. He could have lived with me, and we could have worked on programming projects to prepare him for a new career. That seems like the type of thing that would have kept him engaged. He was always a pretty smart guy when it came to logical subjects. He graduated college with a degree in IT, but he never obtained an IT job.
Being a fairly introverted person myself, I definitely struggle to keep in contact with friends. This news encouraged me to reach out to other friends, particularly one who had sounded pretty down the last time I spoke to her. I'll never get the opportunity to see or speak with Dave again, and I can't bear to see the same thing happen to others.
Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can't move
Awake, but cannot open my eyes
And the weight is crushing down on my lungs. I know I can't breathe
And hope someone will save me this time
And your mother's still calling you insane and high
Swearing it's different this time
And you tell her to give in to the demons that possess her
And that God never blessed her insides
Then you hang up the phone and feel badly for upsetting things
Crawl back into bed to dream of a time
When your heart was open wide and you loved things just because
Like the sick and the dying
And sometimes when you're on, you're really fucking on
And your friends they sing along and they love you
But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap
And it teases you for weeks in its absence
But you'll fight and you'll make it through
You'll fake it if you have to
And you'll show up for work with a smile
You'll be better and you'll be smarter and more grown up
And a better daughter or son and a real good friend
And you'll be awake, you'll be alert
You'll be positive though it hurts
And you'll laugh and embrace all your friends
You'll be a real good listener, you'll be honest, you'll be brave
You'll be handsome and you'll be beautiful
You'll be happy
Your ship may be coming in
You're weak, but not giving in
To the cries and the wails of the valley below
And your ship may be coming in
You're weak, but not giving in
And you'll fight it, you'll go out fighting all of them
It's a sad time. You will be missed greatly, dear friend.
Rest in peace, Dave