Now there’s a four-letter word for you.
It’s one that’s been on my mind due to events the last few weeks.
A guy I grew up with killed himself on New Year’s Day. He was 28. His older brother and mine were best friends in high school (meaning Chase and I were much younger) and still are very close. When you’re too young to drive and you adore your older brothers, you tag along everywhere, meaning we younger siblings got grouped together. And he was two years older than me and just “so cute,” so of course I had a crush.
I hadn’t seen him in years -- about five, I think, because I remember talking with him at his older brother’s wedding about two weeks before mine. Between the bond we once had and my pregnancy hormones, I did not take the news well.
Due to the nature of his death and his living in Texas at the time, it took several days before arrangements were made, so I couldn’t make the funeral in Sulphur that was in the middle of this week. I hate that I didn’t get to see his mom, or that Wes didn’t because she just adored him when we were kids. But that could have made the loss of her son hurt more. Who knows?
Mom went for all of us, and Bill and Jackie went, of course. Mom called me after and just said, “He looked so young, Leigh,” and I started crying all over again.
The loss of a life is so sad, but the young ones hit me really hard. I’m sure they do to most people. It might be even worse now that I’m growing a young one inside of me. These losses are so hard to understand -- and for some reason, we seem to need to understand -- and so hard to accept, to move on from, to heal. What makes his death harder for me to comprehend is that it seems to have been his choice. Jackie, who grew up down the road from the two brothers, told me she always thought he was the one who had never quite figured out his place in the world, even though he seemed to have been doing well lately. And I would agree. I had no idea that depression or anything so serious as to lead to suicide was in there, but obviously it was. And I’m so, so sorry it was.
The day after I found out about Chase, we headed to Sulphur for a quick trip for a happier occasion, although it, too, was connected to a loss. We attended the wedding of the younger siblings of two of Eric’s best friends from high school. (Obviously they’re my friends now, too, but Eric has original claim.) I don’t know the younger siblings so well, but Eric watched them grow up. Even so, we might not have been invited or able to go if not for Trey.
Eric’s best friend Trey died three years ago in a drunk driving accident, and his younger brother was the groom Saturday. Eric was there because Trey couldn’t be, and we wanted Curtis to have as many big brothers as possible on his big day. The wedding was beautiful and those lost were remembered.
It was a hard weekend and a rough start to the new year. Life gets harder as you grow up, I know, and you do lose people. But that doesn’t make the realization or actual losses any easier. Part of me wants to end this post with something encouraging -- a positive thought, a prayer, maybe something about relying on God.
I am relying on him, I am praying, I do have some positive thoughts and expectations for the new year. But they don’t belong at the end of this post.