I’ve been dreading this prompt since I got the list of questions. I think how you interpret what’s difficult, determines what comes to mind when you consider the hardest thing EVER. I knew from the moment I read the list of prompts for this 30 days of oversharing, what my answer would be.
I lost my best friend to suicide in November. His mother lives in the south and his husband was out of town the night he hung himself. He left a note with my number as his next of kin. His marriage was on the rocks, his husband was cheating… and he had just driven me home after an endoscopy that I didn’t want to tell anyone about. We had joked about being each other’s emergency contact after he got mad at me for thinking I was going to be able to drive myself home from an invasive medical procedure.
In the grand scheme of things, I can understand that I was the obvious choice and as much as those moments are burned into my heart, I have found some small comfort that he knew I would be there for him in the last, worst moments.
I was notified first and lost my mind. I called my favorite man and broke into a million pieces as he talked me out of an emotional breakdown. He comforted me while I fought off the unimaginable details I had left to handle. I didn’t want to be left holding my own hands, walking through the worst hell I never imagined, but there was simply no other choice. I think part of me wanted him to tell me I didn’t have to do any of the next, worst things, but he didn’t. He told me I had to do all of it, and that he knew I could and would help me in any way I needed. I will love him forever for carrying me that night, when I had no choice but to get up and face the horror of it all and did not know how.
I had to call and tell Anthony’s mother that he was gone. Singularly the worst phone call I’ve ever had to make. Motherhood is a bond that connects us all as family when a child dies. He wasn’t a child anymore, but when you’re a mama they don’t ever stop being your baby.
The night that followed was one I wish I could forget. The day after was even worse.
His death was unattended and I drove his husband to identify and see his body. Waiting for them to take us back, I knew that the worst moment in my life was unfolding and no amount of tears and grief could stop it. I prayed there was a stranger under that sheet and the whole thing was just an enormous mistake.
He was silent, cold and unmoving. I put my hand on his chest and was devastated by the overnight change in a body I was so familiar with hugging me warmly. I’m still having dreams about how horrifying it was to feel him so cold and hard. His husband ripped the sheet off and there were signs of trauma I wish neither of us saw. It was the stuff nightmares are made of, and I still can’t believe some of the things we all managed to survive that day.
I did not attend his funeral as he was flown home and buried in his family plot. Something about seeing him go into the ground was more than I could bear, but I think if I hadn’t seen him with my own eyes, I may have spent a lifetime pretending he were on a long vacation, just out of service… just gone for a while.
Suicide is devastatingly permanent. If you’re feeling like harming yourself please consider the people around you that will carry the weight of not being able to help you, forever. Reach out. Call anyone. See a therapist. Please….do it for your mother, your best friend and yourself. Depression can be debilitating and isolating to the point you forget how to ask, but suicide doesn’t solve any of those problems, it just eliminates the chance of anything ever getting better.
He’s resting in peace, heckling the angels and flirting with Saint Peter. I know heaven got a lot brighter the day the world got a lot darker for the rest of us, but I’d give anything to have him back.