When I’m Gone

I’ve written about suicide on my blog a time or two. The truth is, I probably struggle with thoughts of killing myself more often than I should. If I died tomorrow – I wonder, what would people say about me? Could my family even conjure up enough friends to carry my coffin?  Would people miss me when I’m gone?

Someone very close to me is going through an unspeakable tragedy right now. His step-son died. He shot himself. Although it isn’t official, it appears to have been done on purpose. Leaving my friend utterly destroyed, feeling like he “failed” his step-son, somehow. I know this man, and I can speak with confidence to the fact that he did not. He was a great step-father, raising this boy as if he were his own, for the better part of 14 years.

I made my way to the young man’s obituary online. I signed my family’s name to the guest book. Then, began perusing some of the other entries. It was heartbreaking. Then again, I suppose, that’s the way it should be. Many people not only expressed condolenses to the family, but shared stories about “fond memories” with the young man, describing him as “honest” and “genuine.” A classmate talked about his “energy” and “compassion” and how he taught her to “stand up for myself, and to believe in everything.” I mean – wow! For a young man of only 18, that’s quite a commendation from his peers, don’t you think. There were other entries from parents of his friends. And they all basically said the same thing; he was one upstanding individual!

It all begs the question; did he know this? Did he know his friends thought of him “fondly” and admired his honesty and his authenticity? Did he know he was leading by example; teaching others to stand up for themselves? Did he know? Could even begin to imagine the things people would say about him after he died? If he had, is it possible, he’d still be here?

– J. Ela


(This post is dedicated to SPM 1996 – 2014, Rest In Peace) 


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