You never really think that the time moves that quickly after a traumatic event in your life. I got a call that my beloved coworker and friend had died. I couldn’t believe it- he was young and had just had a baby who was less than a year old. I didn’t really comprehend how he could be possibly dead. The bearer of bad news informed me that he had committed suicide.
My stomach dropped.
He was so happy and full of life at work. Yeah, we both complained about how much it sucked working as lifeguards at a small-town “resort,” but I never once thought that he was feeling like there was no other way out.
Today I want to write a letter to my dear friend of all the things I wish I could have said to him before he made that decision, and all the things that I wish I could say to him now, after his decision.
I am sorry I wasn’t there for you in your darkest hour. I’m sorry you were in so much pain. I’m sorry you felt that this was your only option.
I miss you terribly.
I wish that I would have reached out to you to see how you were doing. I wish that I would have noticed any type of signs, if you even showed any. I thought life was good- you were moving away to start a new life with your wife and daughter. You had saved so many lives, not only working as a volunteer firefighter, but also when you saved that boy’s life at the water park. I know that it must have been traumatizing, having to resuscitate a young child, not knowing how long he was unconscious in the water. I wish that work would have provided some more counseling for you and Ryan after all you did for that boy.
I loved our work shifts together. I always asked you questions about your career and your wife’s career, and you always provided advice for me for my future medical career. We joked around with Ryan and Lexi a lot, we had a lot of fun at the arcade, even when we dealt with some horrible tourists, and I thought life was good. Obviously it wasn’t.
I wish I could tell you that I am here for you, and that you can always reach out to me. I wish I would have been more available to you during college. I didn’t have to focus so hard on studies that I ignored texts from you and Ryan. I should have visited you during breaks more often, or on weekends that I traveled home.
Jeremy, I just wish you were here with your wife and daughter.
If you were here, I’d tell you how loved and needed you are. I would provide you with the proper resources to receive the help that you deserve. I would tell you that it’s more than OK for men to feel this way, and that it doesn’t make you weak. I would tell you that you are strong. I would tell you not to feel guilt. I would tell you that I could help you fight your demons with you. I would tell you that your wife and daughter need you here, and that we will get you help.
But don’t worry, Jeremy. I don’t blame you for your decision. I’m not mad at you, and I never will be. I understand why you made the decision you did. I’m just sorry that you felt that way. I hope you can hear me, wherever you are, whether it’s Heaven, or “The Other Side,” or if you’re a ghost. Either way, know that you are truly missed, and that you will always be on my mind.
Thank you for being a good friend and coworker, Jeremy.