It is a sad day.
This morning I awoke to a post on Facebook that had been posted 3 hours prior: my friend David (and former blogger at “Facing Traffic”, “Another Mile Marker”, and others as he changed his blog name a few times) chose to end his life. He made a final post on Facebook and, by the time I awoke and read it, he was in the hospital on a breathing tube. A family member was kind enough to keep us all posted on his status. I’ve been checking for status updates all day. It was confirmed a few minutes ago that Dave’s injuries were fatal and the family was taking him off life support. Dave was an organ donor. It is ironic and sad: he was kind enough to provide life giving organs to others, while unable to find something inside himself to save his own life.
I’d like to say I’m stunned, but I’ve known David for a few years and I know he struggled with bipolar depression, among other things. I tried to be as available for David as I could be as a long-distance friend, responding anytime he reached out, always reminding him I was here to talk, and our door was always open if he needed a place to go. But I know he struggled and I knew this was always a possibility.
We texted regularly over the years and got to know each other pretty well (I think.) When he adopted his dog Cooper (I always called him “The Coop”) a couple years ago and named us Cooper’s “godparents” (funny in that we were both atheists) we visited him to meet them both and had a great weekend hanging out, cementing our friendship. In all honesty, I encouraged him to get a dog, hoping it might provide him some regular affection and company and give him an extra incentive to keep fighting to survive when things grew darkest.
David and I were in touch almost weekly, usually sharing our ailments, dog daddy experiences, and our job struggles: me with hating mine, him with difficulties finding and holding a job that could accommodate his challenges. There was always the promise of another visit: us there or him here, as soon as we could make it happen. We stayed candid with each other, and David knew he could tell me anything and I would listen, without judgement.
Most recently, David told me he had been working at a Casino that had a branch in my area and he was considering transferring here. I tried to give him as much info about the area as I could, assuring him we would gladly and enthusiastically welcome him and the Coop with open arms if they decided to relocate. It was exciting to think he and Cooper might become local friends. (According to his final Facebook post, he has been unemployed for four months, so now I don’t know if the Casino thing was true or not.)
I am not angry at David for making this choice. I am sad that my friend is gone. I am sad that Cooper lost his Dad. I am sad that David suffered so much for so long and felt so hopeless and helpless. I am sad that he was alone in his final moments of awareness, unable or unwilling to find the strength to reach out for help one more time. And I am sad that, despite knowing better, my friendship wasn’t somehow special or strong enough to be his “saving grace” or lifeline.
This is the third time I have lost a blogger buddy to death, the second time it was due to suicide, but the first time it was someone I considered a real friend.
I am sorry this was the only way he could fathom to end his pain.
I will miss him.