Three years ago, you left this earth; leaving the rest of us confused and shattered. We had no idea you had been suffering for so long. The pain, vines with sharp thorns wrapping around your mind and overgrown across your body; the feeling of no escape, no clear way out.
You were not the first person I know to leave this way, only the first person close to me. Five days before, we were talking, laughing, and playing board games. Five days later, we received “the call”. This had to be a mistake, this had to be a cruel joke. We were just by your side, I could still feel your hug goodbye. With no details and only time to speculate, the cause of death was something I toyed with but quickly pushed out of my mind. It was unfortunately correct, it was suicide.
It was a punch to the gut and fracture of the heart. Tears streaming down our faces. I had hoped you could see how devastated we were and how angry we were too. Angry with ourselves, angry with you. We rang in the New Year together, we all spoke to each other nearly every week, we celebrated becoming neighbors, and we still did not know a thing.
I wish I could hear a corny joke or your side comments when we play D&D. I wish I would have pressed you more for your delicious chili recipe or try one of your homemade meals again. I wish we could have talked more about how you were really feeling. I wish you could have known you had more in common with your friend group than you realized. There are quite a few of us who have similar struggles and are trying to get by. I know when there are dark clouds in the sky, it is very difficult to see the sun.
You were sick and you tried to make it go away and only one answer seemed in sight. I hope you do not think we look upon you with disgust, rage, or shame. Please know you only are remembered with love, respect, and dignity; your suicide did not define you. We still laugh at all your old jokes and bring your name up with joy. You still have a seat at the table in our home and in our hearts.
Not all anniversaries are happy, they can be quite shitty, this is definitely one of them. Though at times it can be painful, I am happy to remember the kind, generous person you were. We are not better off without you, actually, we are worse off. Even though you are gone, your life is still valuable and you are loved.
I hope you are teaching a whole new crew how to roleplay like a champ.
If you are struggling, especially when suicidal thoughts and ideation makes you believe you are alone and worthless, please know these three things: you are loved, you will be missed, and the world is better with you in it. These sound like cliches, but it is true! You have an abundance of support from complete strangers. Your existence here makes a difference.