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  • "Helping"

    Between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, my mom moved us to a different school district. We went from a "city" school to a "country" school in that my family was of the minority that did not live on a 'farm.' Not everyone actually lived on a farm, but most homes were considered farms due to the enormous lot sizes and the fact that nearly every home could be classified as "located just east of BFE."

    In Spanish class, I sat behind a young freshman who was an embarrassingly rabid fan of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I am not a fan. He and I would gently spar over the legitimacy of The Beatles and whether Yoko should have been drowned at birth. I also predicted that Sean Lennon would have zero talent, especially when compared to Julian.

    Fast forward to my senior year. I became involved in the Drama Club and found "my people." Among those people were my Spanish class Beatles buddy and his two closest friends. They were into skateboarding and let me tag along. As you know, skateboarders need an audience, and there's nothing like a girl freaking out over a faceplant.

    We all became very close that year, perhaps too close. But I had the opportunity to glimpse into the lives of my friends: A, whose mother was incredibly overprotective; B, whom I was pretty sure his mother didn't like him very much; and C, an emo kid who was always at odds with his father and step-mother. Unlike me, they all had two parents who got along at home, and I found the idiosyncrasies normalizing.

    But I did worry about C. Some days, he seemed so much like a ticking time bomb. Other days, he was so sweet and affectionate--even flirtatious. I believed in my heart it was a phase, and that he was just torn up by hormones not quite in sync.

    I was wrong. A few years ago I learned he had taken his life. I felt so... We were blood, bound by our friendship pledges to one another. We had shared so much of ourselves--our hopes, our dreams. Although we went our separate ways after high school, I believed our connections were still there, that we would always be there for each other, and that I had failed. I was assured that no one could have 'reached' him, that he was too far gone in his downward spiral, but how could that salve my soul?

    And so I simply buried it, refusing to dwell on my feelings of failure, my belief that I had abandoned my friend to his troubles.

    XKCD.com helped put my feelings into proper perspective yesterday. I have spent last night and most of today reevaluating everything, and feel as though a weight has been lifted.


    It's not my fault, nor is it the fault of my friends or even C's dysfunctional family. Sometimes, you just can't help someone--they have to find their own way. Now I can finally let him go.


    Ambs said...

    I had my own issues with similar feelings and brought them up in therapy one day. My therapist told me about a man in treatment at a center; they had him on suicide watch because he had threatened to take his own life. That means someone stops by your room every fifteen minutes to make sure you're not planning to do yourself in.

    He still managed to hang himself from a towel rack.

    If someone is upset enough with life and their place in it to seriously consider leaving it all behind, there's really nothing anyone can do to stop them. We'd like to think we're that powerful sometimes, but it just ain't so.

    Glad you found closure, anyway.

    Soo Mi said...

    Me, too.