I said goodbye to a friend last week. Sadly, it hadn’t been entirely unexpected. Life simply became too much for him or, perhaps, not enough.
When I sat down to get this out of my head, I was going to write about how I wanted to remember him as the man he was when I first met him, when he married my best friend, proudly welcomed his sons into the world, and greeted everyone with a smile, not the man he became over the years. For some reason, the words stuck. I stumbled over them and tried to force myself past them, until I realized why I couldn’t.
They were a lie.
The truth is, he was always the man he ‘became’, he was just better at fighting off his demons. So good at it, most of those who knew him, even some family members, weren’t aware they existed.
I don’t know why the things that brought him joy in life ceased to be enough. When he began losing more battles than he could win. When the weapons he fought those demons with started to lose their edge.
I don’t know why he pushed away those closest to him. When it finally overwhelmed him, and he set those weapons aside. When he picked up the dark, seductive ones that brought, if only for the moment, a sense of release, and numbed the pain no one else could feel.
I don’t know what prompted that final step. I can only hope he found what had so eluded him in this life. That peace is not forever beyond his reach.
We all face our own demons. We all fight them in our own way.
Sometimes, the demons win.
Safe journey, my friend.
“I asked a distant star
I wonder where you are
The shadow at my door
A friend who is no more
I watched him go to the wind
I close my eyes
Goodbye, goodbye my friend”
~ Sand by Heart