On losing a friend to suicide.
I received some sad news last weekend as I ventured to the skatepark for a late afternoon ride.
I learned of the death by suicide of G, a young man with whom I had ridden, back in 2019.
I remember his softness, his sweetness and his resolved disbelief in belonging anywhere, especially not to the riding community here in Strasbourg.
I remember him not having much esteem of himself and I remember clumsily trying to persuade him otherwise.
I remember him aching and pining for a young girl who rode bikes too, and he waited until she was taken to confess his feelings for her. It liberated him in a way, to tell her, but he didn’t believe he was up to the task of loving her, although he was gentle, and kind.
I remember riding sessions with him on empty summer days when we would challenge one another to clear the impressive jump box at the skatepark. At the end of a tiring session, he still had the energy to go ride another park. Riding bikes can feed an enthusiasm and breed resilience. To an extent.
I remember riding with him on the morning of New Year’s Eve and when I asked him what his plans were to bring in 2020, he mentioned a solitary evening with his guitar. I couldn’t fully place the pain in what seemed like a classic case of youthful melancholy.
I didn’t know what to make of his quiet desperation. It made me a bit uncomfortable. It felt so unquestionable, so present and I was afraid perhaps that it would engulf me whole.
Now I see that this quiet desperation might have held within it a ticking bomb that was perhaps ignited in early March of 2020, as the world began sinking into isolation, prompting somebody who was already pretty recluse to begin with to shut himself further in.
When the restrictions were lifted, he went on a road trip across Europe with a rider who’d been his friend, even something of a mentor. That rider was everything that G wasn’t—brazen, bold, a risk taker. He had kissed the girl. He wasn’t gentle, but he got what he wanted.
Perhaps G believed that if he spent long enough in the presence of the confident rider then he’d develop those qualities by association—which might’ve been possible, except that for a new skill or quality to grow within, the soil has to be already fertile. Some inner realms are so in need of nourishment that they pause any sense of growth so as to try to tend to themselves.
It’s likely that, rather than the qualities of confidence and self belief rubbing off on G and seeping into his person to nourish him, they instead grew tall as pillars of opposition, testimonies to his ineptitude. These high and mighty pillars came to plunge further into darkness the dimly lit cave in which he already resided.
All this is conjecture.
I’m trying to piece it together. I’m trying to understand what may not be understandable. I am aware of the dead-end involved in attempting to deduct linearity in a life that has now been concluded.
I don’t know what happened for sure, but I hurt to know that there grew in him a darkness so profound, a despair so deep and irrevocable, that he saw no other solution than to walk into a forest in early May of this year, and intentionally depart from this life.
I am sorry that we weren’t able to help him more.
I am sorry that he suffered so much.
Beyond anything, I want him to know that he was loved. I want all of those entrenched still in the sinewy darkness to know that they are, unquestionably, loved.
May we find a way of transmitting kindness and hope and healing in the minute ways in which we interact with one another.
May we not underestimate the power of a helping hand reaching out to those in need.
May we keep offering support to those who dare ask for it, and extend it to those who may not have the courage to ask yet.
May a higher love watch over those who are suffering, and give them mercy.
May we all find peace.
May we pay attention.
May G rest in infinite peace.
He was loved. He is loved. May his family heal.
Thank you for reading.
If you are suffering, please seek help. There is help. Tomorrow needs you.
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