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Another Friend Dies

Updated on September 7, 2012
Grave Stone
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Not long ago I received the news that a friend, named Andy, had died. Although they were not specific in his obituary I have heard from several sources that he committed suicide. Usually I am very private about such things and don't often write hubs on loss but I have been feeling a little guilt where he is concerned and felt I should perhaps share my thoughts and possibly get some feedback from my readers on this issue.

I had known Andy for as far back as I think of and remember playing at his home even before I sent to kindergarten at the age of four. Andy was a year older than I was and he had two brothers, Micheal and Charlie. When I was quite young there was a fire at their residence and as I understand Andy's mother was not at home. Andy managed to save Micheal and got out of the house but Charlie was trapped inside and burned to death. Their mother showed up later, where she had been I still don't know. This was something that always bothered Andy and would probably be the first event in a long line of depressing issues in his life.

After Charlie's death their family moved into the house that was right beside us and my brother and I often played with Andy and Micheal on a daily basis. In the course of of the next few years we would come to understand that their parents were both drunks. That their father would often abuse them and his wife. After a few years one night their mother woke them during the night and removed a part from the father's truck and fled with them. Leaving him to take up with a string of drunken ladies over the next few years until we eventually moved away as well to a nearby town.

Andy, his mother and brother Micheal left when I was about eight years old and for a very long time I had no idea what had happened to them. But one day I received a message of facebook from Andy. He had returned to our home town and wanted to get together at some point to remember the old days. Of course at this point it had been about 20 years so I felt a tad awkward about it.

At first I said that would be good, at some point. But a few months later as he was traveling and passing through the city in which I now lived he wanted to stop by my home. So I finally had to let him know that I was uncomfortable with him coming by. I now had a family and to be honest just because we knew each other when we were eight years old didn't mean we really knew each other today. I didn't now what type of person he'd grown up to be and just wasn't willing to invite a stranger into my home. Maybe part of me was worried, considering his role models, that he'd become like his father or mother. I let him down as easy as I could but I know it hurt him a bit.

We did get to talking on facebook and he told me a lot more about what happened after his mother spirited him away twenty years before. Apparently they had moved down south and he grew up there. Eventually when he hit his twenties he got together with a woman and had three children. This relationship had ended almost a year before he came back to our home town. Apparently his girlfriend got full custody of the children and for some reason he couldn't see his children. This made me feel worse for shunning him. I told him at some point when I was back in our home town that we would go for coffee.

Andy developed a relationship with a girl we both knew from school named Amy who still lived in our home town but this too quickly soured. Not long after I saw Andy's facebook page setup as a memorial. Andy was dead. I heard from several sources that he'd hung himself.

Now I know that I'm not to blame for his death. He had a long sad life stretched out over many years with so many heart wrenching events, but I can't help but feel badly. Could my attention, just going for that coffee, having a visit have tipped to scales enough for him to choose life. Maybe he was returning to try and find something he felt he'd lost as a child and maybe I could have given him some peace. I don't know, but I feel guilty and I'm not sure how I can completely get past it. After all, there is no turning back the clock and no making amends for what has happened. What do you think?

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    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      debbie roberts - I will work though it of course, it bothers me but I will move on as I must. But thank you for commenting, I appreciate it.

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Credence2 - than you for commenting. I know what you mean, I won't really dwell on it forever, it does bother me but I will work through it, thanks.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      Hindsight isn't a good thing. You've acknowledged it wasn't your fault and nothing can be done now. Would it really help you to lay it to rest if you knew whether or not you lending your time and ear to him would have made a difference?

      Even if you decide things would have been different if you'd given him your time, it won't change the fact, he was a grown man who took his own life by choice leaving three children fatherless, whether or not he was able to see them now was irrelevant, one day they may have wanted to meet him.

      You must let it go for your own sake, don't let it drag you down and most importantly try and learn something from this tragic waste of life. That is something you can do now....

      Thank you for sharing this story, maybe someone else can gain from your experience....

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Terrektwo, the regret can be overwhelming at times,'if you had of invited him more fully, earlier', would it have been possible that he would have had sufficiently fortified to keep him from suicide? I guess we can never know. It is hard to say what I would have done if I were in your shoes, because I was not there.

      In reality, it turns out that much happens that we have absolutely no control over, to be honest that is most things... Thanks for sharing this account.. Cred2

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      TIMETRAVELER2 - words to live by, and I will move on as life goes on. Feeling bad for him and guilty is more feeling than something I decided to do though, but like anything time will continue and so will I. Thanks for commenting.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 5 years ago

      Clearly, Andy's experiences as a child created a flaw in him from which he never recovered. His inability to maintain a relationship is proof of that. We all like to think that somehow we have the power to save people from themselves. We don't. Your hesitation about seeing him is normal, but for you to feel guilt over someone you didn't even really know is a wasted effort. Move on and let it go. LIfe is too short.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      pmccray - I know your right in my head, I just have to convince my heart. I will deal with it as I have no alternative but to do that. I thank you for your words of wisdom and I will do my best to put them into practice.

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

      I too am sorry regarding your friend, but sometimes those that we meet in life seem to be stuck in a certain point in time.

      I think the time Andy spent with you as a child may have been the happiest of his life. This should make you feel proud that you brighten his life if only for a little while.

      You grew up and left those times behind, Andy stayed in that time period, which is not your fault. Many have suffered abuse and have had hard times growing up, but there comes a time when you must leave the past in the past and choose to enjoy the future.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi terrektwo, It is a very sad thing when someone you know commits suicide.

      It is natural to feel some guilt under the circumstances, but it sounds like the damage was done a long time ago, and it would have taken a lot more than you could have given, to heal this unfortunate man. Life can be so very cruel sometime. So sorry about your friend.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Capedium - short on words you may be but you stopped long enough to say them and for that I appreciate it, thanks.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Amy Becherer - You are right after a twenty year gap I really didn't know Andy anymore. We were good friends as children and around each other almost every day. He was a part of my childhood and so I remember that fondly. But when he came back after a couple decades we were not close as we had not seen one another in years. Still I felt like I should have went to see him, maybe not in my home, possibly when I returned to our home town, at a coffee shop maybe. He seemed to be returning to the place of his childhood, possibly looking for something he lost, maybe backtracking to a place in his mind where he was once happy. Maybe I was a part of that and should have given him a chance to meet with me. But maybe I am over analyzing as I often do. But I'll never know and just can't help but feel some guilt over it. In time I know it will pass. But I just don't want to forget the little boy Andy once was.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      picklesandrufus - I think for the most part your right, there were so many life shattering things Andy had to deal with growing up and into adulthood. I could never have repaired, or made any of those things better. But still kind of wish I'd gone for coffee had a heart to heart with the guy. That can't happen now but I will learn to live with that eventually. Thanks for commenting and reading.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      writer20 - I suppose it isn't as though Andy was an immediate family member, I have been through that too. So I won't breakdown over it but I do feel guilty. But it won't immobilize me I will continue to write as I do and continue as I do day to day and deal with it in my own way. I suppose writing about it is a part of that. Thanks for commenting Joyce.

    • Capedium profile image

      Capedium 5 years ago from Texas.

      I am short of words.. Hope my little sorry cheers you up...

      It is really touching and sad...

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Seeker7 - I think I will feel a bit bad for awhile but I suppose like you said his mindset as a person was effected by his life and the many things he faced that over time damaged his thinking. Even down to losing his children to the point where he just couldn't take it anymore. I suppose also that my decision was for my family and I just couldn't choose any differently. All I can say is rest in peace Andy.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Had you met Andy for coffee, you would have listened, expressed compassion for those unfortunate circumstances that you were aware of, said encouraging words and wished him well, but a cup of coffee and your best could not have healed him. I have a best friend and we have shared everything about ourselves for 30 years. She lives in another state now and we do not see each other, but talk everyday. My BFF tried to take her life several times. And, despite the fact she knows I love, understand and commiserate with her, I cannot save her. I am a fallible human being and cannot make all the wrongs in her life right. You did not really "know" Andy. And, even if you had, you cannot stop someone who has lost hope and the will to go on. The facts are that neither you or Andy were part of each other's lives. It is very sad that any human being would choose death over life. In some ways it makes me angry, because there are so many people suffering terrible, debilitating physical illness that would give everything to be able to step out of their pain to experience what could have been Andy's. I do, however, pity those who have suffered trauma that destroys them, leaves them without the power of rational thought and strips them of any hopes for happiness in a future. You could not have changed that. Even if Andy had been your best friend, he would have done what he felt he wanted or had to do. I believe the difference between those that end their life and those that attempt to is their determination to end their pain and their utter belief in a resignation to hopelessness. It would have taken years of professional help along with the correct pharmaceuticals to fill the void in Andy's soul. I am very sorry he was in so much pain. However, you bear no responsibility in his choice.

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      I understand your feelings, but being on the outside looking in, I feel there was a deep sadness within Andy that you could not cure.I hope as time goes on, you find some peace and let the guilt go.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I hope your pain ends soon. Because you have written everything on here. Voted up and awesome, my friend Joyce

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What a heartbreaking hub for you and your friend.

      Firstly, I wouldn't feel guilty about not having Andy to your home and being uncomfortable about letting him fully back into your life. You have other concerns now that as an 8 year old you didn't. You have a family and a home to consider and protect. People can change a great deal from what they were as children.

      Secondly. When someone is in the mind frame of feeling that suicide is their only option then nothing on this planet will stop them - and I mean nothing. It is a mystery to most people why folks take this road. All I can say is that their mind is on a different level and for the most part many do genuinely feel that the world would be a better place without them and that they will not be missed. Given this poor man's family history and so on, it is almost without doubt, that the seeds of deep depression and suicidal tendencies were rooted in childhood. This is not your fault and again, I doubt if something like a cup of coffee would have made any difference. Please don't feel guilty. The people who should have taken care of this man as a child, let him down badly and they are the ones who put him on the road to this sad ending. Perhaps the other way to look at this, is to know that Andy will not suffer any more from such a hard life.

      For yourself. Be happy with the fact that you probably gave him more time than most people would have and that we can't be all things to all people. Heartbreaking as it is, Andy is the one who made this decision for himself. It seems to me the trigger probably came from his family and children that he left back in another town. So take a deep breath, put the guilt where it belongs - in the trash can - and know that you made the right decisions for the sake of you and your family.

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Brandon Spaulding - glad I'm not alone in this thinking. It is hard to think you may have been able to do something for someone but didn't and then they commit suicide. Thank you for commenting, I really appreciate your understanding.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      KimberlyLake - I suppose even if people do as much as they can suicidal people are just going to do what they are going to do. It is very sad to think there's nothing you can do, but I guess some cases are like that. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt but am glad your son pulled through. Thank you for sharing though.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Angela Blair - You offer very sound advice. I think you are right where family is concerned it was something I had to be sure of and know him again before he came to our home. Maybe coffee just the two of us at a coffee place would have been ok at some point but that just didn't happen. I will have to let him go as he is gone but I think it may take some time for my guilt to subside. Thank you for commenting Sis.

    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      billybuc - I want to believe that, I really do, but I'm just not sure that it's because it's true or because I want to clear my conscience. Maybe I couldn't have stopped him but coffee with just he and I would have been easy. Thank you for your words :)

    • Brandon Spaulding profile image

      Brandon Spaulding 5 years ago from Yahoo, Contributor

      I feel your pain. I had a friend in high school who committed suicide when we were 14 and I wondered if there might have been some way I could have made more of a difference in his life. I was torn about it even though he wasn't a close friend. He was more like an acquaintance. However, I was really upset about it. People are going to do what they are going to do. There was no guarantee that I would have been able to keep him from doing what he did. I prayed about it and cried and was in anquish. I wish I could have made a difference but what is done is done. I'm really sorry about your experience. You aren't the only one to have to deal with this kind of thing. You aren't alone in your frustration.

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Deborah Brooks - yes it is a sad thing when one takes their own life. I know that I had not seen Andy in about 20 years but I still feel badly about it. Thank you for sharing too.

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 5 years ago from California

      My comment cont. Long story short she committed suicide that night. She had lord of social support but made the decision that her life had no value to her anymore. This is sad. I have similar feelings connected with my son, who attempted suicide but lived. I wrestled with guilt for a long. Time but recently throught and communication with my son that I could not have prevented it. His mind was set and he needed to want help from someone more qualified then me. Thankfully he is happy and healthy today. Thanks for sharing..socially shared...take care I hope the responses you get can help you work through your feelings.

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      KimberlyLake - Well I guess you tried for sure. Is your aunt ok now or has she met a tragic end?

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      I think we've all felt "less" at some point in time over a friend or relative -- I know I have and certainly understand your distress. Perhaps it would help to remember the times you and Andy did have a Facebook relationship so he obviously considered you a friend. As the father/protector of your household you had to use your best judgment as to bringing him into your home and under the circumstances I'd have made the same decision you did -- family first in the face of the unknown. From what you say Andy's life was tragic from the beginning but you befriended him both as a child and as an adult. Rarely does one of us make a difference when someone has decided on suicide -- occasionally -- but it's usually only a professional that can do that. Cherish Andy's friendship you enjoyed as a child and let him go in peace -- yours and his. God bless, my friend, Sis

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Problems like Andy's are not solved by a cup of coffee...thank you for sharing your hub and your feelings...very human to feel the way you do but there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I am so sorry..How sad this is. I had a 1st cousin that killed himself. It was so devastating... I am going to share your hub on my Facebook page.

      God Bless

      Debbie

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 5 years ago from California

      A visit with him may have brightened his day but Andy needed more than that, I think. I had a Aunt who called me very distraught. One night, she too. had many saddening events in her life, I told her to come to my home and stay, as she had done many times before, I arranged to pay for her travel etc..?