Another Friend Dies
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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