Mackey05 40F
508 posts
4/18/2005 9:59 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm


The past few days have been really difficult for me leading up to today because it is the anniversary of the death of a very close friend of mine. Work has been hectic because of the time of year and we are hiring new people. It's been surreal for me because I am part of the hiring team and less than a year ago I was in that hot seat being interviewed and now I have to take on a leadership role and be partially responsible for the future of the place I work. I've been trying to keep my head straight and not think about it much, but it is hard... When someone touches your life, your heart, and soul as he did you will never forget.

I met him my freshman year of college living in the dorms. For the life of me I can't remember if someone introduced us or if we ran into each other and started talking. We clicked and started eating meals with each other every day and shared stories of high school, our significant others, family, goals, and dreams. What I remember most about whenever I met him for the first time was that I sensed something in him and felt instantly at ease... Maybe that is more important knowing than a time and a place.

He was engaged to his junior high sweetheart and was from a close knit family with his brother and two parents. We enjoyed sharing athletic battle stories and he regretted not accepting wrestling scholarship after being a state champion because he wanted to go to a school that had one of the top programs in his field. He was always making everyone laugh and was one of the most friendly people I have ever met in my life. I was so wrapped up in my college athletics and maintaing my grades that my life wasn't balanced and he refused to let me become a "human doing." So many nights he'd pop into my dorm room and kidnap me away from my routine and take me somewhere fun and exciting... Truth be told we could go anywhere and we'd have a blast. One of our most favorite spots was sitting on the ledge of the roof of the university parking garage where we could see the whole campus and be away from all of the craziness going on below. On the nights we'd go up there we'd take a walk downtown and buy cigars from a tobacco shop owned by a celebrity then climb the stairs up to our little haven.

I've never opened up to anyone like I did with him because no matter what he made me feel accepted and that nothing I could do or say was wrong or silly. I was struggling with issues from my childhood, the start of the affair, balancing my life, and figuring out if I was heading in the right direction. I confessed to him so many times that the only thing I felt would make my life great and me happy was helping people. The more I learned and experienced the smaller I felt and I wanted to make a positive impact on this world but didn't know how. It devastated me every time I felt that way because it was my dream. He understood that like no one else in my life has, and always had a way, something to say to make me feel like anything was possible and that I truly could reach it. I've never slept as soundly in my life as I did after we climbed down and walked back to the dorms together smiling and laughing.. Just feeling so young and that the world was ours for the taking.

His eyes always haunt me and still do when I look at the one picture I have left of him. In his deep brown eyes no matter whether he was laughing or being serious I could always see sadness and something I wanted to reach in and bring out and help. Within lied a lot of wisdom and intelligence that he never believed he had no matter how much I pointed it out.

We had some great adventures traveling together. We'd just pack up a few things and take off for wherever the wind blew and meet some crazy people along the ways. He had his life completely in order and seemed to know where his path led. I had a very general idea and knew that I had to grow a lot more as a person before I could even come close to setting my feet on my desired path. He tried many times to get me to stop the affair and leave. I tried and was weak and naive. I promised the man with whom I was having an affair that we'd always be together. That proclamation came after he said he always wanted to be a part of my life... I fell into the trap at 18.

My friend's life started to unravel.. His fiancee admitted that she started cheating on him with his best friend their freshman year of high school and was going to have his baby. It crushed him and he told both of them he never wanted to speak again. I remember the night he came to my door to tell me the news. He could barely get the words out between sobs and we laid together in bed all night as he went in and out of sleep, crying, talking... I didn't know how to console him and my heart broke along with his. When you have a true friend and love them you experience their life along with them and their victories and pain are yours as well. I cried too. I hate crying in front of anyone because it makes me feel weak and vulnerable. With him, even when it was my pain it never felt that way. At first I felt like I was being weak at a time when he needed me to be strong for him but I was wrong.

He slowly recovered from the loss of two of the most important people in his life by dulling the pain with alcohol. I didn't think anything of it at the time because everyone has their own ways of dealing with things and he had it under control.... Until a month later when both of his parents were killed in a terrible car accident on their way back from a second honeymoon. The devastation nearly killed him and I never felt that I could do enough to help him. I drove him home to be with his brother and was there at his side at the wakes and when they put their bodies to rest. He shut down and didn't want to talk about it and wasn't able to joke around like he did with the initial blow from his ex and best friend. He started smoking pot and drinking even more than before.

It is said that pot is a gateway drug and I feel it's only true with some people. When it is used recreationally and for fun it is one thing, but when anything is used to cover up pain and deal with it eventually it leads to worse things.

I tried finding something positive for him and I contacted a friend who was involved with professional wrestling. I pumped up my friend and got him a try-out over the summer and saved money to pay for him to go through wrestling camp if he made it. He went through the try-out like a champ and blew everyone away. I was so happy and proud of him and could see a change in him. The last 2 months of school he was back to being himself... The jester and deep guy I loved and felt very lucky to have him as a friend.

That summer he relapsed after giving up drugs and alcohol in order to prepare for wrestling when his brother committed suicide. I found out in an e-mail and tried calling the school to see if I could come out and be there for him. They told me he disappeared and could not be reached. I freaked out and called everyone he knew and no one could find him. A few weeks later he turned up in Los Angeles when he had overdosed on smack and someone found him in an alley. His aunt flew out to be with him and brought him home and his family closed off all contact the remainder of the summer.

When we got back to school I didn't even recognize him. He had gained over 40 pounds and let his personal hygiene go out the window. His drug use was then a full blown habit and he began selling at the frat houses on campus. I confronted him several times trying to reason with him and help but he pushed me away just like he did with all of his other friends.

One night my parents and sister came out to visit me and after they had left I took the stairs back to my room. As I walked down the hallway I heard him quietly calling my name. I looked around and couldn't find him until I turned on the light in the laundry room and found him curled up in the corner dirty, bleeding, crying and scared. The police tried to arrest him on the second floor or a frat house and he jumped through the window and landed on the front lawn. How he made it back and didn't break anything was amazing. I sat there for over two hours on my floor putting shards of glass out of his forearms and face with tweezers and cleaning him up with rubbing alcohol.

The next day he asked us to help him detox. In retrospect it is something we never should have tried. Four of us worked out a schedule over a 2 week period of babysitting him and keeping him confined to my dorm room. We never let him leave the room and we would feed him and clean up after him. It was very messy and disgusting at times, but we loved him and would do anything to save him. He became violent and had crazy mood swings and at one point lost the ability to control his bowel movements. He didn't seem to really get better and we were scared that we would loose him at any time. My biggest fear was coming home to find him dead and no one there on their scheduled shift with him.

We realized we couldn't do this on our own and talked to him about entering a clinic. In his weakened state my friend agreed to let us take him to a real rehab center. The University was very supportive and understanding and put his scholarship on hold and would allow him to return once he finished. I lost my scholarship and was dropped from my soccer team after blowing out my knee. I fought like a mad woman to get through my rehab and prove to my coaches and the college that they had made a mistake. We'd talk on the phone about how both of us were broken and soon would be whole again and would rewind our lives back to before all the bad things happened and pick up from there.

My friend was released from rehab and was exactly the man I had known before he began his downward spiral into drug abuse. I was so proud of him and was inspired by everything he had gone through.

Things were not what they had seemed and one afternoon 2 of us drove out to his apartment to pick him up and go out for a celebratory lunch. I knocked on his door and he wouldn't answer. I started joking around asking if the lid of the toilet had hit him in the head when he went for a drink... It was a silly joke between us... No answer... Finally I twisted the knob and the door opened. I dropped to my knees and was speechless. I froze... I didn't know what to feel and couldn't hold on to any thoughts rushing through my head. My Vicatin trance was snapped. He gave up on himself and had put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger and he was lying dead in the middle of his living room floor. The friend who had come with me entered the apartment and vomited at what he saw. He started sobbing as he called 911. I fought back the tears as I crawled over to him and put my head on his chest and began holding his lifeless body lying on the floor with him. I couldn't stop crying and told him over and over again I was sorry and that I loved him. I asked why he left.. The EMTs and police arrived and had to pull me away because I didn't want to let go.

I was riddled with guilt because I failed him as a friend because I couldn't see that he was hurting when he got out of rehab. For years I've run scenarios and "what if's" in my head because I felt responsible. Two years ago I finally accepted that it wasn't my fault and it was his decision. I couldn't have saved him, you cannot save people who don't want to be saved. He was broken by events in his life and didn't have the strength to rebuild his life even though we were there to support him and give him everything he needed.

I couldn't stay at that school anymore because every corner held a memory of things him and I had done together. I was haunted by conversations we had as I passed by our favorite hang outs. My athletic career was over and on top of that I had so many negative experiences that had built up and I knew it was time to move on and take steps towards achieving my dreams because I had grown enough as a person to move on.

I miss him and carry on the hope he gave me and will never forget the hope he lost when he decided to give up on his own life. So many people pass through our lives day to day that sometimes we take them for granted. It's sad really, but there are those who stand out and touch us and change us forever.

I've had people tell me that my friend was a looser and they don't understand how I could love, respect, and care about someone who used drugs heavily and ended up taking his own life. It hurts me to hear that because they didn't know him before the fall. Behind the addictions there is a human being. A person. That person is who they are because of things that happened to them in their lives and they didn't have the strength or the resources to overcome. Many cause their own problems and he didn't. Life fell apart and he couldn't hold on even with all of the people who tried to keep him alive. We can't save those who don't want to be saved and we can only help so much. The only comfort I have is knowing that I did everything I could and the rest was up to him.

I've been flooded with memories this past weekend and today of experiences I had with him. I try to remember the good things and how much I learned from him and grew. As good as things were the pain comes through and I've been fighting tears... Driving home from work today I popped in my 'Modest Mouse' cd and the lyrics of 'Ocean Breathes Salty' really hit me....

Your body may be gone but I will carry you on
in my head,in my heart, in my soul
Maybe we'll get lucky and we'll both live again
I don't know... I don't know...I don't know...I hope so

LimesMastsAvoid 71M
456 posts
4/19/2005 8:11 am

" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give"

rm_bluegenes51 57M
245 posts
4/19/2005 10:12 am

Sorry to hear... you are a true friend to think of him and keep his memory alive

LickMe5X 53F
41 posts
4/19/2005 10:33 am

Sorry to hear of your loss... trust me (tho I am sure it does not seems so, now) time really does heal all wounds. Keep his memory alive in your thoughts and he will never truely be gone.

mnfun952 103M

4/19/2005 2:44 pm

Mackey - I'm speechless... and truly sorry for the loss. It's true, everyone experiences loss and yes, time does make the pain less (though it never truly goes away) but someone so young shouldn't have to experience what you have. Remember your friend and remember you have MANY friends who feel for you. We're thinking about you.


sportyfun56 107M

4/19/2005 2:46 pm

You're a dear friend and sweet person Mackey. That is why you feel the pain so deep. Remember the good memories and let time do it's thing.

armorbuilder54 107M

4/19/2005 3:50 pm

You have a good heart . . .

badboyofurdreams 41M

4/19/2005 11:23 pm

Thanks for the courage to share that ... *big, warm, virtual hug from these big arms*

rm_sassyashlay 41F
1 post
4/20/2005 1:42 pm

I am a HUGE believer in fate, and it was fate that led me to read this soul draining story of your's. No one should have to go through what you already have, and for that I am sorry. Two years ago I lost my best friend in the entire world. We grew up 3 houses down from each other and we never once let more then a day pass that we would not talk to each other. There is a hole in my heart that will always be lost because I lost her.....she was a special person. She always was a person that went out of her way to help others, even dedicating her life to council young kids of abuse. She had the biggest heart I have ever seen. She was 125 pound girl, and her heart was probably 75 of that. A day does not pass that I do not think about her, and the easist thing is to get down and be sad. I take the opposite approach and do not start a day without looking at a picture of us exactly 1 week before she left us. When I travel for business, the picture is packed and placed on the desk next to the bed at the hotel. I still do not go a day without talking to her.....she always could make me smile. My wish for you is peace of mind, God willing you will get it. My two cents is to start each day sitting on that ledge, don't ever stop sitting down together on that ledge. Email me if you would like to talk. God Bless you. Ash

juschilled 50M

4/30/2005 4:32 pm

I am so so sorry. There is nothing so bad as losing a friend and feeling a sense of guilt. They say time heals, It doesnt, it just takes away some of the pain. God bless you

rm_lovehandler2 72M
17 posts
5/16/2005 3:06 am

The things you liked most about your friend are what made him most vulnerable. Being caring and sensitive often doesn't protect one, but it sure makes them a wonderful friend. It sounds like you did the only thing you could do, which is be his friend in return.
I feel sorry for people who would describe him as a loser. They lack something in themselves, besides compassion.

lurch1949 69M

6/28/2005 7:34 am

Dear Mackey: I'm so sorry for your great loss. It's obvious how much you love him. I just stumbled on your essay by accident, and like one other person who commented on this, I think there was a reason. I hope you can find it in your heart to let yourself off the hook about his death. It's not hard to figure out that he suffered from depression, which is a devastating, real, physical illness. I know a fair amount about it--my wife and I both have it. Without the help of a remarkable psychiatrist and some highly effective antidepressants, we both would have been dead by now. Depressives often do not want to be a bother to the people who love them, so they try really hard to hide how lousy they actually feel. We can give Oscar-worthy acting performances, believe me! It isn't your fault that you couldn't see the pain he still had; he wouldn't let you see it, so how can it be your fault? He wasn't a loser--he was ill.

I hope you find peace soon, in whatever way you find that works for you; but please do all you can to stay alive yourself. You sound so despondent yourself that I am concerned for you. This planet does not have enough compassionate, genuinely loving people as it is. I've lived a long time and seen a lot--things are cyclical. Experiences somehow seem to resolve themselves over time. Some pain never goes away completely, but it will diminish a great deal if you let it. May the Great Friend to us all help you find peace.

rm_pgn_man 40M
82 posts
7/19/2005 4:22 pm

Thank you for sharing your grief, I hope that you live to tell your grandchildren this tale as such things, while not pleasant, must be told.

I wish your friend peace wherever he has found himself.

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