May 21, 2017 by Sera
I just found out that I missed my friend’s funeral. To be honest I was never sure if I wanted to go but now that I know that it happened on Friday and I wasn’t there, I don’t know how I feel about that.
I meant to message one of his friends on Facebook to ask about it but it felt so strange to be doing that and really, I have somewhat come to terms with his suicide. I wouldn’t say I’m at peace with it but I’ve accepted it and was scared that being amongst people who knew him much longer than I did, who knew some of his other friends or family, would make me spiral downwards again. I would’ve been alone amongst complete strangers with nobody by my side to support me. Here, at home and at work I have that support and my body is so burned out and low on energy right now that I honestly can’t see how I would’ve made it through his funeral without anyone there with me.
I feel strangely guilty though, for not asking after the date, for feeling like I might not want to go and now for not getting to go because I was afraid to ask. It makes no sense at all and I can’t explain it. One of my friends asked me “Don’t you want to go and say good bye?” and honestly when I first found out about his suicide I was sure I wanted to go but in the two weeks since I wondered if I need a funeral to say good bye.
I still think about my friend every day and miss him. I read back one of our old conversations on Whatsapp this week and it felt like he was still here somehow. I guess I want to remember how he was in life, not death.
And then there’s this funny thing about how private he was. I’m honestly not sure how comfortable he would’ve been with people, loved ones and friends who he mostly kept separate from each other, sharing stories about him. As they say, funerals are for the living and of course there had to be one. He had paid in advance for it though I’m sure not with his suicide in mind. So he knew that one day there would be a service for him where people talk about him but when I think of him as he was I know he wouldn’t have liked that thought much.
If I could ask him now, if he was still here for me to talk something like this through with him, I’m not sure he would tell me that I should’ve gone. He was the kind of person who did things his own way and encouraged me to do the same. He may well have told me to say good bye in my own way too. He may have told me that all he really wants is for me to be OK, however I get to that point.
And today, until I found out his funeral was Friday, I was OK. I bought my first car yesterday and today I took a little drive through the countryside, with the sun shining and a smile on my face. I thought of him and how happy and proud he would’ve been to see me like that. I thought of how much he loved driving, how he told me it helped him relax even when he was really stressed and how he once said to me that he was sure I would love it too. So maybe that is my way of saying good bye to him and at the same time keeping him in my memory.
I needed a good day like today; after the bit of energy I had somehow kept back to pass my driving test had been used up on Monday I completely crashed on Tuesday and have been physically completely exhausted since then. HR and Occupational Health are involved at work now and I’m working reduced hours because I can just about make it through 2 hours of work without feeling like I might pass out. So with all that going on perhaps I just had to do things differently. I sleep badly as it is, had I known about the funeral I would’ve slept even less and I’m not sure I need memories of his mum and friends distraught and in tears. As I said I want to remember him as he was in life, before things got so bad he couldn’t see a way out anymore.
And he would tell me to take care of myself if he was here now, so that is what I’m trying to do, as best as I can. If that means not scratching open a wound that feels like it may start to heal just a little bit some time soon, then perhaps that is the right thing for me to do.
I might gather the courage to ask where he’s buried or where his memorial is one day and then, when I feel I’m strong enough, I can visit that place, knowing that I’ll be OK when I do. I’m not sure I would’ve been if I had been there on Friday.