Yesterday I really just wanted to VENT! I did, a little bit, with my wonderful pal Julie. I went and kidnapped her and took her along to run some errands. I didn’t need the help as much as the company, but I wanted to let her feel useful, so I said I needed the help. We went down to City Hall and filled out a reservation for the local park’s barbecue area so we can host a memorial for another friend who committed suicide last week.
Yes! Yes, I know! I am in the middle of it again! A friend has died and my closest girlfriends are reeling in grief and shock and despair. A couple of them, closest to the situation, are having to immediately deal with our friends’ possession and their disposal…what an awful, emotional and exasperating process. Who ever wants to toss out their closest friends possessions and clear out the house, leaving barely a trace of their existence? Our suicidal friend, whom I shall refer to as “C”, had just one brother with whom she was not real close and he was now tasked with cleaning out her house and disposing of her things. My two friends were there, JW up from Santa Barbara and J with her husband, and C’s ex-husband, packing things into boxes for Goodwill or the dump, respectively, alongside the brother and sister-in-law. The men really were unaware of any practical or emotional attachments to any of the items in the house. The sister-in-law just didn’t know C well enough. By contrast, J knew just who would want the massage table, so she had to call her and see if she could pick it up. J had to break the news to this person, who hadn’t heard the news of C’s death yet. She also knew who could use C’s esthetician’s tools. Then a neighbor stopped by, demanding to know what was going on and where C was...J had to inform her of the situation. J was going to need lots and lots of support to get through this...she was grieving as she was working away. She had also just lost her brother to suicide a few short months ago. This was too much! But she and I understood it as perhaps others could not yet.
Mostly, it is so unnecessary. Our friend committed suicide in a fit of despair. She was an alcoholic. She had made some bad choices in life during the past 5 years and was depressed about it. She was lonely and unhappy. She was childless, divorced and recovering from a bad dating relationship. She was on probation and in anger-management classes, and she was drinking again. She was, for all practical purposes, a mess. Yet, all her friends are rallying now to support each other. We loved her! If she only could have accepted that we loved her and didn’t judge her too harshly.
We are sharing the good things about our friend and planning a memorial gathering in her honor. We are collecting pictures and exchanging laughs about our memories of C.
Amidst it all, people are checking in with me to see how I am doing. It is concern for me due to my having lost my son to suicide. Luckily, I now feel somewhat programmed to deal with this stuff. I am writing my girlfriend’s obituary. I am setting up the memorial. I am sharing on Facebook and getting all the friends to do the same. We are posting photos and friending more people. We are all talking, reminiscing and reacquainting ourselves with one another. It is having a positive effect. I am showing my friends how I grieve, which is to share and talk and laugh and cry and even to express our guilt and anger, and they are following along beautifully. I think we will survive yet another tragedy. But damn it, we are going to miss our friend!