Two weeks or so ago, we lost an estranged friend to suicide. We hadn't seen him in about 2 years, but Trav was the best man at our wedding and had been Shayne's friend since the early '90s. When he and Shayne started drifting apart, I wasn't too surprised. Trav hated cops, and while I don't think he ever actually disliked Shayne and I, our jobs definitely put a strain on the friendship. After a while, they just stopped talking altogether.
For as long as I'd known him, Trav had never been truly happy. He was fun to be around, he had a great sense of humor, and he could always make me laugh. He also gave the best back massages in the entire world. But things were never quite right (and had gotten progressively worse in the past 5 years or so), and I'd be lying if I said I was even the least bit surprised when I heard he'd killed himself.
In some ways I'm not even sad about it. The way he chose to die needlessly involved a lot of other people, including some friends and quite a few of my co-workers, and I'm still pretty angry. Maybe it could have gone differently, maybe not. But I'm just incredibly pissed that he got so many people involved in his drama right at the end.
Some of me is sad for what could have been. Trav was incredibly smart and talented; he designed and made costumes for his friends' film projects, enjoyed acting, and was a trained massage therapist. Even though Shayne and I didn't talk to him anymore, it's different than now when we can't talk to him.
And part of me wonders how things can get to a point where he would feel that dying is preferable to living. I know that's pretty much the classic question people ask when someone they know has killed themselves, but it really is a mystery to me. Even on bad days, or weeks, I can look around myself and find something beautiful and worthwhile in the world (even if not in myself). If I wasn't alive, I couldn't watch the sun rise on my way to work in the morning. I wouldn't ever see the northern lights from a beach in northern Michigan. I'd never again enjoy a mug of instant cappuccino while snuggled in my sleeping bag on a winter camping trip.
It's not like my life is perfect or that things always go my way. There have been setbacks, and surprises, and tragedies. I've had times of uncertainty, depression, and fear. It's just how life goes.
This song played on the radio sometime last week. I've not heard in on the air before or since, even though it's by a popular country artist, so I an only assume that I was meant to hear it.