Geni

Maybe I could've done more

8 posts in this topic

I lost one of my close friends this past February. The story goes that he had a few drinks and he accidentally shot himself in the head, killing him instantly. Although there were people there to witness it, there isn't enough evidence to prove if it was truly an accident or if that was an act he wanted to commit. 

Starting around October, something was off with him. He seemed to be almost paranoid all the time. Honestly, I thought maybe he was on drugs. So about a week before Halloween, I had a sit down with him and I tried to talk to him to see what was going on. It was hard for him to open up, and when he did, I realized that he was not doing the best. He began to say that he was going through a hard time, and that things weren't feeling so well and he couldn't explain it. The weirdest thing that he told me, and it's even hard for me to believe he said, he said that he felt that death was around the corner. He didn't know if it was coming after him or someone else, but he was scared. I did not know what kind of advice to give to that. We weren't able to keep talking since some of friends there got there to meet up with us.

I would contact him once in a while and try to see how we was doing, and of course he would say all was fine and make a joke or two. I then began to get very busy with my new job and harder classes in school, so I wasn't contacting him as much as I should've. The day before he passed, I saw him on campus with some of our other friends. I was about to head out to New Orleans for Mardi Gras week the next day, so they all began to ask me questions and pump me up for my trip. Except him. He was quiet, staring at nothing, with his arms crossed. I knew that something was off. But I didn't ask what was wrong, I kept talking to the other guys. Before I left, I did say goodbye, gave him a hug and he ended it with a kiss on the forehead and a 'I love you' like always. 

I got the news the next night as I was touring New Orleans. I have never felt a pain and as loss like this. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. Not a day goes by that I feel an emptiness and I am reminded that perhaps I could have done more.

There is not enough evidence to call it a suicide, but in me I know he did it. I knew him, he knew how to work his gun so well it's hard to believe he shot it accidentally, it just feels like he did it. So if it was a suicide, could we have done more to prevent it? Could I have done more?

I should've asked more, talked to him more. Knowing that he wasn't okay, I shouldn't have let it be. I could have at least notified someone else, I could've prayed for him. I can't be around our friends for long, because I don't want them finding out about that conversation I had with him, I don't want them knowing that I knew something was wrong and that perhaps that was a cry for help and I didn't tell anyone. The guilt overwhelms me all the time. It kills me to know that maybe it could have been prevented, but now he's gone and there's nothing I can do about it.

It's been 4 months now, and not a day goes by that he doesn't come into my mind. I know it seems like it's only four months, so its probably normal for it to feel this way. But it's overwhelming dealing with not just the loss of a dear friend and adjusting to his absence but also dealing with this sense of guilt. I just want it to stop. I don't know what to do.

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My friend, it is essential that you educate yourself about suicide, most especially so you can come to terms with this horrific loss and reassure yourself that THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

You are carrying on your shoulders a load of survivor's guilt, and I hope you will do some reading so you will better understand your own reactions.

This is one of the most challenging and difficult types of loss, and I hope with all my heart that you will read this article and follow some of the links embedded there:

Grief Support for Survivors of Suicide Loss

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I am so sorry you lost your friend!  That is a very hard thing to go through, but you are beating yourself up where you needn't.  Suicide is very complicated and we can't always stop it.  I lost a friend to suicide and I know he had everything going for him and everyone was supportive of him, yet still he did it.  It's more about their mental health than anything we do or don't do.  I really hope you will make an appt. with a grief counselor that can help you with this.  Meanwhile, I am glad you came here, it's important to have a safe place to air your feelings as it's just too much to keep bottled up...this is a safe place.

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Everyone has the same feeling after loosing your closed ones ,I could have done more for them so that he could be saved.

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Over 20 years ago, I started e-mailing a pen pal.  We kept in touch mostly on the computer, some phone calls, birthday cards, etc.  He was very witty and supportive and we enjoyed our exchanges.   We were both widowed at the time and eventually celebrated each other's new marriages.   He did a lot of woodworking and sent me a lot of his creations over the years.  He had sent me a box of audio books on tape when my husband lost most of his vision.  Last week he left me a message to see if I still had them and could return them.  The message was very faint and I could not understand a lot of it.  I sent him him a few emails during the week, which were not answered.  He left a phone number that I assumed was a cell.  I think something in me knew there was something wrong, and did not want to hear it.  He never said he was sick.  I thought maybe he had a mild stroke because his voice was a bit muffled.  On Easter Sunday, I called his home and wished them a Happy Easter.  No answer.  A few hours later, I got an email from him and was so happy to hear from him.  Until I read it.  It started off with, "If you are reading this, it is because I have passed into a memory".  He continued and related the lung disease he was fighting.  He said that he lived life on his terms and was not afraid to die.  He ended by saying, "goodbye dear friend".   He wrote it and his wife sent it.

He was so supportive of me when my dear husband died 18 mos ago.  Why, oh why did I not call him back immediately?  I guess I did not realize he was dying.  Evidently he did not either, or he would not want those tapes.  I am ashamed of myself for being such a chicken and now it is too late.  Wonder if he would even have told me how sick he was.  I will never know.  Although I never met him in person, we were still good friends and I will miss him. 

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3 hours ago, Gin said:

I think something in me knew there was something wrong, and did not want to hear it.

Gin, I am so sorry ~ but your reason for not calling your friend back immediately is completely understandable. It seems to me that if anyone would understand why you felt this way, this friend would be the one. I hope you can forgive yourself for feeling the need to protect your own broken heart  

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Oh Gin, I am so sorry.  I got horrible news yesterday too, my daughter's husband left her.  This completely blindsided her, it happened Friday.

Sometimes we don't know what to do or think when we get such devastating news.  You were a friend to him for many years and you both enjoyed that friendship.  There isn't anything you could have done to have prevented his death.  By now he's on the other side and he understands.  Be easy on yourself, dear friend.

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