Remembering a friend on WSPD

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In high school, I didn’t have a specific clique that I belonged to. I was on the athletic council, had geek friends, art kid friends, drama and music friends. But I felt most at home with the outcasts.  The group of friends that were self-proclaimed misfits, the ones that didn’t really fit into any of the stereotypical boxes our high school hierarchy tried to fit them into.

These people were odd, but they were genuine, kind, smart and creative. There was always someone around to talk to, and we had gotten pretty good at being supportive, while trying to leave out any form of judgement. It was easy to just be yourself around them and that was a safe, comforting thing when someone was fighting through the ups and downs of high school.

Today, I’m thinking about one of my friends from this group in particular. He was thin and lanky in high school. I remember noticing him because I thought his taste in music was odd. Techno. Techno of all kinds, but he had a certain love for French techno. He always wore these huge headphones and was happy to share them with anyone that would give his favourite music a try. He was a fringe art kid in high school. Creative, artistic and he had an excellent eye for photography. His sense of humour offbeat, he was a bit goofy.  He was a kind soul, even though people weren’t always kind to him, because he was different.

I last saw him in person a few years ago at a friend’s wedding.  Still thin and lanky, but it suited him. He looked comfortable in his skin. He seemed happy and was just as kind and genuine as I’d remembered.

A few weeks ago, when I read the message that he’d gone missing, I felt an ache in my heart. When I heard he’d passed away, my heart broke.

It was once again a reminder that so many people suffer in silence.  Even if someone seems happy and comfortable and settled, that doesn’t mean they’re not suffering. It doesn’t mean that they’re okay.

My heart breaks that someone who seemed so happy and was kind and such a great friend was hurting so intensely. That he felt he had no one to go to, that he felt it wasn’t going to get better.

I wish I’d told him that it does get better, that he is loved and even if he didn’t believe it, there were people who would’ve dropped anything to help him fight. I  would’ve, even though we hadn’t been as close as we used to be. That no matter what, he was never alone.

I tried writing about this sooner, but to be honest, the emotions were too raw. I needed some time to get my head around it. To work through the guilt and anger and frustration that the world has once again lost a beautiful human being to the epidemic that is depression and suicide.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is never easy to talk about, there is still a huge stigma attached to it. But the World Health Organization says that more than 800,000 people commit suicide each year. That’s about one person every 40 seconds. It’s an epidemic. So we need to keep talking about it.

 

 Suicide Prevention Resources:

Canadian Association for the Prevention of Suicide
National Council for Suicide Prevention
The Trevor Project
International Association for Suicide Prevention

 
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

When you live in the suburbs…

The Hell MouthLast summer, a hell mouth opened up in our dining room. To get the problem fixed, we had to coordinate our condo corporation and our insurance company, so it took an entire year to get the problem dealt with. In order to close the hell mouth, the contractor had to pull the kitchen, rip up all of the floors on the main level, set up abatement machines and tents to manage the asbestos tiles in some of the floor, and use some pretty intense mould killers (Buffy wasn’t available). So, we moved to a cute little rental house in the suburbs.

And man, has it been weird.

Like… When you live in the suburbs, your neighbours knock on your door.  A lot. At first, I thought it was because they were nosy. But after observing them for four weeks, I’ve come to discover it’s because they’re kind of a community. So they want to be sure you’re not an axe murderer.

When you live in the suburbs, you own a lot of cars. Sometimes, there seems to be more cars than people attached to a house.  And you drive absolutely everywhere, because you’re living a good twenty-five minute walk to any form of public transit.

There is no such thing as a quick walk with the dog or a quiet afternoon on your porch reading a book. Because your neighbours will interrupt you. They will stop you on the street for small talk, or lean over their fence and ask you what you’re reading.

SuburbiaWhen you live in the suburbs, you’re a million miles away from things like coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and going out at night means you’re either leaving early or paying a lot of money for a cab ride home.

People don’t seem to be as territorial about their space as they are in the city.  Neighbours have no trouble invading your space, borrowing your driveway to park their cars or enjoying a cigarette in your garden.

People feel completely safe leaving their doors open. I don’t mean unlocked, I mean wide open. All day and even at night.

It’s really quiet at night. Like, it’s practically silent. And on weekends, people disappear to cottages and the neighbourhood becomes a ghost town.

I guess I can see how suburbia would be appealing to someone.  But me? I cannot wait to get back to my own home, in my own neighbourhood, where neighbours just wave or nod at each other, the sound of sirens, traffic and loud parties lull you to sleep at night, and you lock your door even when you’re running to the mailbox or putting out the rubbish.

 

 

 

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