Progress From the Past

With this being my first post as a contributor I had a difficult time narrowing down what subject I wanted to begin with. In the end I decided to discuss someone and something that is very important to me. Six years ago I made a promise to a friend that took his own life that I would think about him every day. I wrote this poem shortly after his funeral, and to this day it is still a pretty accurate representation of the feelings I had then and continue to deal with to this day.

“Memory of a Smile”

Why’d you have to be the one to take my bullet
I had the gun in my mouth too but I couldn’t pull it
You let the hammer fall and blew your demons away
While I’m stuck with the task of waking up every day

I have to wake up and put on a smile I know is fake
Just to hide the pain every minute I’m awake
When my eyes close the smile is no longer there
Cause the illusion of happiness has transformed to a nightmare

I can’t sleep, think, I can’t blink without your memory
And I can’t help wondering if you even still remember me
My whole life has changed just so you could end your sorrow
Well did you think your last day could be my never ending tomorrow?

I saw your casket; saw your grave, and every picture of you ever taken
And I looked around the room at every person you’ve forsaken
Then I saw your smile, the same one I still wear
And the reason that I hate you, is when I need you, you’re not there

 —

Contrary to the last line in that poem I could never hate my friend. Honestly, I credit him for being the main reason I’m still alive today. I’ve always lived a very isolated life with many more acquaintances than friends. Even so, I would never open myself up to the people I would call friends. The same goes for my family. Before my friend took his life I was blessed with a mundane life in terms of serious or dramatic life events. The emotional shock of finding out one of my best friends had killed himself is something I had never felt before and haven’t felt since.

                  At the time I had been dealing with my own anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Dealing with the loss of a friend firsthand was what kept me from going over the edge, however in to everything I was going through myself I did not deal with the loss well. It took me another five years before opening up to my family and friends about the dark side of me I struggled with. Over those five years I became addicted to drugs; leading me to push away countless people who cared about me all for the sake of hiding my habit and the dark side I falsely justified it with.

                  I have been sober and in counseling for the past eight months. Despite all the other complexities in life of being a twenty five year old that just recently finished college, these past eight months have been the best of my life. I understand opening up about underlying feelings is difficult. I was scared to open up for almost a decade. I wish I could go back in time and tell my fifteen year old self how much happier and how much brighter his future would be if he had only spoke up. That’s the message I want to pass on to anyone reading this. If you are struggling emotionally, hurting, depressed, angry, or any other emotion that is causing you to hide what you are feeling; let someone in.

                  For me it was pride and embarrassment that kept me from speaking up. I thought I could find a way to deal with my problems on my own without any help. I understand now that there is nothing to be embarrassed about in being a happier, healthier person. It is too late to get my friend back, but if you are reading this then it’s not too late to ask for help or be the one that’s there for someone in need of help. This world has lost too many beautiful souls too early already.

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