Dear Dave

To a friend who committed suicide.

February 22nd. That's when you did it. You were alone, sitting in the driver's seat, in an empty parking lot. What were you looking at? Was it the trees? The pavement? Had you watched the sun set? Or did you not see anything at all? Seven minutes away I laid in bed sleeping. Not knowing the darkness that loomed just seven. minutes. away. Don't you dare say you're sorry. You are one of the bravest, selfless souls I have ever known. Committing suicide does not change that one bit. You held on for as long as you could wrestling your demons, your darkness, for the sake of your loved ones and for yourself. For that, you are my hero.

Your darkness was yours. It was your responsibility. But as one of your best friends, it was also mine. I wanted it to be mine. Your darkness was ours. We shared joy, we shared laughs, we shared memories, we shared love, we shared darkness. The thing is, I didn't know just how heavy your darkness was. And you didn't know how to tell me. If I could have taken the weight of this darkness off of your shoulders and put it on mine, I would have in a heartbeat. But I guess it doesn't work that way, does it? I let you down Love, in the worst way. I am disgusted with myself for leaving words left unsaid. Screw this trend in society where people think it's cool to not show that you care too much. What the hell is caring "too much?" Why is it better to be the person who cares less? What kind of self destructive bullshit is that? Here's another question, why do we have this tendency to wait for other people to reach out to us? By doing so we unwittingly create these divides. Do you know what lives in these divides? Darkness.

I wish I had started patching that divide sooner. This brings me to our last conversation. I reached out, and for that I'm forever grateful. We bridged the gap, we casually expressed our love for each other and how the past was the past. We talked about meeting up sometime when I got home from school but we never did. I should have said more. If only I had known that was our last conversation. If only you had known. You deserved to hear how I care about you "too much." You deserved to hear how relieved I was to be talking to you because it kills me inside when we don't talk. You deserved to hear how I always want to reach out to you but sometimes feel like I shouldn't because I get insecure about being the one to reach out more often (how stupid). For that I owe you an apology. You deserved to hear that I think of you often and that even when life gets busy or complicated or we fight, I still consider you one of my closest friends. You deserved to hear how you have always had a special place in my heart. You deserved so much more. I am so sorry.

You see, sometimes you'll never know the weight of the darkness that someone is carrying. Even the people closest to you. You think you will, but you won't. Sometimes people don't reach out because that darkness they are carrying is too heavy for them to step over that divide. I know that now. You wanted to reach out, so badly, didn't you love?

I have something to say to the people reading this right now. If you care about someone too much, tell them anyway. Do it, damn it. I would give the world to have that chance just one more time. Society's rule of it being better to be the person who pretends like they cares less is 100% bullshit. Next, if you have a divide with anyone, bridge it. Maybe life got busy, or you moved away to college, or you had a falling out. Don't give darkness a home. Bridge that divide. Finally, if you have the feeling that someone might be carrying darkness, ask them if they are. If they say yes, ask them how heavy that darkness is. Tell them they're not alone and that even though the darkness is on their shoulders, you're gonna walk step by step with them until that load becomes lighter. With that being said, it is SO important to state that no one's darkness should become your personal burden. You cannot be the only thing that person has to lean on. We are all only human. There are resources out there to help. Make sure that person has access to these resources (below) and that other people close to them know about this darkness. Ask them how they feel about seeing a doctor, or a therapist, or attending a support group. But the most important thing you can do, is start that dialogue, then *listen*. Really, really listen. Someone with a heavy load might not be able to say things very clearly. It's hard to speak up when darkness is consuming you. If you are unsure of how to start the conversation there is a link below on helpful ways to initiate it. If you still do not feel comfortable starting the conversation, reach out to another loved one of the person you are worried about and express your concern. See if they are willing and able to create the dialogue. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

We need to change the way we talk about darkness, depression, mental Illness or whatever name you want to call it. Only together we can make the change. Below are resources for anyone who is struggling with darkness, whatever that darkness may be.

Dear Dave, There is no word strong enough. No song sad enough. No galaxy big enough. To express how much my soul aches to have you back. I love you, too much.