You never know what your friends are going through

  • grief
    I was stunned to learn the other day that one of my old high school buddies had passed away. Jimmy and I had known one another since we were kids. We were involved in school activities together, but lost tough after graduation and going off to college.
    So I was pleased when, a few years ago, we reconnected via facebook. We shared a lot about life, about how things had gone since school. I told him about my medical adventures. He told me about his encounters with alcohol, and how he had been clean and sober for 20 years.
    Jimmy had married, and soon divorced. And after getting sober, in his 40s, he met the love of his life. He and Becky were made for each other, Together they had two beautiful daughters. He owned his own recycling business in Nashville. The long-haired hippie concern for the earth lived on in his life’s work.
    So I was shocked to learn of his sudden passing. He had never mentioned anything about being sick. He was active, lean and athletic, always ready to help those in need. A heart attack at 57? An accident?
    and then a mutual friend messaged me:

    R: Hi Charlie, I had a message from P. that Jimmy shot himself. I don’t know any more than that. … She said one of his brothers committed suicide about 5 years ago.

    Me: I knew that. But I thought it was more than five years. It weighed heavily on him. You never know what goes on inside. He had his problems, but he was a good man, and was crazy about his girls.

    I am sorry, Jimmy. I wish I had known. I wish I could have helped somehow. The inner pain you could not express got to be too much for you. I pray that you have found peace.

    May Jimmy’s memory be eternal.

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