Today, April 6th, is the eight year anniversary of my friend’s suicide.
First, let me just say wow. It’s been eight years. Eight years since I lost him. Eight years since I was 16. Eight years since my life changed drastically (while his ceased). Eight years since my first brush with real, true, devastating hurt. Eight years of blaming myself, of wishing things were different, of wishing I had done something, anything to stop what happened. Eight years. Eight years of wondering what he would be now, who he would be, if only…
For whatever reason, this eighth anniversary is easier than the seventh. I guess that’s just what happens. Some years are just more difficult than others. The second anniversary was hard, and so was the fifth. And of course, the seventh, which happened while I was in Kosovo, deployed.
Anyway, this year there aren’t any tears, mostly because it was an Army weekend and my time has been gobbled up by other things and I haven’t had the chance to reflect on it all until just now. But, regardless of how busy I’ve been, I just don’t think it’s a tearful anniversary this time around. Sure, there’s that ache in there, but it’s always there, no matter what the date, or time of year.
Last year I found myself embarrassed by my grief because seven years had passed and still, I hurt. This year it’s different. Throughout the past year I finally figured out that grief doesn’t fit in a box. Grief isn’t describable, or definable or even logical. It just is, coming and going, hitting hard, or nudging softly. This year I realized that the people who say “get over it,” and trust me, there have been a lot of them over the years, don’t get it because they haven’t ever felt hurt like that. And I hope they never do.
So grief. It’s still there after eight years. Still inside of me. Still thriving, in fact. But I don’t mind. In fact, if it wasn’t for my grief over his death, I wouldn’t remember his face as clearly as I do today. If not for grief I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t remember David’s laughter and in truth, I’m not sure if I would even be.
David Lee Smith
March 11, 1984 – April 6, 2000
I love you David. Thank you for all you were and all you are and all you’ve taught me. Rest Well.